The benefits of swimming postpartum

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Diving in the pool is great for helping with PND, losing weight and restoring muscle tone




It was the middle of summer when I had Lottie and I found swimming was the perfect postpartum exercise. It gave me time to myself, helped with the slight post-natal depression I suffered, burned cals and did a lot to restore my muscle tone. If you’d like to jump back in the pool also, just check with your health professional when it’s appropriate to do so. For me, it was 6 weeks post birth.  

Health professionals say there are many benefits to swimming post-partum, including: 
  • Boosting your strength and energy, which may be sapped after your pregnancy and delivery
  • It works your upper and lower body and your core.
  •  It’s low-impact and reduces the stress on your weight-bearing joints, which become looser during pregnancy
  •  Helps maintain a healthy weight, heart and lungs
  • Provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming
  • Improves coordination, balance and posture
  • It’s great for your mental health and wellbeing
  • It can be a relaxing and meditative exercise, it reduces stress, the weightlessness of water can have a calming effect on the mind, and it helps provide a distraction from life to improve mindfulness.

HOW TO MAKE IT HAPPEN:


Ask your partner or a friend to mind your baby whilst you swim

It’s hard in those early weeks to fit in a swimming session, especially if you’re breast feeding, but it can be done. I’d breastfeed Lottie at home, and then Kieron would drive me to the pool. I spend about 45 minutes doing some laps before he’d pick me up again. In those early weeks, I’d often find myself breastfeeding Lottie in the car post-swim whilst Kieron grabbed some coffees or we enjoyed a family breakfast at the local cafe. 

 Look for a pool with a good childcare service

Kieron and I don’t have our parents living close by, so it was important to find a pool with a crèche – especially when Kieron was away with work. There’s no doubt that looking after a baby on your own can be seriously tough some days, so having the option to head to pool occasionally was great for my mental health. I genuinely believe I’m a much better mother and partner for taking some time out for myself. 

For me, the best place I found to swim at was the Sleeman Sports Centre in Brisbane – mainly because I fell in love with their Puddle Ducks childcare facility. I felt 100 per cent confident leaving Lottie with the beautiful women who run this facility, and they always did the most amazing job taking care of her. The childcare is in a very large room with lots of toys, great change tables and air-conditioning. The childcare is open Monday to Friday, 8:45am – 12.30pm (excluding public holidays). It’s currently closed for Christmas re-opening the 3rd January.  
           

Leaving your little one in childcare isn’t always going to be easy

The first time I decided to give a crèche a go it was a complete fail. Lottie was 8 weeks old, and I was desperate to go swimming. I suggested to my brother that we should head to another pool for some laps. I’d heard the pool we were heading to had a crèche. 

We turned up at the pool, paid the pool and crèche fees all without viewing it first (lesson learned: always check the facility first!). When we found the crèche, I was really surprised to see it was outdoors and jam packed with older kids as it was school holidays. The fact that they had no AC in the middle of summer was a real concern for me. I spoke to the childcare worker and decided it was OK to leave Lottie in her care as they seemed to be doing a good job with the other babies. 

Off to the pool I headed and jumped in the water. I had massive anxiety while swimming, and just couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t feel OK with the set-up. I completed a total of two laps before jumping out of the water and sprinting up the hill in my sports bikini to collect her – not a pretty sight 8 weeks postpartum with my wobbly belly and way-too-small pre-pregnancy bikini. 

Moral of the story: don’t be put off if you have to try a few pools first before you find one you’re comfortable with ­– and give yourself time to get used to the idea of leaving bub in someone else’s care. Once you get past those obstacles, it’s seriously worth it to enjoy downtime in the pool.

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1 comments

  1. Depending on how old bubba is I also like to pop them in a pool ring and use the ring as you would a kick board. It's fun to sing songs and play with bubba whilst your getting a workout in! Good quality time plus an excellent workout. Win win

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