This is a question I considered briefly before jumping into the pool here in Puerto Vallarta after I was getting extremely overheated from trying to tan out in the sun. I don’t think it’s wise for any pregnant woman to try to tan in extremely hot weather. Being pregnant, I get overheated so quickly and dehydrated. It almost becomes unbearable and I have to either jump into the pool to cool off or go back into my air conditioned room. So, having already jumped into the pool, I had already made the quick decision that a little chlorine would not harm me and my baby as much as being overheated would. I just made sure I didn’t stay in there too long.
Just to check out my gut reaction, I decided to look it up and found varying opinions. For the most part, it looks like a lot of pregnant women use swimming as a form of exercise as they get bigger and don’t seem to have any concerns. There are even doctors that suggest swimming as a form of low impact exercise. But, it is also known that your skin is your largest organ, and anything on your skin gets absorbed, including chlorine from the water, so limited exposure is probably best. Some suggest using outdoor chlorinated pools versus indoor pools so that you don’t breathe in the chlorine fumes on top of absorbing it through your skin. As long as the pools are properly chlorinated, it is safer than a pool filled with bacteria. And someone mentioned that swimming in saltwater was much safer and better than swimming in a chlorinated pool.
For all of these issues, I believe it is common sense. Do what feels right for you. Chlorine is a chemical and exposure to toxic chemicals should be limited, especially when you are pregnant, but depriving yourself of everything is also no way to live. Keep exposure as low as possible. Although there are pregnant women that sound like they swim every day for exercise, I probably would not do that myself. I make sure to drink filtered water to take the chlorine out of my water… why wouldn’t I avoid it in a swimming pool? So, a quick dunk and a few minutes of cooling off is probably okay, but swimming all day is probably not the wisest choice.
What was a bigger concern for me than swimming in the chlorinated water was what type of bathing suit I would wear! Being in-between a large gut and an obvious pregnant belly, my protruding belly might turn some heads in a bikini as some may wonder if I’m pregnant or just super bloated. I found that I was pretty self-conscious about my belly since I was not prepared with the right swimsuit (one of those tank top ones that cover my belly). I ended up just going bare because I wanted to tan my belly a little bit. It was okay when I was lying on my back because my belly would go down and it looked no bigger than anyone else’s at the pool, but when I stood up and walked to the pool, that was when it was noticeable. I had no idea it would be so strange to be in this phase where my belly hadn’t actually “popped” yet.
I finally did see one other person that was pregnant. She was much further along so it was pretty obvious and she wore a tank top over her bikini and swam with it on. I hadn’t really thought about that, but I guess that’s a good solution. I just wanted to make sure my shoulders tanned with no strap lines, so I like to wear tube top bikinis instead. I just didn’t have a tube top shirt that I wanted to wear into the pool. Something to consider for next time!