Swimming may be the very best prenatal exercise around. After all, swimming makes expectant moms almost weightless, and allows them to work most muscles in the body without putting any pressure on their joints! But are public swimming pools just as safe as swimming itself? Read on if you are worried about this.
There have been some studies that indicate that chlorinated public swimming pools may not be as safe as most people think. Trihalomethanes (THMs) are a chemical byproduct of chlorine that is formed when the chlorine combines with organic matter like skin cells. There are some indications that these THMs are linked to miscarriage, a low birth weight, and neural tube defects (According to a study led by Mark Nieuwenhuijsen published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2002).
That's scary, right? Thankfully, there was no conclusive evidence in the first place. And, most reputable pools actually started testing, or more rigorous testing, for THMs since this study, which dates back a decade now. Reputable pools do something to the water that neutralizes this byproduct, especially during times when the pools are really crowded, which is when high levels of THMs are most likely to show up.
If you are pregnant and worried about THMs, but would still like to swim, there is a simple solution. Ask your swimming pool what they do to keep the water safe for everyone, and they should be able to give you more information. Those who are really concerned should even be able to see reports of the chemicals present in the water at their specific pool.
It is worth mentioning that public, chlorinated swimming pools, are much safer than lakes, ponds, rivers, and even seas and oceans in many cases. These natural bodies of water may be highly polluted and could also pose a risk of infection. One alternative to chlorinated public pools you may like to look into is salt water indoor pools they are becoming more common, and there may be one near you.