Aquagym During Pregnancy: Discover the Great Benefits

Practicing aquagym during pregnancy is highly recommended. Here, we'll tell you all the benefits it offers to expectant mothers. Take note!
Aquagym During Pregnancy: Discover the Great Benefits
Maria del Carmen Hernandez

Written and verified by the dermatologist Maria del Carmen Hernandez.

Last update: 28 May, 2024

Aquagym during pregnancy not only provides relief and relaxation but also offers an ideal platform for maintaining fitness and promoting health during pregnancy. In this context, immersing yourself in water emerges as an exceptional alternative for expectant mothers.

Discover below how this form of aquatic physical activity becomes an invaluable tool for the well-being of pregnant women.

What is aquagym?

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, swimming is considered the safest form of physical activity during pregnancy. Consequently, aquagym is presented as a healthy option for mothers.

Specifically, aquagym is a form of physical activity in water, generally in a pool, that combines aerobic and resistance exercises with specific movements designed to be performed specifically in water. The sessions are carried out under the supervision of professionals, either physiotherapists or trainers specialized in pregnant women.

The recommendation is to start this physical activity after the first three months of pregnancy, as these first months involve the highest risk of spontaneous interruption of pregnancy. Then, the sessions can be extended until almost the last weeks of gestation, as long as the mother’s physical condition allows it.

The benefits of aquagym during pregnancy

The exercises practiced in water don’t usually imply risks if they’re performed properly. In addition to the low rate of complications, it should be noted that aquagym offers specific benefits such as the following.

1. Reduces stress

Pregnancy can be a stressful time. Therefore, going to a pool and relaxing in the water helps expectant mothers reduce stress and anxiety. In addition, floating in the liquid can help relieve the muscle contractions that often accompany pregnancy.

At the same time, the release of endorphins during exercise in the water increases the feeling of well-being. This extends beyond the birth of the baby and helps alleviate symptoms of prenatal and postpartum depression.

2. Improves circulation

During pregnancy, fluid accumulation is common, especially in the lower limbs, as there’s stagnation of venous blood return, which causes swelling.

Movements in the water stimulate blood circulation. The pressure of the liquid itself, together with the exercises of the lower limbs, prevent edema.

3. Control your weight

Maintaining a healthy weight during pregnancy is essential. Aquagym practiced in moderation and regularly is an activity that helps burn extra calories and control weight gain, according to a study published in the American Journal of Health.

4. Improves posture

Aquagym during pregnancy involves a significant decrease in the weight of the baby on the mother’s spine. While the woman remains in the pool, the belly distributes its strength in the liquid, relieving tendons, muscles, and ligaments.

Floating in the water allows pregnant women to perform stretches that will improve the posture and position of the spine. In addition, there’ll be a strengthening of the back muscles, which will reduce pressure on the back of the body and may help prevent sciatica pain.

The knee and ankle joints also benefit from aquagym during pregnancy. The body is supported by the water and the exercises don’t aggressively impact the lower limbs.

5. Helps prepare for childbirth

A woman who chooses to practice aquagym during the months of pregnancy contributes positively to the preparation of her body for childbirth. These aquatic exercises can strengthen the pelvic floor, which is beneficial for the labor process.

Through aquagym, women can improve their strength and endurance, which are fundamental to facing the physical demands of pregnancy and promoting a healthier delivery.

A scientific study conducted with pregnant women who did aquagym found that the regular practice of aquatic activities isn’t harmful to the health of the child or the mother. In fact, this group of women tends to request less analgesia during labor.

6. Improves breathing

Exercising in the water causes us to breathe in a particular way. In general, controlled inhalations and exhalations are encouraged, which will be very useful at the moment of delivery.

Water exerts a natural resistance to the movement of the thorax. This stimulates the strengthening of the respiratory muscles and increases lung capacity.

The specific exercises of this practice are designed to be safe and effective. It’s important to focus on the quality of the movement, rather than aiming for excessive intensity.

Here are some movements that are aquagym classics with pregnant women. Of course, each trainer and session leader will choose the right one for their group.

Water walking

Water walking is a low-impact activity that protects the joints. The basic step-by-step is as follows:

  1. You begin walking slowly forward, making sure to maintain an upright posture and relaxed shoulders.
  2. You make controlled movements with your legs, lifting your feet and pushing them down into the water with each step.
  3. You maintain a steady, comfortable pace.

You can walk in the water for 10 to 15 minutes.


Among the exercises with displacement, the sidestep is one of the most commonly used. Do it as follows:

  1. Start with your feet together in the water, standing still.
  2. Take a side step to one side and bring the other foot together next. Be sure to keep your posture upright and your shoulders relaxed.
  3. Then take a side step to the other side and bring your feet together again.

You can also cross one foot in front of the other for added difficulty. Start with a set of 10-15 reps side to side and increase as you get more comfortable.

A pregnancy woman walking in a pool with weights in her hands.

Jumping Jacks

It’s possible to do classic jumping jacks, which are upward in full vertical form because the water protects your belly and minimizes impact. Here are the step-by-step instructions:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Extend your arms out to the sides, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Jump in place, raising your body vertically.
  4. Press your arms down against your body as you jump.

Cycle for one minute, which equals about 40 to 50 repetitions. Be sure to jump without arching your back or slouching backward.

Scissor Kicks

If you know how to float, you can do this exercise. It’s also feasible to help yourself with some kind of floating tool to make it easier for you. Do it like this:

  1. Float in the water lying down, with your legs straight and your arms at your sides.
  2. Paddle with your hands to maintain balance and stability.
  3. Point your toes forward.
  4. Cross your legs like “scissors,” spreading them hip-width apart and turning one over the other alternately.

You can perform eight scissor kicks, rest, and repeat.

Elbow to knee

As long as your tummy size allows, you can perform this aquagym exercise that promotes full-body flexibility.

  1. Stand in the water with your feet pointing forward and hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your right knee up to hip height or as far as you can.
  3. Cross your left elbow down and just above the outside of your right knee. The goal is to bring the elbow as close to the knee as possible.
  4. Return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the movement, this time in reverse, lifting the left knee to hip height and crossing the right elbow down.

Alternate elbows for one minute. You should get about 30 repetitions in total.


Simple and common swimming is also part of the aquagym session during pregnancy and will give you benefits. Some women use it as a pre-workout warm-up or final stretch.

However, the choice of stroke depends on your comfort level, experience, and personal preference. Slow-paced swimming, which involves freestyle, is an excellent choice.

Backstroke swimming is another safe alternative for pregnant women. It allows you to keep your head out of the water and can be comfortable if you experience back pain or a lot of pressure on your abdomen.

Finally, swimming with a crawl kick can be done if not too much force is used in the stroke. It strengthens the leg muscles and improves blood circulation.

Some precautions to consider

Despite the benefits of aquagym during pregnancy, it’s important to keep some precautions in mind. This activity should be done under strict control and medical indication. In addition, extreme water temperatures and prolonged exposure to the sun should be avoided if the session takes place outdoors.

The ideal time is the second trimester. Then, it can be continued until almost the last weeks of gestation, depending on the woman’s comfort and the existence or absence of any contraindications.

Pregnant women diagnosed with placenta previa cannot do aquagym. Neither can those who have a cardiovascular disease associated with their pregnancy, such as pulmonary hypertension.

In any case, aqua gymnastics is an effective physical activity for most pregnant women. Therefore, it’s an excellent option to promote health and wellness during this special time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Albarracín Pérez, A. (2017). Beneficios de las actividades acuáticas durante el embarazo: revisión sistemática. Revista De Investigación En Actividades Acuáticas1(2), 75-90.
  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2022, marzo). Excercise during pregnancy. Consultado el 24 de octubre de 2023.
  • Bacchi, M., Mottola, M. F., Perales, M., Refoyo, I., & Barakat, R. (2018). Aquatic Activities During Pregnancy Prevent Excessive Maternal Weight Gain and Preserve Birth Weight: A Randomized Clinical Trial. American journal of health promotion : AJHP32(3), 729–735.
  • Baciuk, E. P., Pereira, R. I., Cecatti, J. G., Braga, A. F., & Cavalcante, S. R. (2008). Water aerobics in pregnancy: Cardiovascular response, labor and neonatal outcomes. Reproductive health5, 10.
  • Navas, A., Carrascosa, M. D. C., Artigues, C., Ortas, S., Portells, E., Soler, A., Yañez, A. M., Bennasar-Veny, M., & Leiva, A. (2021). Effectiveness of Moderate-Intensity Aerobic Water Exercise during Pregnancy on Quality of Life and Postpartum Depression: A Multi-Center, Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of clinical medicine10(11), 2432.
  • Rodríguez-Blanque, R., Sánchez-García, J. C., Sánchez-López, A. M., & Aguilar-Cordero, M. J. (2019). Physical activity during pregnancy and its influence on delivery time: a randomized clinical trial. PeerJ7, e6370.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.