By Catherine CHUA Bee Hong Senior Principal Physiotherapist, Elizabeth CHAN Jiahui Principal Physiotherapist, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital

Aqua exercise usually takes place in a pool. It makes use of the buoyancy, pressure and resistance of water to make exercising less stressful in pregnancy.

You can take part in aqua exercise classes even if you can’t swim as they take place in waist or chest-deep water. If you’re a non-swimmer, do make sure your instructor is aware before you start the class. Avoid walking sideways, rebounding or bouncing, and fast twisting movements while in the water.

Do check with your doctor before you start an aqua exercise programme as it’s not suitable for all stages of pregnancy. Don’t undertake an aqua programme if you’re sensitive to chlorine or bromine.

Related: Working Out Around Singapore

Benefits of Aqua Exercise

Pregnant mother getting walking to the pool for her exercise

  • Buoyancy of the water helps reduce pressure on the joints by supporting the body weight
  • It enables you to exercise more easily than on land
  • Hydrostatic pressure reduces swelling associated with pregnancy
  • Water resistance can help strengthen your muscles
  • They enhance cardiovascular fitness in preparation for labour, help control blood pressure and blood sugar, and improve strength and flexibility to reduce chances of pregnancy-related back pain
  • If the water is heated, the warmth can help relieve pain and increase relaxation. However, water temperature should be below 34 degrees Celsius to prevent overheating

Some studies have shown that mums-to-be who took part in regular aqua aerobics programmes required less pain relief in labour.

It’s important, as with any exercise, not to overexert yourself in pregnancy and if you feel unwell at all, you should stop and arrange to see your doctor. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated during exercise as well.

Related: Move In Your Time

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Read these next:


  1. Tan, T., Tan, K., Tan, H., & Tee, J. C. (2008). The New Art and Science of Pregnancy and Childbirth.. New Jersey: World Scientific.

  2. Health Promotion Board. (2013). Healthy Start for your Pregnancy. Singapore: Health Promotion Board.