A Guide to Swimming with Breast Prosthesis

We’ve mentioned before that after your mastectomy, it is more advisable to do exercises that are low impact and low intensity. One of those recommended exercises is swimming because it provides a total body workout without causing unnecessary strain on your body. The intensity of your workout can be adjusted according to what you are physically able for now. The one concern you might think is that is it safe to swim with your breast prosthesis on or do you have to remove them and go flat? 

Understanding Your Breast Prosthesis

For the sake of clarity the discussion here is particularly for breast prosthesis and NOT for breast implants. Breast prostheses or breast forms are made of materials like foam, silicone and other materials that help create symmetry after a mastectomy.

Foam Breast Form

You can actually swim with either foam or silicone breast forms but there are considerations that go along with each of these types of material. Keep in mind that foam breast forms are generally designed for temporary or leisure wear so they can be a good option for swimming but its wear and tear will be faster when exposed to water, especially salt water. There may be other foam breast forms that are water-resistant and they can handle getting wet much better than the cheaper ones. You also need to know that the foam breast forms that are highly absorbent may take in a lot of water and cause its shape and size to change. 

When choosing those with foam type material, check with where you bought it from if it is designed for use in water or not so you won’t have unexpected problems when you are already in the pool.

Silicone Breast Form

If you do frequent swimming and you need something more consistent and long-lasting, silicone breast form is the better choice overall. It has better durability compared to foam and is designed to withstand chlorine and saltwater. Aside from durability, silicone breast forms also offer a more natural look and feel compared to foam. It doesn’t absorb any water so you won’t experience changes that affect your breast asymmetry while in the water. 

Of course with something significantly better than the other, the silicone breast form comes with one concern: it’s more expensive. That of course if you consider it, think of it as a long term investment if you are a regular swimmer. Instead of frequently changing your breast form, investing in one expensive one that will last longer sounds like the more practical choice. 

When Can I Start Swimming After A Mastectomy?

Not all mastectomy procedures are the same. Some may only require less time for healing than others. Others may have predisposed conditions that may require more time for recovery. If you really want proper guidance for this you will need a surgeon’s clearance. Only your surgeon can truly tell when your body is ready and more importantly if it’s safe for you to get in the water. 

Even when your surgeon says it is already okay for you to get in the water, it is also important to listen to your body. If you don’t feel comfortable just yet, you can take it one step at a time and build confidence until you regain that sense of normalcy while being in the water. Maybe you can start by dipping your toes in the pool, just hanging out by the poolside. Then you can start going to the shallow parts where you can still easily stand up. Every little step can help until you eventually feel comfortable to do a full swim.

Selecting Suitable Swimwear

Aside from breast prosthesis, your choice of swimwear is also important for getting ready to get in the pool. You will want to look into what kind of swimwear will work for you while keeping your breast form in place. Stability of support, comfort and design will be key factors in your selection. You can also check out our guide to mastectomy swimwear.

Searching in the market these are some considerations that you can make for your swimwear choices:

  1. Pocketed Swimwear: Many brands offer swimsuits with built-in pockets to hold the prosthesis securely. These suits provide support and ensure the prosthesis stays in place while swimming.
  2. Styles and Designs: Look for styles that make you feel confident. High-necked suits, tankinis, and one-pieces with ruching or patterns can be both stylish and practical.
  3. Custom Options: Some companies offer custom-made swimsuits for a perfect fit.

By the way, we are proud to mention that our store carries a range of pocketed swimwear, designed specifically for post-mastectomy needs, available all year long. That means you don’t have to wait for a particular season to do your swimsuit selection!

Staying Active and Healthy

Swimming is an excellent way to stay active, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce stress. The buoyancy of water provides a low-impact environment for exercise, making it ideal for post-mastectomy recovery. Just remember, take everything on a step by step basis. Do not do anything that feels uncomfortable because you are still going through the recovery process and this is a therapeutic part of that process. One day at a time and you will surely see yourself stronger and stronger with each time you go back for a swim.

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