Sun is up, spring is all around us and everyone is already talking about summer holidays, the exotic beaches of Hawaii, and snorkeling in the blue ocean which may seem like a dangerous mission for you and your pregnant belly.
No need to fear though, a nice holiday and low-impact exercises are a perfect combo for a pregnant woman!
But can you snorkel while pregnant? Yes, you can! However, there are few things you should keep in mind, such as your fitness level, stage of pregnancy, and the degree of risk.
Although snorkeling is okay, pregnant women shouldn’t go scuba diving or freediving at all.
This may be a bit of a disappointment for all the pregnant ladies who enjoyed diving every summer up to now, but now you have a chance to become professional snorkelers!
Instead of being sad about not being able to scuba dive, you can get yourself a snorkel mask, some cute pregnancy swimsuits, and go on an exciting snorkel tour!
Many people ask: How can you snorkel while pregnant? Well, it all boils down to following your doctor’s orders and these general rules, and everything will be just fine!
Can You Snorkel While Pregnant?
Being pregnant is one of the most amazing experiences a woman can have. She is both the strongest and most fragile human being during pregnancy.
Essentially, your body shows you how strong you are by growing a child and delivering a new life into this world, but it also requires special care and attention.
Yes, that does mean that you’ll have to skip a few things, but it’s only for nine months and next year you’ll be on vacation with your little one!
Scuba diving while pregnant may not be safe, but water aerobics and snorkeling are approved by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
However, it is highly advisable to speak to your ob-gyn during the early stages of pregnancy and take some precautions before the adventure.
How can you snorkel while pregnant?
There are a few things you should keep in mind before you go snorkeling:
1. Visit your doctor before vacation
This is the most important step for any pregnant woman. Make sure to check all the details with your doctor regarding your pregnancy and general state of health.
Don’t ask yourself can you snorkel while pregnant – ask your doctor.
If your doctor confirms your health is in good condition, you’re free to enjoy water activities like swimming or snorkeling.
Pregnant women who have problems with high blood pressure and anemia should be very careful. You’ll probably only be able to snorkel under specific conditions to make sure you don’t harm yourself or your baby.
2. Examine the area
This might seem excessive at first, but actually, this is crucial, as you want to avoid getting hurt by some sea creature or plant.
Be careful going into the water to avoid stepping on some sharp rocks or plants that could cause a harmful infection.
A lot of people have had close encounters with jellyfish, which they described as terrifying, and that is the last thing you need.
Even though its sting is usually not life-threatening, it can cause severe allergic reactions that could have consequences for the baby, as well.
You should also be cautious about stingrays, sea urchins, or anything else that might harm you or your baby.
3. Check the weather
Any kind of stress may affect the baby, which is why you should remain as calm as you can during pregnancy.
Sea weather is quite unpredictable, so don’t only rely on the weather you see around you, especially if you’re planning to snorkel far from the beach.
Getting caught up in a current or rough weather could be very stressful and dangerous for you and the baby, so don’t try your luck! Make sure you check the weather conditions before you head out to sea.
4. Don’t go snorkeling alone
Even if you are a well-experienced scuba diver you should take someone with you when you go snorkeling.
Enjoying the underwater world to the fullest might be your passion, but it could also be a very risky move.
Make sure to have someone with you all the time, to prevent any accidents that might hurt you or your unborn baby.
If you’re going on holiday with your significant other, you could turn this activity into a relaxing date before the baby comes.
If you’re spending a vacation with the whole family, you could make snorkeling fun for everyone!
I understand that sometimes you need some me-time as well but there are lots of other activities that can be just as relaxing as snorkeling and much less dangerous for your unborn child.
5. Don’t hold your breath
Pregnant women should have a constant supply of oxygen. You should not free dive or hold your breath while snorkeling for more than a few seconds.
You may or may not have heard about decompression illness, but this condition is very serious and can lead to difficult consequences.
Nitrogen bubbles expand when you float to the surface too quickly. These decompressions can cause fetal distress and if they occur repeatedly, they can be fatal to your unborn baby.
This is why it’s not recommended to go diving while pregnant and why you should keep as close to the surface as possible.
Make sure to take frequent breaks even when you snorkel, so you don’t lose your breath.
You might think you have everything under control, but you could end up holding your breath involuntarily, even with a snorkel mask, as a natural reaction to your body being in the water.
6. Don’t overexert yourself
I know you’re feeling great, the weather is perfect and the sea is the most beautiful color ever, but don’t push your pregnant body to the limit.
That’s a great challenge when you’re alone, but it’s not worth it if you put your baby in danger.
This rule is crucial for the first trimester when you feel exhausted after going up the stairs or taking a long walk.
There are so many things happening to your body during this period and it’s no surprise it gets overwhelmed.
The same goes for the third trimester as well. If you feel tired or overwhelmed, you should get back to the beach as soon as possible to prevent early delivery and low birth weight.
Remember, you’ll have more than enough time later to enjoy underwater activities.
Your little one will become the cutest toddler on the beach in no time and you’ll be able to enjoy diving as much as you want and who knows, maybe one day when they’re older they can go diving with you!
7. Keep yourself hydrated
Staying hydrated is crucial for the regulation of body temperature, joint lubrication, prevention of infections, and proper functioning of the body and the brain.
Pregnant women should take even more care to stay hydrated to avoid overheating, which could damage the unborn child.
Just because the water seems cool and refreshing doesn’t mean you are refreshed enough.
If you go swimming, you’ll raise your temperature even more which can cause dehydration and pregnancy hot flashes that could lead to birth defects.
Yes, the sea life is magnificent and you could explore it for hours, but that’s probably not the best idea while you’re pregnant.
Therefore, you should take frequent breaks from the water, avoid snorkeling during hot weather (morning or afternoon would be perfect), and take a lot of water with you.
Tea and juice are good, but they can’t replace water, so make sure you drink enough water for proper functioning of the body.
It’s easy to miss the first symptoms of dehydration if you’re in the water, so don’t only take a break when you feel thirsty.
Thirstiness is already a symptom of dehydration that should be treated immediately by taking in enough liquid.
However, you shouldn’t drink too much water either, as it could result in overhydration.
Just have enough to feel energized and well and eat water-rich vegetables and fruits.
It’s also important to stay inside during the hottest part of the day, which could cause dehydration too.
8. Protect the skin
I’d say this is a general rule that applies to pregnant ladies as well. UV rays are no good for anyone, especially if you’re pregnant.
Skin becomes even more sensitive during pregnancy and the sun may cause sunburn and a lot of other damage, including increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Maternity swimwear is really cute and can be great for sunbathing and swimming, but you need something stronger for snorkeling.
A rashguard will protect your skin most efficiently from UV rays and protect your little one in your belly, as well.
However, you should still find the best sunscreen for your skin and wear it 24/7.
If you’re buying sunscreen for the first time, or you’re just not sure which one will work best for you, I’d suggest a visit to a dermatologist before exposure to the sun.
And, don’t only use sunscreen on vacation. It should be used every time you leave the house, even if it’s not that hot.
Can you snorkel while pregnant? Of course!
Every mom-to-be wants to protect her unborn child, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun during pregnancy as well.
Snorkeling is a great sea activity for pregnant ladies, as you can enjoy the sea life, relax in the water, and do some water aerobics that can benefit both you and your bundle of joy.
However, as you can see, there are a lot of things to take into consideration before heading to Maui or some other exotic location.
As you went through this list of tips, you probably saw that these steps are quite simple and they still do a lot in terms of protecting you and your baby from danger.
Scuba diving or any type of diving is not recommended at all, according to obstetricians and PADI (the famous scuba diver training organization).
It can cause decompression illness which could lead to severe birth defects, and that’s probably the last thing any mother wants for her baby.
Therefore, instead of trying your luck, choose the safer option and enjoy the summer holidays before your little one arrives.
This time next year you’ll be able to enjoy the sea to the fullest and keep your baby safe at the same time!
• The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2019, July). “Exercise During Pregnancy”. ACOG website.
• Tara Bradley Connell. (N.D.) “Pregnancy and Diving: What You Need to Know.” PADI website.
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