Owing to the fact that exercise and leisure activities are two sets of things almost anyone with a sound mind would recommend to expectant mothers, some women still wonder if it is bad or okay to go snorkeling in the ocean/sea while pregnant.
Most of the time snorkeling during pregnancy is perfectly safe and healthy. It’s a form relaxing and light exercise that can help in many ways including improving your overall fitness, body balance, mental calmness and much more. Read on learn more about the benefits, safety tips and precautions.
Snorkeling while Pregnant
Moderate water aerobic exercises, be it in a swimming pool or in the sea, is something every mom-to-be should try.
Studies show that a regular dose of these activities offer no risk to the health of the mother or the child. They’re still safe even for previously sedentary expectant mothers offers.
What are the benefits?
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), aquatic exercises are beneficial in the following ways
- They help support the belly and relieves pressure from the spine and pelvis while snorkeling hence reducing back pain
- They ease constipation
- Promote healthy weight gain
- Water exercises involve numerous body muscles which eventually contributes to lesser exercise-related injuries and muscle strains
- They strengthen your heart and blood vessels.
- They’re also may decrease the risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and delivery by caesarian section
- They help you lose the baby weight more quickly after delivery.
- The ocean or pools are often calming places to exercise, especially during the summer.
However, some water exercises, especially those that are vigorous and involve uncontrolled bouncing, swinging, heavy breathing etc. should be avoided.
There’s evidence these are can be dangerous for both the mother and the baby. These activities can raise one’s heart rate to over 75% the normal rate, which is risky for expectant women.
Some of the known water activities you ought to avoid include, scuba diving, water skiing and surfing
Considerations for Your Snorkeling Experience
Now don’t get too excited, you can never be too safe, so below are some precautions you can take to ensure your snorkeling experience is safer for you.
1. Know Yourself
If you’re indulging in the sport for the first time you might want to reconsider your decision because snorkeling can be a bit uncomfortable for you. Yes it’s fun, and it’s probably on your bucket list, but you may not be well versed with the sport, causing you to strain.
You will need to wear and use the right snorkeling equipment such an inflatable vest, rash guards, plus maybe fins so your not exerting too much energy into the activity. Lastly, you should snorkel in areas that don’t have currents as they can be rather harsh and unsafe for you.
2. Knowledge of Snorkeling Spots
Going out for snorkeling isn’t like swimming at the beach; you don’t just snorkel anywhere. You’ll have to go on boat tours to those specific spots for the best experience. Hence, you have to be aware of the route they’ll be using, to know if it’s safe for you.
Several tour operators may restrict pregnant women from snorkeling as the boat tours can be bumpy, wavy, or highly affected by weather conditions. Ensure you speak to the operators beforehand and inform them of your condition so they can advise accordingly.
3. Oxygen Sufficiency
There are two options when you go snorkeling; with or without a snorkeling mask. Either choice can be difficult for first-time users since you either hold your breath or have to learn how to breathe calmly with the snorkeling mask.
For pregnant women, enough oxygen supply is very essential to avoid problems and pregnancy complications. This is because your child needs a constant and steady supply of air. Therefore, holding your breath shouldn’t be an option per-say for you. On the other hand, it’s also vital to learn using the mask so you’re comfortable as you snorkel.
4. Controlling Your Body Temperature
As vital as oxygen supply is, so is maintaining your body temperature. An elevated or reduced body heat can have adverse effects on your baby, especially during the first and second trimester. Your fetus could suffer – especially if you indulge in the activity for extended periods of time.
If you decide to snorkel in warm water, ensure you are on limited time. Indulge in the activity during off-peak times when the sun isn’t blazing hot. Also, spend more time resting in the shade and staying hydrated as much as possible. Extremely cold waters should also be avoided.
5. Additional Considerations
Because snorkeling involves being around water, it’s very likely that you can slip over causing mild or severe injuries to you, the baby, or both. As such, you have to be extra cautious about your environment. Besides slipping, you should heed every advice from the operators such as the clothes to wear, where to place your feet to avoid the spines by the sea urchins.
Also, keep an eye out for dangerous sea animals such as the jellyfish. Always carry protective gear and snorkel on safe grounds where people can see you or at least have an idea where you are, just in case of an emergency. Finally, you could ask for a dive flag so you can always call out when you need assistance with anything.
Tips for Snorkeling While Pregnant
If you’ve got to this point you must be really determined to go out snorkeling. Now since your mind is made up, here are a few bags of tricks you should take with you just to ensure you’re on the safe side.
1. Cover Your Belly
It’s not advised to go out snorkeling in a bikini while you’re pregnant. You need the extra gear to keep your body temperature steady – especially around the belly. Also, as you snorkel, you will come into contact with various sea creatures like fish, you might want to avoid the discomfort of them swimming past your belly.
2. Invest in Personal Equipment
Some areas allow you to hire snorkeling equipment such as masks, snorkels, rash guards, fins, and the likes. Well, it’s not wrong but it’s better to have your own piece of equipment for hygienic reasons. Remember, you are carrying a delicate human being and you need to protect yourself from infections.
Having your own equipment is easier for you to disinfect and carry along with you as you head out to snorkel. Besides, you’ll be saving the amount you would otherwise have used to hire that equipment.
3. Take it Slow
You can’t compare your strength and resistance levels before and during pregnancy. So maybe you should take your excitement and enthusiasm down a notch to avoid tiring the body. Many women experience dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and disorientation. In that case, no matter how well acquainted you are with snorkeling, it’s much better if you took on the activity slowly and calmly.
This way, you get to enjoy yourself as well as protect yourself from avoidable issues like elevated heart rates and excess fatigue.
4. Take Extra Precautions
This point cannot be emphasized enough, always take extra care of yourself. You have to be vigilant of your surroundings to avoid any slips, falls, trips, or stings from dangerous sea creatures. If you’re not up for any risks a good bask in the sun will do instead.
Finally, as fun and exciting as snorkeling can be during pregnancy, it could also be dangerous. This is why it’s vital to place your safety and health as the first priority against enjoyment. So stay vigilant and stay safe.
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