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If you’re reading this and you’re pregnant – first of all, congratulations! Secondly, you may have received the news that scuba diving while pregnant is an absolute no-no. For ladies who love to explore the underwater magic, this can be a bit of a disappointing discovery. Can you snorkel while pregnant, though? Absolutely!
Snorkelling is a great alternative to diving, and you can enjoy this leisurely sport throughout your whole pregnancy. That said, there are a number of considerations and cautions you should take when snorkelling while pregnant. Just like anything else, risk factors might be increased due to having a little bun in the oven, but all it takes is a bit of awareness.
So expectant mothers, you don’t have to give up that dreamy underwater world just yet! Read on for everything you need to know about snorkelling while pregnant, from tips to considerations and advice.
Snorkelling is rarely considered to be vigorous exercise, but it’s still worth looking at your fitness level before hitting the water. Have you snorkelled before? If not, be wary if you’ll be snorkelling for the first time while pregnant. It’s not that it’s dangerous, it just may be uncomfortable. In fact, a 2009 Brazilian study published in the journal ‘Reproductive Health’ concluded that water aerobics are completely safe during pregnancy, even amongst women who are not used to exercise.
If you’re lucky enough to be heading out on a snorkelling holiday while pregnant, you’ll likely be going on a boat tour that’ll take you out to the best snorkel spots. If this is the case, be aware that some snorkelling tour operators may not allow pregnant women to come along for the ride. This is mostly due to bumpy/wavy boat rides and will often depend on weather conditions an the current, but it’s still an important consideration to make before booking that tour.
Speak to the tour operator beforehand, let them know that you’re pregnant, and be aware that there may be a risk of slipping over/sudden movements while travelling on the boat.
While it might be tempting to freedive below the surface of the water to get a closer look at that beautiful coral, try to avoid holding your breath while snorkelling when pregnant. Your baby requires a steady and constant supply of oxygen, and holding your breath is never a good idea (or worth it).
It’s absolutely important to practice your breathing with the snorkel mask on before heading out from shore, and be confident that you can comfortably breathe through your snorkel without gasping for air. Another good tip is to use fins and a vest as it’ll make swimming less strenuous, meaning you’ll be needing less oxygen (and giving more of it to bub).
An elevated body temperature can be damaging to fetal development, especially in the first few months of a pregnancy. If you’re snorkelling out in warm weather (or just out in the sun), make sure you take plenty of breaks in the shade, stay well hydrated, and avoid snorkelling out in the sun during the hottest parts of the day.
It’s important to always be aware of your body temperature – and to be aware that you may not feel as warm when you’re immersed in water! The coolness of the water will make your skin feel colder, but you must be aware that your internal body temperature can still be elevated. Take plenty of breaks, drink lots of water, and stay in the shade in between.
– If the thought of weird creatures, fishes, and sea life touching your belly freaks you out, then go for a one-piece swimming costume rather than snorkelling with a bikini on. At the very least you’ll be swimming comfortably and not thinking about what might stroke your visible belly.
– It may be worth purchasing your own snorkelling equipment when heading out on holiday, rather than hiring a pair. Communal snorkelling equipment should be properly disinfected before use, but there’s always the risk that it may not have been, and you just don’t want to take that chance while pregnant.
– Even if you’re a confident snorkeller who’s hit the same spots thousands of times, don’t fall in the trap of being overconfident while snorkelling. It’s always important to remember that pregnancy can sometimes make you feel more dizzy and disoriented than usual, so don’t try to push yourself too hard.
– Be aware of your surroundings at all times. A slip on a pebble or a step on a sea urchin may not be the worst thing in the world if you’re not pregnant, but could be seriously injurious if you are pregnant. Pay extra attention to where you’re stepping, watch your surroundings, and be twice as vigilant about the usual snorkelling precautions.
Snorkelling can be one seriously leisurely exercise. If you’re not heading out on a choppy boat ride or swimming in rough waters or out in the harsh sun, you could actually be doing a lot of good for your body. Relaxing along the surface and watching fish float by can be a very stress-relieving experience, and you know how much good that can do while pregnant! In fact, you might find that floating in the water with a floatie and fins is even more comfortable than laying around on the couch!