Bodyboarding and surfing are addictive, and once out have gotten a taste for the thrill, it is very difficult to put it down.
As a bodyboarder, you are used to taking risks, but when you fall pregnant, it is not only your risk that you are taking, so the question stands, is it safe to bodyboard when pregnant?
Can You Bodyboard When Pregnant?
It is both possible and safe to bodyboard when pregnant; however, it is wise to take extra precautions.
Although you might not be able to bodyboard through your entire pregnancy or perform with the same intensity, you can still enjoy the waves while keeping both yourself and your baby safe.
Let’s take a look at some questions you may have about bodyboarding while pregnant and what you may need to consider to keep your new family member safe.
*This article is for educational purposes and is by no means medical advice. Before making health decisions for you or your family, you should contact a medical professional.
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Should You Go Bodyboarding While Pregnant?
Whether you should or shouldn’t go bodyboarding is up to you and your doctor, but in most cases, it is both safe as well as beneficial for you and your unborn baby to keep up with your bodyboarding hobby.
That being said, there are, as with all sports, risks involved, and as bodyboarding is considered an extreme sport, the risks could be seen as higher.
Before you make your decision of whether you should bodyboard while pregnant, it’s important to get a full understanding of the risks involved, as well as the go-ahead from your doctor.
What Are the Risks of Bodyboarding While Pregnant?
There are many benefits to exercising while pregnant, and these spill over into bodyboarding.
That being said, bodyboarding always comes with a fairly high degree of risk, and this does not diminish once you fall pregnant.
Many doctors have mixed opinions about bodyboarding while pregnant. Many believe that the baby is protected and the sport will cause no harm, while others believe that bodyboarding holds too many risks thanks to potential contact, long breath holds, and increased adrenaline.
Although doctors recommend exercising while pregnant, and bodyboarding could be included in this, there are still some risks you should remain aware of.
Some of these include, but are not limited to:
Physical activity stimulates otherwise dormant hormones in our bodies.
When you are pregnant, a large influx of particular hormones could cause premature contractions.
During intense exercises, blood can be distributed from internal organs to skeletal muscles.
This is done to ensure enough nutrients and oxygen make their way to all corners of your hard-working body, but in extreme cases, this can reduce the nutrients and oxygen available to your new baby.
Increased Glucose Levels
The harder our muscles work, the more we need to eat in order to replace used energy.
Increasing your glucose consumption by a large degree can negatively impact the glucose levels of the fetus.
You should always be aware of the type of food you are using to replace your energy after a tough bodyboard session.
Although bodyboarding is done in water and can be a relatively calm sport, once you make your way to the larger waves, the entire game changes.
Bodyboarding in rough conditions can lead to blunt trauma from contact with your board, other surfers, or the ocean floor.
If you are unfit and push yourself too hard, your body will need more oxygen than it can supply for both you and your baby.
Doing this can result in oxygen loss from the fetus.
Similarly, if you are surfing in a large swell and find yourself being held underwater for a long period, the same risks are present.
The Upside of Bodyboarding While Pregnant
There are numerous benefits to us remaining physically active. This becomes even more important when you fall pregnant and are looking after two instead of just yourself.
One of the most beneficial exercises you can do while pregnant is swimming, and bodyboarding carries many of these advantages with it.
Some of these include:
- Bodyboarding keeps you cool while you exercise and prevents you from overheating.
Floating on a board takes the pressure off your back as your baby bump is supported (although this may seem uncomfortable at later stages).
- Cardiovascular exercise improves blood circulation.
- Bodyboarding takes the pressure off of your lower limbs which reduces swelling and discomfort.
- Strengthens your core.
- Taking pressure off your back, as well as the fluid twisting motions can relieve back pain.
- Helps prevent and treat diastasis recti.
- Exercise increases endorphin and dopamine levels which will help boost your mood.
- Sea water is full of minerals and will help you maintain healthy skin through your pregnancy.
- Being in nature is relaxing and helps reduce the stress that would otherwise negatively affect your baby.
How to Stay Safe Bodyboarding When You Are Pregnant
As an almost mother, your number one concern is for your new child, and because of this, if you will be bodyboarding, you should take as many steps as possible to ensure your baby’s safety.
The following tips are a good start:
1. Stick to What You Know
Being pregnant is not the time to try a new surf sport, bigger waves, or a style that you are unfamiliar with.
Stick to what you know to ensure you can control as many variables as possible.
2. Practice Breathing
Breathing practices are something we should all do every day, but they can be particularly beneficial when you are pregnant.
Practice maintaining a calm, fluid breath, and try to avoid too many breaths holds or breath holds for extended times.
3. Keep to Smaller Waves
Just because you can airdrop from 20-foot waves doesn’t mean you should, and when you are pregnant, you should stay far away from high-impact waves such as this.
Choose only the smoothest waves, and enjoy the flow.
It may not be the full experience that you are used to while bodyboarding, but it will keep you and your baby safe.
4. Choose Uncrowded Breaks
If possible, you should try paddling out at breaks that have fewer surfers. The more surfers in the water, the greater your chance of injury.
If the water is too crowded, you might want to consider coming back another day.
5. Surf With a Buddy
Always ensure that you have a friend close by to keep an eye on you.
Although most surfers will watch your back if something goes wrong, having a friend that understands your condition and what you need will make the world of difference.
Is Bodyboarding While Pregnant Worth the Risk?
Performing any physical activity comes with risks, some more so than others.
There are no studies that indicate the negative impacts of bodyboarding while you are pregnant. However, that does not mean that bodyboarding while pregnant comes without risks.
Doctors and medical professionals have mixed opinions about surfing and bodyboarding while pregnant, so it is important for you to visit your health practitioner before making a final decision.
At the end of the day, it’s your baby and your life, and therefore, the final decision should always be up to you and not an outside party.
Bodyboarding is an amazing sport, not to mention incredibly addictive.
When you become pregnant many things in your life begin to change. After all, you aren’t only looking after yourself anymore.
This can often be frustrating as you can no longer do many things that previously bought you joy.
Luckily for you, bodyboarding is still an option, but you should remain cautious while bodyboarding when pregnant.
Although you will, without a doubt, need to lower the intensity you surf, as well as the swell size, being pregnant doesn’t mean you need to stay out of the water.