Whether it’s the occasional day cruise with your friends or something you do on a weekly basis, anyone who has ever been on a boat can vouch for the fact it’s one of the most fun ways to spend an afternoon.
But if you’ve recently become pregnant, there’s probably one burning question on your mind right now, which is can you go boating while you are expecting?
The good news for all you boat lovers out there is that boating is indeed safe during pregnancy, so you don’t need to add it to your list of things to give up during pregnancy.
However, just like when you’re on the road driving, there are some precautions you should take to ensure mom and baby are safe when out on the water.
Let’s find out more.
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Can You Go Boating While Pregnant?
Typically boating is a safe activity for pregnant women, and it can be a great way to relax, switch off and get some much needed Vitamin-D and fresh air.
But as with many pregnancy-related questions, there are several factors to take into consideration before deciding on what is best for you.
Here are 6 tips and considerations to help pregnant women stay safe when on a boat.
1. Consult With A Medical Professional First
Given every pregnancy is different, it’s best to first speak with your doctor or midwife before stepping on board during the 9 months that you are expecting.
If you have a complicated pregnancy, or are later stages / third trimester, then you may be advised against boating, so for piece of mind it’s worth checking with an expert to get the all clear.
2. Stick To Larger Boats
Although it’s a generalization, typically larger vessels are safer than smaller ones.
If the choice is between an inflatable powerboat compared to a sturdier, wood or metal made craft, or a catamaran, then the latter options are likely to be safer in the event of rough conditions.
Boats with a cabin and a roof that can provide shelter are also likely to offer you much more protection from the elements – particularly heat and sunlight.
This is important because during pregnancy your skin becomes more sensitive than normal, meaning it can burn more easily.
Wearing sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 and covering your skin from the sun will help, but sometimes staying out of the sun completely – especially during the peak hours of 10am to 2pm – is the best way to protect mom and baby from too much sun exposure.
And clearly the best way to do this is to be on a boat that has plenty of natural protection from the sun.
3. Pack Plenty of Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages
Boats and parties go together like milk and honey, and as we all know the sign of any good party is a stream of endless refreshments.
You can expect most non-pregnant people to be drinking at least some alcohol, but given alcohol is off the cards when pregnant, it’s important to think ahead and pack the following:
- Plenty of Water: moms-to-be should drink around 8 to 12 cups of fluids (64 to 96 ounces) on a normal day, but if you out on a boat on a hot or humid day, then you’ll need to take in much more. This is particularly true if you are planning on swimming or doing some other physical activity like snorkelling.
- Non-Alcoholic Drinks: pregnancy mocktails and alcohol-free drinks have thankfully come a long way over the past few years, to the point where some can taste just as good as the real thing. But don’t expect to automatically find these on board or in your friends’ drinks coolers, so plan ahead and pack these yourself.
- Snacks: when you’re pregnancy you are eating for two and will typically need to consume around 300 extra calories per day. But it’s important that these extra calories come from nutrient-dense sources high in protein and good fat, and low in sugar, so make sure you pack some convenient pregnancy snacks like protein bars, trail mix, oats and peanut butter.
4. Wear A Lifejacket
Accidents do happen on boats, and often there’s less warning than people realize.
So to avoid taking any unnecessary risks, it’s good practice to wear a life jacket at all times.
If you are on a very large boat this may not be necessary, but if you’re boating on a smaller to medium sized vessel then play it safe and wear a well-fitting life jacket at all times.
5. Avoid Rough Seas
One of the reasons why jet skiing is generally not advised during pregnancy is because the bouncing motion can put unwanted pressure on your uterus.
If you are on a good-sized vessel in calm conditions this shouldn’t be an issue, but riding a ribbed inflatable craft, especially in choppy water – will result in jerky, bouncy movements that you’ll want to avoid.
Understandably a lot of women ask can boating cause miscarriage?
While the answer is typically no, the risk is higher if you are on a small boat with lots of sharp, bouncy movements, so if you are planning on boating during your pregnancy when stick to calm conditions and tell the captain not to take things slowly and smoothly, and to avoid any sharp turns.
6. Second Semester Sweet Spot
A lot of people in the know say that the second trimester is the best time to hit the water while you are expecting.
According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50% of women experience morning sickness at some point during their pregnancy.
Feeling nauseous, lightheaded and vomiting are all more common in early pregnancy and during the first trimester, and these are hardly the symptoms you want to be dealing with while on a boat!
In the third trimester you face a different challenge, which is the fact that you may go into early labor – something you clearly don’t want to be dealing with if you are out on the open water, potentially hours from the nearest hospital.
For this reason it’s definitely not a good idea to go boating too close to your due date.
A week or two into your third trimester should be fine, but given you’re going to be bigger, heavier and possibly more uncomfortable than at any time before, you might not enjoy your time on the boat anyway once you’re past the 30 week mark anyway.
During your pregnancy you will likely need to make several lifestyle changes, but thankfully giving up boating is not one of them.
Boat trips are typically safe for pregnant women, but for piece of mind the first port of call is to check with your medical provider.
If you do decide to hit the water, always use common sense, stay cool and hydrated, wear a life jacket and avoid any sort of rough seas.
Finally, the preferred window for many women is the second trimester, because you should be past the stage of having morning sickness, but not be so uncomfortable that you won’t enjoy your day out.