When you are pregnant it can be frustrating to think about all those things you love to do, but experts recommend you avoid.
But what about its older cousin, snorkelling?
The good news is snorkelling is indeed a safe activity for pregnant women – it’s not only a great way to exercise, but because it does not involve any changes in pressure, it’s typically a safe recreation for most pregnant women.
However, just like when driving during pregnancy, there are still some things that everyone should consider in order to keep both mom and baby safe.
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Benefits Of Snorkelling During Pregnancy
Snorkelling, and swimming in general, are not only on the easier side, but they also offer multiple benefits, including:
- Staying Fit: It’s important to exercise during pregnancy for several reasons, particularly as exercise can help reduces back pain, eases constipation and reduce your risk of gestational diabetes. Staying active will also help you maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy, and snorkelling can be a super fun way to get some exercise in without even realizing it!
- Low Impact: One of the major benefits of snorkelling is that it allows you to build strength and engage in an aerobic activity without putting excessive impact on your body.
- Relaxing: There’s a certain mindfulness to snorkelling because it’s one of those great activities that can help you relax, forget your daily stresses and just stay in (and enjoy) the present.
- Limited Equipment & Low Cost: With just a snorkel, mask and perhaps a pair of fins, you’ve got all you need to get on your way. Yes, many of us are sadly only able to snorkel while on vacation, but if you are fortunate enough to live close to some great snorkel spots, then the world really is your oyster!
5 Tips For Staying Safe While Snorkelling
Just because you can snorkel while expecting doesn’t automatically make it safe.
Snorkelling comes with some manageable risks and important considerations, some of which can be exasperated when you are pregnant.
Here are 5 helpful tips to keep you and your baby safe on your next adventure:
1. Protect Your Skin
By now it should be common knowledge that everybody should use sunscreen to protect themselves from the sun’s powerful rays.
You can do this by using a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 – look for a broad-spectrum sunscreen which offers protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and avoid the ingredient oxybenzone (look for zinc oxide instead, as this will not be absorbed by your skin).
You should also try to cover as much skin as possible when you are in the sun by wearing loose, breathable clothing (these types of clothes should help you to avoid getting burnt while still enabling you to stay cool).
2. Don’t Overdo It
We mentioned above that it’s important for pregnancy women to stay active, but it’s also important you don’t take things too far.
Your changing body will naturally result in you having less stamina and energy than normal, so as with most pregnancy activities, it’s best to take things easy.
Remember to take plenty of breaks, stay close to the shore if possible, and make an extra effort to stay hydrated at all times.
Experiencing these symptoms is a warning that you need to take in more liquid.
3. Stay Out Of The Heat
There is no single answer as to how long moms-to-be should spend in the sun, but it’s wise for pregnant women to avoid excessive sun exposure and to do all they can to avoid getting burnt.
During pregnancy your skin becomes more sensitive compared to your pre-pregnancy days, and this is why excessive sun exposure, particularly if it leads to sunburn, can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
So play it safe and stay out of the sun as much as you can, which in practical terms will likely mean snorkelling either in the early morning or early evening, but not during the heat of the day.
4. Don’t Hold Your Breath
It may be tempting to free dive or hold your breath in order to dive below the surface and get a better look at what lies beneath.
But holding your breath while snorkelling isn’t a good idea if you’re pregnant, because your fetus needs a constant and steady supply of oxygen.
Linked to this advice is the use of fins – they can make swimming and moving through the water in general much easier, thereby allowing you to save your breath and reduce your need for oxygen.
5. Snorkel With A Partner
Even the most experienced of swimmers can get into difficulty, so it’s a good idea to snorkel in a group or with at least one other person even if you’re not pregnant.
Yes, you can go it alone, but it’s not worth taking the risk just in case you run into any issues such as cramps, nausea, currents, getting lost or even stings and cuts from any aquatic wildlife.
Snorkelling is a wonderful activity for most pregnant women because it’s fun, low-impact and can be enjoyed by both novices and experts alike.
If you do decide to snorkel then you should be careful to protect your skin, avoid holding your breath, stay out of the heat, take things easy and always snorkel with a partner.
As with many pregnancy-related topics it can also be a good idea to check with your midwife or other medical professional first, so you can discuss your individual circumstances and to give you that extra piece of mind.