Boating While Pregnant (Do’s and Don’ts for Safety)

boating while pregnant

Being pregnant will make you think twice about many things you’ve always done without a second thought, from downing your morning latte to enjoying your evening jog. And if you love to be on the water, it’s no surprise that you’re wondering, “Is it safe to go boating while pregnant?”

For most women, boating is safe during pregnancy, as long as you take the proper precautions. Just like anything else, there are some do’s and don’ts to consider before you go and once you’re out on the water. 

Of course, you’ll want to consult with your doctor for personalized advice based on your medical history, too. Here’s our top advice for comfortably and safely boating while pregnant.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Boating While Pregnant

With some extra planning and precautions, going out on the boat during your pregnancy is a great way to relax and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Here’s what you need to consider:

Is Your Pregnancy Considered High Risk?

For most women, sailing and boating during pregnancy are completely safe. But every pregnancy is different. If you’re having a complicated or high-risk pregnancy, you may want to hold off on going boating until after your baby is born. 

Normal boating activities that are totally fine for a normal pregnancy may cause complications for you, and you won’t have immediate access to medical care if you’re out on the boat.

If your pregnancy is considered high-risk, consult with your obstetrician before making plans to go boating. 

Which Trimester Are You In?

pregnancy and boating

In general, the second trimester is the most comfortable time to go boating while pregnant. By this time, your pregnancy is settled, and morning sickness has mostly passed. And, your baby bump isn’t yet big enough to throw off your balance.

Surprisingly, the first trimester is actually the riskiest because of the greater likelihood of miscarriage during the early stages of pregnancy. You’re also more prone to morning sickness during the first trimester and feeling nauseous will certainly ruin your boating trip.

Although it is usually OK to go boating in the third trimester, you’ll want to be extra cautious. Your balance is likely to be a little off due to the size of your growing belly.

Not only that, but you’re also getting closer to your due date. Even if you’re just relaxing on the boat, you could go into labor unexpectedly, and no woman wants to give birth out on the open water. 

Expect to Be Off Balance

Even if you’re boating on water that’s totally calm, you should expect your center of gravity and balance to be different as your pregnancy progresses. Remain seated as much as possible, and when you do get up to move around on the boat, move slowly and hold onto something to help you stay balanced. 

Avoid walking on the bow or anywhere else that can make you feel less stable. It’s also absolutely essential that you keep your life jacket on anytime the boat is in motion.

Keep the Ride as Steady as Possible

Rough water and speeding along in the boat are sure to make for a bumpy ride, and that’s not a good idea at any stage of pregnancy.

If you’re boating while pregnant, stick to calm water and go at a slower speed so you’re not bouncing up and down. You should also avoid big wakes, especially if you’re on a smaller boat.

Stay Closer to the Shore

It’s probably a good idea to stay closer to shore if you’re boating during any stage of pregnancy. That way, if you need to end your outing quickly due to morning sickness, pregnancy discomfort, or a medical emergency, land will be easily accessible. 

As a general rule, most experts recommend not being more than an hour away from the hospital once you reach 36 weeks. The further along you are in your pregnancy, the closer you should stay to your home marina.

Take Care of Yourself While Out on the Water

Getting a sunburn while you’re pregnant is no fun at all, so be sure to wear a sunhat, sunscreen, and protective clothing. A pair of water shoes with good cushioning can be super helpful as well. If you get too hot, jump in the water and do a little snorkeling or lounging in a float tube to cool off. 

Dehydration can hit hard and fast when you’re pregnant, so try to stay in the shade and drink lots of water and other non-alcoholic drinks, too. 

Having some healthy snacks on hand can help keep morning sickness away and keep your blood sugar regulated. Hummus and crackers, fresh fruit, and hard-boiled eggs are all convenient and easy to pack.

Frequently Asked Questions About Boating During Pregnancy

What is the Best Life Jacket When Pregnant?

kayaking attire for warm weather

Unfortunately, maternity life jackets don’t exist. The best life jacket when pregnant is one that’s a size or two larger than what you normally wear. While many unixex PFDs will work, life jackets specifically for women may offer a better fit.

If possible, choose one that has a strap between the legs to keep the life jacket from riding up when you’re in the water. Also, be sure to try the life jacket on and make any necessary adjustments before the boat is in motion.

Can You Jet Ski While Pregnant?

Although boating while pregnant is safe for most women, jet skiing is not recommended during pregnancy. Jet skiing requires excellent balance and coordination, which can be difficult to achieve when you’re toting a baby bump.

Not only that, but jet ski engines cause a strong vibration in the pelvic area, which could lead to miscarriage or preterm labor.

Can You Go Tubing While Pregnant?

Yes, tubing (ie: floating the river) while pregnant is considered safe for most women. Keep in mind that you may spin a bit, so you might want to avoid tubing if you’re experiencing morning sickness.

Tubing in the second trimester will probably be the most comfortable. Be sure to stick to a gentle river without rapids or lots of big rocks. Being pulled by boat in a towable tube is not recommended unless at very low speeds.

Can You Go on a Cruise When You’re Expecting?

go on a cruise while pregnant

If you are having a healthy pregnancy and your doctor gives you the OK, you should be able to go on a cruise during your first or second trimester of pregnancy.

Keep in mind that most cruise lines will not allow pregnant women on board during the third trimester, and some say that mom-to-be must be less than 24 weeks along.

Are Other Water-Related Activities Safe During Pregnancy?

Parasailing and white-water rafting are off-limits while you’re pregnant for safety reasons, but there are lots of other water-related activities you can do.

Kayaking, sailing, and snorkeling should all be perfectly safe during pregnancy, as long as you get the green light from your doctor first.

Summing It Up

Boating while pregnant is safe for most women as long as you take some precautions. Be sure to check with your doctor first and wear a properly fitted life jacket any time the boat is in motion.

Keeping your outings short and close to your home marina will lower any risk as your pregnancy progresses.

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