There's an extensive list of potentially dangerous outdoor activities that the majority of health professionals advise pregnant women to avoid, including horseback riding, water skiing and roller skating. However, according to the book "The Twelve-Month Pregnancy," boating is okay throughout your pregnancy as long as you pay attention to some specific guidelines and precautions.
Generally speaking, boating on a sleepy body of water such as a still lake while pregnant is completely safe. However, as with all outdoor activities during pregnancy, you should really get the final word from your doctor before making plans to go boating. Depending on your specific condition, he may have some concerns.
Your center of gravity and sense of balance shift dramatically while pregnant. Even the most graceful women may find themselves tripping and bumping into objects. This can present a serious safety issue while boating. If you choose to take a boat ride when you're pregnant, make sure you remain seated to decrease your chances of losing your balance and falling overboard.
Because your sense of balance will be slightly off, you may wish to take the extra precaution of donning a life jacket while you're boating, even if you don't generally wear one. Most sporting goods stores sell adjustable models that will fit you throughout the majority of your pregnancy. Never wear life jackets that are too small or ill-fitting. Also, stick to calm waters. Avoid boating on the ocean and stay on land if a storm is predicted for that day.
You should take time to anticipate any needs you may have while you're out on the boat, especially if you plan to be gone for several hours. Pack snacks and water so that you can stay energized and hydrated. Apply sunscreen before you leave the house and tote along some extra, just in case. Make sure that someone on the boat has either a working cell phone or a radio, in case there's an emergency.
Though boating is an approved activity, there are some things you'll want to consider before you take the plunge. If you've had any morning sickness symptoms, you may want to stay away from the water. The bobbing motion of the boat can trigger nausea, dizziness and headaches. Additionally, boating is not recommended for pregnant women who have had complications such as preterm labor because it takes time to get back to shore if there's an issue.
- "The Twelve-Month Pregnancy"; Susan K. Perry and Barry Herman; 1996
- Families.com: Is It Safe to Go Boating?