Snorkeling Safety During Pregnancy: Factors to Consider

Snorkeling is a popular pastime in many parts of the world, providing amazing views and a sense of comforting weightlessness few other activities can.

Pregnancy may open up a whole new world for people, but that journey does, sadly, come with certain limitations mothers need to work around. Is snorkeling safe during pregnancy?

Snorkeling is a fun, but physically-taxing activity that also limits your breathing. Pregnancy compounds that issue, lowering your lung capacity, leaving you at greater risk of suffering from shortness of breath – or even hyperventilation – during this activity.

Snorkeling also puts you at the mercy of the currents, so deep or rough waters could bat you around. This could leave you disoriented or nauseous, and in extreme cases may even lead to injuries to your abdomen, endangering both your and your baby’s health.

These concerns aren’t insurmountable, but the barriers you need to overcome are especially high to do this activity safely. If you can manage that through proper training, equipment, and experience, you’re more than welcome to go snorkeling while pregnant!

You might feel a bit bummed out, knowing that snorkeling while pregnant probably won’t be an option for most prospective moms – and for good reason. It’s a ton of fun, but there are a lot of roadblocks you need to overcome before you can do this safely.

We’ll go over a few crucial things you need to consider before snorkeling down below.   

Why is it Normally Unsafe to Snorkel While Pregnant?

Snorkeling is a fun aerobic activity that has you swimming at the water’s surface and taking in all the lovely underwater sights. While pregnant women are sure to enjoy the experience they may struggle a bit due to certain factors out of their control.  

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woman on a dextrose

A pregnant woman’s lung capacity actually drops while pregnant, which can make aerobic activities particularly arduous. Coupling that with swimming is a recipe for disaster.

To be more specific, being deprived of Oxygen causes hypoxia, which can lead to symptoms like confusion, disorientation, and heart palpitations. Severe cases of hypoxia will eventually leave the afflicted individual unconscious or even brain-damaged!

Oxygen deprivation is a serious issue while snorkeling, and holding your breath won’t help. Your body’s reflexes would kick in at a certain point, forcing you to gasp for air even underwater. Alternatively, a sudden impact may knock the wind out of you and cause the same outcome. These cases could easily lead to drowning, especially with a hamstrung lung capacity.


waves crashing

Snorkeling in less-than-ideal weather also increases the chance of traumatic injury, which will likely harm the developing infant. The currents may end up batting you around, which would leave you out of breath at best, or even have you strike hard surfaces or local marine life at worst.

In unfortunate circumstances, the current may even change while you’re swimming. Fighting the current is almost always a losing battle, and overexerting yourself physically will not only take a toll on your body but adversely affect your baby’s health as well since nutrients are being reallocated to your needs rather than the infant’s development.

If you’re already trying to snorkel while pregnant, avoid doing so when the ocean waves start getting out of control. We’d also advise that you put on a life vest before snorkeling if only to play it a bit safer. It may feel a little uncomfortable to wear, but life vests not only help you preserve your energy but provide an extra layer of padding to protect your baby bump from traumatic impacts.

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Safely Snorkeling while Pregnant (Other Things to Consider)

pregnant woman wearing snorkeling gear

Make sure your snorkeling equipment is properly fitted. Poorly-fitted snorkels could cause you to accidentally inhale water, leading to panic and a situation snowballing out of control. Even if you recover fast, these circumstances will still adversely affect the fetus.

It’s important to regulate your breathing too – keep an even tempo of slow and steady breaths. Breathing too quickly, or too irregularly, increases your risk of hyperventilation.

Travel with a snorkel buddy, especially if you aren’t a regular swimmer or snorkeler. There’s always a small chance things will go wrong during your trip, and you really don’t want to be left dealing with them on your lonesome.

Give local wild marine life a wide berth while snorkeling, as you never know how they’d respond to your presence. Even friendly, domesticated marine life could cause incidents if startled. They might be cute, but it’ll be a lot safer for you and your baby if you keep your distance for now.

Remember that snorkeling can get pretty exhausting. Your prior conditioning is a deciding factor on whether or not you can safely snorkel while pregnant. If you weren’t fit enough to snorkel back then, you certainly shouldn’t be trying to pick up the hobby now at all times!

Final Thoughts

Snorkeling while pregnant can potentially be a safe, enjoyable activity – so long as you take the proper precautions. It won’t be easy, but once you check out all those safety guidelines you’re free to go snorkeling!

But leave the final say to your doctor, even if you should be safe to snorkel on paper. They’re medical professionals, and if they’re barring you from the activity it’ll be for a good reason.

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