Diving Pregnant

Is it Safe to go Scuba Diving During Your Pregnancy?

One question I get fairly often concerns diving pregnant. Can you scuba dive while you are pregnant? Will it harm the fetus?

Well, to get right to the point, I am sorry to tell you, that "no" - scuba diving is not recommended during your pregnancy.

The bottom line is that there really is no conclusive scientific research that shows the harmful affects of scuba diving pregnant. That, of course, is understandable since who would want to participate in such a study?

Most of the evidence concerning diving and pregnancy is anecdotal and show some conflicting results.

There are generally 4 surveys (where women dove while pregnant either inadvertently or for some other reason) cited which occurred between 1978 and 1991.

Some of the surveys of the scuba diving pregnant women showed no increase in miscarriages, abnormalities and some showed an increase in abnormalities, etc.

Studies done with animals, sheep being one of the subjects since the placenta is similar to humans, show a higher than normal rate of fetal deaths.

Scuba diving while pregnant?

The problem with diving while pregnant occurs with the fetus since their blood is oxygenated with the placenta. The fetus does not have the lungs to filter the nitrogen.

If the mother gets decompression illness and passes it onto her fetus, the fetus does not have any way to expel any bubbles that may form.

This increases the likelihood that the bubbles can move around and harm the fetus' vital organs, spine, brain, etc.

The bottom line is play it safe. Is it really worth the risk (even if it is low)?

I would definitely say no, it is not.

It is only for 9 months so it is not the end of the world. You'll be back underwater soon. And on that point:

How Long do I Have to Wait to Dive After Giving Birth?

While you of course would have to check with your doctor, there are some general guidelines for resuming diving after giving birth.

If you had a vaginal delivery, it is recommended that you wait at least 4 weeks before resuming diving.

If you had a cesarean delivery, it is advised that you wait at least 8 weeks before you hit the water again.

Of course, these are only rough rules of thumb, it is different for every women depending on the circumstances of her delivery and health.

Always check with your doctor before resuming diving.

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