Pregnancy is a blessing; there’s no denying that, but if you’re both a future mom and an avid wakeboarder, you must be wondering if wakeboarding while pregnant is a safe endeavor for you and your baby.
The short answer is simple: put any activity that may result in falling and trauma to your abdomen on hold while you’re pregnant. That includes wakeboarding, water skiing, and, of course, contact sports.
If you’re still curious as to why you should avoid wakeboarding while pregnant, keep reading.
Body Changes During Pregnancy
The body keeps changing significantly during pregnancy, and these changes may interfere with the woman’s ability to practice some kinds of exercise and activity.
The first and most obvious change that you’re going to notice while pregnant is the increase in your body weight. This change can make activities that involve your legs, such as jogging, running, and even wakeboarding uncomfortable. The change in the bodyweight distribution also affects your ability to maintain balance and achieve coordination, which can make sports that require these skills, such as wakeboarding, dangerous, especially if you’re a beginner.
Another significant change of which you should be aware is the loosening up of your pelvic ligaments and joints – a change that occurs in preparation for labor. That’s why you should avoid any activity that may cause an injury in this area. That includes anything that requires quick changes of direction (hint: water sports).
Some physiological parameters also change during pregnancy, such as the heart rate, which is why pregnant women mustn’t overexert themselves. Blood pressure also decreases during pregnancy, which may result in dizziness. That’s why you need to avoid activities that involve balance and coordination during pregnancy.
Other changes, such as stretch marks and pigmentations, don’t directly affect your ability to wakeboard.
Here’a great TEDx video that explains the body changes during pregnancy:
Wakeboarding While Pregnant: Is It Safe?
When you’re carrying a bun (or more than one) in the oven, you ought to avoid any activity that involves a considerable risk of falling and traumatizing your abdomen.
Of course, the more skilled you are, the less likely you are to fall and hurt yourself, but you should keep in mind that as your pregnancy progresses, your ability to maintain your balance is most likely to decrease. Not only that, but your center of gravity will keep shifting, even slightly, as your bum grows, which means that you’ll have to adapt your position accordingly.
As you know, wakeboarding is all about maintaining your balance as you get dragged behind the boats, which means that you ought to put this sport on hold while you’re pregnant.
As mentioned above, practically every body parameter changes during pregnancy and most of these changes can affect your ability to wakeboard safely, which is why you need to avoid wakeboarding while pregnant and think about your safety and that of your baby before everything else. That especially applies if you have one of the following medical conditions:
- Problems with your current pregnancy or a previous one
- Multiple birth (such as twins or triplets)
- Anemia or other blood-related problems
- Problems with your heart, liver, or lungs
- Bone or joint problems
- Ill-controlled diabetes
- Being Underweight
One last thing; while it’s not recommended to wakeboard during pregnancy, you can have a piece of the cake and participate in the activity by driving the boat. The baby is well protected inside your belly, and bouncing a little bit on the boat shouldn’t cause any serious damage.
Of course, you need to take that advice with a pinch of salt and consult your doctor before doing anything, as they’re the only one qualified enough to determine in which activities you can engage and which should be avoided.
What Other Sports Should You Avoid While Pregnant?
In short, you should avoid any sport that:
- Could make you fall or experience trauma in your abdomen
- Involves frequent, sudden changes of direction
- Could make your heart rate go higher than usual
- Involves a lot of bouncing and jumping
- Involves diving or high altitudes (which can affect your blood pressure)
Now, to be more specific, here are the main activities that you should avoid while pregnant besides wakeboarding:
- Diving, as hitting the water forcefully can be harmful to your baby.
- Scuba diving, as air bubbles can form in your bloodstream when you surface, which can be harmful to both you and your fetus.
- Waterskiing, as it’s associated with a high risk of falling and an increased chance of trauma to your abdomen. The same goes for kneeboarding and kitesurfing.
- Any exercise that involves lying on your back after the sixteenth week of pregnancy. Such workouts can put too much pressure on a major blood vessel (the vena cava, for example) and therefore affect your circulation as well as that of the baby.
- Heavy weight training, which involves intense muscle contractions that can put too much stress on the cardiovascular system.
- Any contact or collision sport, such as football, rugby, hockey, volleyball, boxing, judo, etc. These sports can result in trauma in your abdomen area.
- Gymnastics, as they’re associated with a high risk of falling.
What Should You Practice Instead?
Of course, not all activities are to avoid during pregnancy. In fact, exercise can be greatly beneficial for both the mother and the fetus. So, if you’d like to stay fit and strong even without your wakeboard, here are some exercises that you can practice on a regular basis without putting your baby’s health at risk:
Walking is the safest activity you can practice. Not only is it easier on the knees than other sports, but it’s also effortless to integrate into any schedule. Just make sure to wear good shoes to minimize the risk of falling, and you’ll be able to practice walking as safe as possible.
Cycling is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that improves leg muscle strength. Pregnant women ought to practice stationary cycling as maintaining their balance on a bike can prove to be a challenge during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester.
Kegel exercises are more often than not praised by pregnant women as a way to make labor and delivery easier by strengthening these muscles. Furthermore, Kegel exercises are recommended after pregnancy as a way to strengthen pelvic floor muscles, which loosen up during pregnancy, regain bladder control, and promote perineal healing.
Swimming and Other Water Sports
Swimming is the go-to exercise for many pregnant women, and for good reason. Many healthcare professionals swear by the effectiveness and safety offered by this sport, which is why it’s often regarded as the safest activity for pregnant women, even safer than walking.
Even though swimming does increase the heart rate and works almost all the muscles in the body, it doesn’t include overheating, which is why it’s praised by doctors and healthcare professionals.
Other gentle water sports, such as water aerobics and water walking, are pretty safe and can be practiced during pregnancy. These activities are especially recommended for women who experience back pain and leg swelling during pregnancy. Just remember to avoid very hot water and hot environments while practicing these sports. To be on the safe side, avoid hot tubs, saunas, steam rooms, as well as hot yoga classes.
Basically, you can practice any sport that:
- Supports your weight, such as swimming, as long as the water isn’t too hot
- Doesn’t include frequent and sudden changes in direction
- Allows you to exercise at moderate or low intensity
- Is designed specifically for pregnant women
- Isn’t correlated with a high chance of falling
- Isn’t a contact or collision sport
No matter which sport you pick, remember to avoid tight clothes and to wear a sports bra for optimal support.
That said, there are some instances in which you should stop exercising and go see your doctor immediately while pregnant, which are:
- Decreased fetal movement
- Having chest pain
- Unusual shortness of breath
- An abnormal increase in heart rate
- Having contractions
- Swelling in your face, hands, ankles, or calves
- Dizziness or fainting
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leaking fluid from your vagina
Sure, the aforementioned exercises aren’t as exciting as wakeboarding, but they can make for a healthy and safe alternative while your baby is growing.
Conclusion: Is Wakeboarding While Pregnant Safe?
Pregnancy requires several changes in one’s lifestyle, which include quitting some activities that may put your baby’s life and well-being at risk. Unfortunately, wakeboarding isn’t totally safe, regardless of your level of expertise. Luckily though, there are many alternative water sports that you can practice while pregnant, such as swimming and aqua natal exercise classes.
- My own experience and knowledge!