woman swimming

For most pregnant women, spending time on the open water is a safe activity, but preventing injury and reducing dangers associated with recreational water activities is important for everyone involved. Whether boating on the open waters or swimming in a public or private pool, take a few precautions to improve safety.

Boating While Pregnant
A calm ride on the open water is generally considered safe for pregnant women. You can reduce the risk of injury by wearing a lifejacket that does not restrict your growing belly. Stay seated at all times when the boat is moving and ask for help walking around the boat or hold on to railings when possible to reduce the risk of slip and fall injury.

Water reflects sunlight making sunscreen extremely important on the open water. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before boarding and reapply every 60 to 80 minutes while onboard and after swimming. If you are currently experiencing bouts of morning sickness, it may be best to skip the boat ride if you are prone to seasickness. While you are no more likely to feel seasick when pregnant than when you are not pregnant, movement of the water may increase feelings of nausea if you are already experiencing morning sickness.

Personal Water Craft and Pregnancy
It is best to avoid personal watercraft during pregnancy. Some personal watercraft, like jet skis, move at high speeds and pose a serious risk to pregnancy. Fast moving watercraft can cause a strong impact with the water if you fall when the personal watercraft is in motion. Contact with the water can lead to serious pregnancy or fetal complications, including premature delivery or fetal death. Other water activities to avoid while pregnant include water skiing, white water rafting, and parasailing.

Dehydration and Heat Stroke

Staying in the sun for long periods can lead to severe dehydration and heat-related illness. Try to find a shady spot on the boat when possible to keep your body temperature within normal limits. Drink plenty of water and eat meals and snacks as usual. If you are feeling dizzy, faint, overheated or dehydrated, get out of the sun as soon as possible.

Boating and some other recreational water activities are safe for many pregnant women, but you should always consult your physician before heading out on the water. No matter how safe it appears, personal watercraft and activities like water skiing should be reserved for the non-pregnant guests.