Originally published @ kirkscubagear’s Scuba Scoop 10 July 2012
Many women wonder if it is safe to go scuba diving when they are pregnant. The short answer is that women should not go scuba diving when pregnant. There are some serious concerns about scuba diving, pregnant women and harm to the baby. It is important that if you are pregnant, you learn why it is dangerous and why you should avoid doing it while pregnant.
Any doctor that you speak to will tell you that scuba diving when pregnant is not advised. The main reason for this recommendation is that scuba diving can cut off the blood supply to the baby. Blood going to the baby may contain harmful nitrogen bubbles, too. These are not the only reasons for scuba diving pregnant women to be worried.
Another major concern about scuba diving while pregnant is the possibility of decompression illness. This can strike anyone and the way to treat it is with high levels of oxygen and medications. The treatment for decompression illness can harm the baby and may cause a miscarriage.
Scuba diving pregnant women have been studied. These women often have babies that suffer birth defects, including heart problems. In some cases miscarriage occurs. The possible risks simply make it unreasonable to scuba dive while pregnant.
While pregnant women should not scuba dive, there has been evidence that it is perfectly safe to dive during the first two to four weeks of pregnancy. During this time many women do not even know they are pregnant yet, so if you happened to go scuba diving during the very early stages of pregnancy then you can rest easy knowing that your baby is probably not in any harm.
The reason why the baby is not affected during early pregnancy is due to the fact the risks of scuba diving while pregnant are mainly related to the blood exchange between mother and baby. During the early pregnancy stage, the baby and mother are not sharing blood like they do in later pregnancy.
It is also important to know that there is no solid evidence that diving while pregnant poses any risk to the baby. Studies that have been done have not been able to offer solid proof. However, the recommendation of not scuba diving while pregnant is a precaution that most women would rather follow than ignore and take the risk of harming their baby.
Scuba diving pregnant women should always be careful. If you choose not to follow your doctor’s recommendation to not scuba dive then you should at least know what the risks are. Staying active during pregnancy is always recommended, but most doctors will tell you not to risk the safety and health of your baby during any physical activity, especially scuba diving. Ultimately, each woman can make her own decision about whether to dive or not, but it should be a decision made carefully.