The short answer is: Yes, you can snorkel when you’re pregnant. However, there are a couple of things to understand, together with a few tips. Let’s tell you all about them.
Before We Start
If you’re pregnant and you want to travel, always check with your doctor first. There could be reasons why you shouldn’t take a flight, or why you should avoid certain sport activities. Generally speaking, snorkeling is fine. Here’s a website that could get you started for now. However, make sure to require a consultation with your doctor as he or she knows you and your history.
Most pregnant women are allowed to snorkel – just make sure you’re not an exception.
Snorkeling And Pregnancy Trimesters
Now that you checked with your doctor, and let’s say you’ve been given a green light, it’s time to understand the details.
Pregnant moms will already know how their pregnancy is divided into 3 trimesters. In order to explain snorkel tips down to a T, the trimester could play an important role. The first trimester lasts from week 1 till the end of week 12, the second one lasts from week 13 till the end of week 26, and the third trimester lasts from week 27 until the end.
During the first trimester, a mother often experiences tiredness. It’s also the most crucial phase for a baby’s development. In the second trimester this fatigue often decreases or even disappears completely. Unfortunately, in the third trimester, women often experience tiredness again, being short of breath, and sometimes even can’t sleep very well.
In other words, just from a trimester point of view, you could say that going on a snorkel trip would be most attractive in the second trimester. Off course, you can also go snorkeling in the first and third trimester if your doctor allows you to, just keep in mind there’s a chance of becoming tired quickly.
Should Pregnant Women Go On A Plane?
Another thing to take into consideration, depending on the location you would like to visit, is whether you’re allowed to go on a plane.
Generally, it is not advised to take a flight after 36 weeks of pregnancy. Make sure to check with your doctor. Many airline companies don’t allow women to board after 35 weeks of pregnancy, unless your doctor thinks otherwise. Going on an airplane within the last 6 weeks of pregnancy could even result in premature labour. In other words, don’t fly after 36 weeks.
So, if you plan to go snorkeling somewhere far away, any place that requires an airplane to get you there, try to do so within the first 36 weeks of pregnancy. Add the fact that the first trimester could be tiring, including morning sickness, somewhere between week 13 and week 36 would be best for airplane adventures.
Tip: If you prefer to travel with only carry-on luggage, feel free to read our article about bringing snorkel gear on a plane.
Alright, Let’s Snorkel!
If you made it this far, chances are that you will go out and enjoy yourself on a lovely snorkel holiday. We’re so happy for you! Still, there are a lot of tips we would like to provide in order to make your pregnant snorkel adventure the best possible experience. And, off course, always keeping “baby first” in mind.
Don’t Hold Your Breath
Depending on your snorkel skills and experience, it’s a big advantage if you’re used to breathing through a snorkel. If you’re not, please don’t go snorkeling, or learn how to use a snorkel before heading to the ocean. Pregnant women should never hold their breath! This can harm your child as it needs a continuous oxygen supply. You can read more about pregnancy and the risks of oxygen levels here.
However, did you know that swimming is one of the safest activities during pregnancy? It’s one of the exercises a pregnant woman can continue until the day of giving birth, unless your doctors tells you otherwise. Read all necessary information on this website about the benefits of swimming during pregnancy.
Because of the ongoing debate about full face snorkel masks, I’d say simply avoid them during pregnancy. Some of them carry the risk of CO2 build-up.
It’s so tempting to book a holiday to a sunny coconut island with the prettiest beaches you’ve ever seen. And yes, I like that too! The reefs in Key West for example, the beautiful beaches in Key Largo, the white sand in adorable Hanauma Bay, the pretty islands of Punta Cana, the fascinating nature of Kauai, what’s not to like. In most cases, the climate will be sunny, warm, or sometimes even hot.
When you’re out in the ocean, exploring the marine life, the water will cool down your skin. However, your skin temperature is not an indication of your overall body temperature. Your inner temperature could be much higher than you may think. If you snorkel in the rain, that could give a “cooling down” sensation as well.
A pregnant woman’s core body temperature is slightly higher than the average. Due to the increased blood flow, body temperatures may be around 100°F, as explained in this article. However, if body temperatures increase to 102°F for more than 10 minutes, there’s a risk of neural tube defects, miscarriage, or dehydration in the mother. You can read more about this subject on this website, where they explain everything about pregnancy precautions.
So, what can you do to avoid overheating?
Water is not only necessary to keep you hydrated, it also regulates your body temperature. Just like we explained in our snorkel guide for kids, it’s important to drink enough water for pregnant women too. So how much water is ideal? Ask your doctor for the best possible answer. We found out from this website, that under normal circumstances, 8-10 glasses of water per day is something to aim for. However, ask your doctor if on a sunny holiday this amount is the same.
Stay In The Shadow
Sounds boring, right? You fly all the way to that tropical snorkel paradise, and what do you do? Sit in the shadow. Not exactly how you imagined it. However, if I may say so, for me personally the shadow is what I prefer the most. It doesn’t change my view and it definitely doesn’t change my mood. Sitting in the hot sun, for me, isn’t a whole lot of fun when it’s too hot. Maybe you would have tried to find a shadow as well if you weren’t pregnant?
Take A Break
If you go out snorkeling, one thing you can do is to take a break regularly. Shorten your snorkel time and find a spot to cool you down. The ocean may give you a cold feeling, but like I mentioned earlier, that’s just a feeling. You could be way hotter inside. So, make sure to not stay in the sunny ocean too long.
Use Mineral Sunscreen
According to Women’s Health Magazine, pregnant women should use mineral sunscreen when staying in the sun. You can read the entire article here if you’re interested. Aim for a sunscreen based on titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. CeraVe 100% Mineral Sunscreen (Amazon link) would be a great option, especially for a sensitive skin. You could also go for a spray, if you prefer that, like the Sun Bum Mineral Sun Care (Amazon link) for example.
This may sound obvious, but it’s something to take very serious. A few tips can be of help.
Enter The Water From A Sandy Location If Possible
Make sure to be careful whenever you enter the water. Big rocks and some other underwater objects may be noticeable, but smaller or translucent things may still be there. If you have the option to go snorkeling from a sandy beach, try to use that. Be careful and take small, genie steps. A piece of glass can be anywhere, so try to avoid that by being careful.
Wear Water Shoes
A quality pair will cost you around 25 bucks, but in my opinion they’re worth the purchase. Get one with a rubber sole as this provides an extra layer of protection. If you’re unfamiliar with water shoes, and if you don’t have any, check out my article about water shoes for snorkeling.
Consider A Snorkel Vest Or Rash Guard
The main reason to maybe get one, is to cover your stomach and back. Sometimes fish can be curious about humans and swim straight towards them. By wearing a snorkel vest, you create an additional layer of protection against any unpleasant feelings or bites from the marine life. Also, it provides some floating assistance, which could be great if you’re feeling tired. Saving up your energy for a second round of snorkeling won’t harm anyone. There are a lot of snorkel vests to consider, however, this is one of my favorites (link to Amazon).
Snorkel rash guards could help you out as well. They are thinner than the vests, however, they often cover your entire body. This protects you from sunburns and stings. Just make sure they don’t increase your overall body temperature (ask your local shop)!
Save Your Energy
This may be more appropriate for the first and third trimester of pregnancy, however, some women can feel a little tired throughout the second trimester as well. So, any tips on saving your energy? Off course!
Fins assist you in swimming. They allow for a faster movement and make snorkeling a whole lot easier. Besides that, they are also a great energy saver. You don’t have to buy the most expensive ones, and who knows you already maybe own a pair. If you don’t maybe the open heel swimming flippers are exactly what you need. They are meant to be used in combination with water shoes. Read everything you need to know in our snorkel fins review.
Research The Currents
Understanding the currents, and knowing in which direction they will take you, can be of help to save up some energy. Swimming agains any current requires a lot of energy. However, if you know which way the current will take you, you can simply go with the flow and quit whenever you’re done. Stay close to the beach, decide where to get out of the water, and simply head back to your resting place. A short walk requires less energy than maintaining your snorkel position for a longer period of time.
Try To Float
We already talked about the snorkel vest, and how it can assist you in saving up some energy. However, if you don’t want to wear one of those, consider something else to hold on to. Anything that’s inflatable will do, like this floating mattress (Amazon link) for example. Or maybe this inflatable hammock (Amazon link) is exactly what you need. Just do some research and you’ll be fine.
Eat And Drink Properly
I guess pregnant women already take good care of this. So yes, make sure to maintain a healthy lifestyle, eat whatever your doctor advises, and drink enough water like we mentioned earlier. A good diet will contribute to better energy levels. Don’t skip breakfast, take some food with you if you need, or who knows you’ve been advised to use some prenatal vitamins. Whatever it is, take good care of yourself.
Go For A Walk
Taking a walk can set your mind free, and it’s a good distraction from wanting to snorkel. Try to find a place that offers a lot of shade, like in the woods for example. Bring some water to drink and enjoy the fact that you’re pregnant. Snorkeling can wait, there will be plenty of opportunities in the future. For now however, the child comes first.
Some General Tips
Stop Snorkeling When Feeling Any Discomfort
Every day is different, and pregnancy can be a rollercoaster. If you don’t feel like snorkeling, simply skip it for the day. If you’re already in the water, and if you start to feel dizzy or sick, just quit for the time being. Take a break, chil for a while, and wait for new possibilities.
Again, an obvious statement to make, but relaxation during pregnancy can work extremely therapeutic. And guess what, exploring the marine life can have a very relaxing impact on our brains. So yes, grab that snorkel gear and go for it, maybe not too long, but make sure you enjoy it! Being happy is so important!
Check For A Place To Have A Break
Out on the ocean, there’s probably not a whole lot of places to relax. Maybe a few reefs, but apart from that it’s important to think about emergencies. Let’s say you’re snorkeling, and you suddenly don’t feel that well, can you get out of the water quickly? Is there someone to help you? Is there any water or medication? A long story short, just stay close to the beach, don’t swim out too far, and never neglect your feelings.
Never Snorkel Alone
Yes, this is one of the basic snorkel rules we should all be aware of, pregnant or not. However, make sure you don’t make any exceptions. If you travel with your partner, make sure to stay together all the time. If you travel alone, find someone to stay close to. Someone who keeps an eye on you, someone who’s able to help in case of emergencies, or who knows there’s a big group of snorkelers that you can join.
Stay Away From Jellyfish
They’re not always in direct sight, but they could be near you without taking notice. So, before heading to any snorkel destination, make sure to check if you could be entering their habitat. It’s best to not visit them, but you never know if just a few are around. Jellyfish tentacles can sting you, and chances are bigger in the “jellyfish season”. So make sure you do some research. Here’s an article that explains it in more detail.
Bring A First Aid Kit
You never know what can happen, right? Off course, if you prepare wisely and if you pay attention to whatever you’re doing, you minimize the risk of getting hurt. But let’s say you do, maybe there’s a rock you didn’t notice, you’ll be happy you brought a first aid kit. Even if you have limited room in your backpack, there’s always a tiny version available, like with this set (Amazon link).
Use A Dive Flag
You’re right, they’re not really attractive to wear, or to take with you. But in case you absolutely need to snorkel in an unprotected area, this could save your life. And therefore, the life of your kid as well. A red and white dive flag (Amazon link) usually grabs the attention of many, especially in a blue ocean. Lifeguards are trained to keep an eye on them, if they are around, but other people will notice them too. Letting people know about your location is never a bad thing to do. The more attention you’re able to get, in case of an emergency it can be of big help.
Pay Attention To Warning Signs
Even though we should all do this at any given time, pregnant or not, make sure to be aware. Sometimes, in certain locations, lifeguards will inform snorkelers about possible (daily) dangers. Like for example, maybe on a specific day, there seem to be more sea urchins than usual. Or maybe the jellyfish just opened their season. Whatever it is they warn you about, make sure to take it serious.
Can Pregnant Women Float?
Yes, pregnant women can float. Pregnancy can have an impact on a woman’s back and torso, causing pain and discomfort. Floating can help to treat this kind of pain, even if it’s just temporarily.
Throughout the second trimeter, and in the third trimester, floating can assist women during their pregnancy the most. Especially when it comes to providing some relaxation and comfort. Always make sure to ask your doctor for permission.
My Personal Story (Take Pictures!)
Ok, this is just a personal note, not based on any research. So feel free to skip this section if you’ve already found the information you were looking for.
For me as a blogger, it can be nice to sometimes share my own experience. Me and my wife are pretty busy people, and we have a daughter that requires attention too. So, whenever I am at my computer, I often think about my own experiences. Sharing a personal story can sometimes help out others, even though you never met them in real life.
When my wife was pregnant of our daughter, our first and only child, we didn’t think about snorkeling that much. We were just so happy that it finally worked out. It wasn’t much later, after all the celebration, that we started to think about our personal life and our passion for traveling.
When summertime came around, we thought it would be nice to at least travel somewhere. Usually, we bring our snorkel gear, and we always try to find a destination that allows for some underwater exploration. We live in the Netherlands, and we decided to travel to Spain. We’ve been there pretty often, it feels like a second home to us, and it’s just a 2,5 hour flight.
At that time, my wife was at the end of her second trimester of pregnancy. We both asked permission from work to leave a little early for our summer break. We booked one of our favorite hotels, right next to the beach, and we researched everything we could about pregnancy and holidays. Off course, we talked to our doctor just to be sure.
Luckily, my wife felt quite well during the entire trip. She took a few naps here and there, which allowed me to snorkel all I wanted. But we did a lot of snorkeling together as well.
Looking back, we had a lovely time. I wouldn’t want to miss all the memories. And that’s why I’m taking a moment to tell you about photography. I’m not a professional photographer. Many of my pictures, of which some are included on this website, are everything but professional. But the pictures from that trip, the pregnancy memories, are one of my favorites. It’s so much fun for my daughter as well, knowing it was her inside that belly.
So, in other words, if you travel whilst being pregnant, make sure to take a lot of pictures. My guide for snorkeling with a GoPro is packed with lots of tips and tricks.