Can Women Dive While Pregnant?
While we understand that the majority of our blog audience is in fact male, we do have some avid female followers who are dive enthusiasts. If you are either a female dive enthusiast who is wondering about the effects of diving while pregnant, or you are someone whose dive buddy/partner is looking to become or has become pregnant recently, you may want to know if it is still safe to dip into the water during the pregnancy period.
The short answer is no- don’t take the plunge until after your pregnancy is over.
That being said, to date there is no solid evidence that suggests that it is unsafe for a woman to dive while pregnant. Due to ethical reasons, there has been very little research performed on the effects of human women diving while pregnant. This means that while there is little evidence to suggest that it is in fact dangerous to dive, there is also no evidence suggesting that it is completely safe to dive while carrying your child.
According to Sport Diver, “the primary concern is the theoretical risk of decompression illness (DCI) to the unborn baby. Since fetal blood circulation bypasses the lungs, any inert gas bubbles that have formed during scuba cannot be filtered out. And the increase in deposited fat during pregnancy and use of constricting dive gear on an expanding midsection and swollen hands and feet can adversely affect inert gas intake and elimination, suggesting an increased risk of DCI for the pregnant diver.”
Another report by H. Held and N. Pollock explains that “anyone who inadvertently dives while pregnant, however, may take solace in the anecdotal evidence from women reporting repeated diving during pregnancy without complication.” They explain that while there has not been any major evidence suggesting that diving will cause fatal damage, it can increase risks to your fetus that would otherwise not be experienced when not diving.
So, with the differing opinions and no concrete evidence what do you do? “The recommendation put forth by Divers Alert Network (DAN), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and all U.S. dive-training organizations is that the prudent course of action is for pregnant women to defer scuba until after the child is born,” (Sport Diver).
It seems as though we may not ever know the true effects of diving while pregnant so why risk it? Luckily for those dive enthusiast who just can’t keep out of the water, there are tools like Deep Trekker mini-ROVs that can be used to explore the depths during those 9-10 months of carrying your child.