Doing exercises during pregnancy is perfect for your health and the growing baby. Activities such as skiing have significant benefits such as better sleep, easing back pain, happier moods, emotional stability, and increased strength. Strengthening your muscles and joints can also aid your body handle the extra weight of a baby. If you want to ski during gestation, talk to your doctor or midwife. Come up with a plan that makes you both comfortable.
Skiing Safely When Pregnant
Theirs is no exact rule on skiing when pregnant, so as long as you feel comfortable with it, you can use a chairlift when you’re pregnant. However, the NHS does recommend taking caution – especially if you’re skiing in 1st trimester when the baby is developing. The main risk is falling when pregnant or someone skis into you; if you have skied before it’s easier to take precautions, but if you’ve never skied, this isn’t the time to start.
It’s because in this period your baby is still forming. Many critical developmental milestones are occurring at this time. Its also the time when miscarriages are most common, and hence, expectant mothers should be more careful during this period. Even if you are an avid skier, it’s good to alert and listen to your body in case of any health symptoms. Ensure you remember to weigh the risks and your abilities before making a decision.
The reason why experts recommend skiing up to the 13th week of gestation, the womb emerges from the protective layer of the pelvis, making trauma from falls and sudden impacts much more possible. Therefore, skiing in the 1st half of the pregnancy is much safer than later when the belly protrudes more.
If you have been skiing and your doctor recommends you can consider the following tips as you ski:
- Practice early in the morning or evening when there are fewer people; it’s easier to slow down at this moment and also have more space.
- Give yourself more time to acclimatize to the high altitude.
- Keep warm by layering right and stay hydrated.
- Always ensure you are comfortable when skiing.
- Ensure you keep balance, as pregnancy changes your center of gravity and interferes with balance
- Get comfortable skiing boots that will keep your feet planted even for simple maneuvres
- Skiing in the cold mountain air helps you a lot with morning sickness.
- Avoid exhaustion; use little energy to ski and be cautious to avoid bumps.
- Ski when the conditions are right, not when the snow is icy, slushy, or heavy
- Be careful and take breaks often; please be conscious of your body, ensure that you are giving yourself ample time to relax and recuperate.
- Avoid skiing if your pregnancy is a high risk, like having previous miscarriages, blood pressure, bleeding, or other health issues.
- Avoid speeding; there’s no need to speed down the slope and increase the risk of you hurting yourself. Short cross country skiing sessions can be better than a short dash down a slope as long as you don’t overexert yourself
According to the American Pregnancy Association, it’s risky to ski while pregnant, and they do not recommend it, among other activities. Risk factors exist on slopes beyond the control, even for best skiers, and in case of a fall or collision, it can be severe on the mother and the baby. Skiing involves speed, momentum, slippery surfaces, lift towers, trails, and objects like trees.
Falling Can Have Domino Effects
Specific dangers from falls can lead to placental abruption, premature contractions, and even miscarriage after skiing. Balance also tends to be an issue, especially as the belly grows, which increases the possibility of falling. Again, your tendons and ligaments may be affected by the increase in hormones during your pregnancy. These parts can become much looser due to a relaxin hormone, making it more challenging to control while skiing.
Additionally, the sheer force is still an issue as you ski while pregnant. Under shear force, the outside of the body stops moving before the internal organs do, causing separation of the uterus and the placenta. The results lead to a miscarriage. Speed can be a factor leading to shear and the rate at which you decelerate effects. On the mountains, shear force doesn’t require a fall or crash, but stopping short can create significant impact causing harm.
There is also less oxygen at high heights, which can impact the amount of oxygen the baby receives. The insufficient oxygen at high altitudes puts stress on your organs and, by extension, your baby. The change in height due to the hormones can leave you feeling nauseous. The altitude illness can cause vomiting and loss of appetite, and the baby may not get the required nutrients.
Whether or not you should use a chairlift during your gestation depends mainly on how far along you are in the pregnancy. Skiing can be relatively safe for some mothers; however, there are many risks to consider before getting on the chair lift. As per my opinion, it’s unsafe to ski while pregnant whether you are an expert or just starting. There are still better and safe exercises that you can carry out and remain healthy during pregnancy.