Pregnancy truly is one of the most beautiful times of a woman’s life. She is creating life, she is the epitome of beauty, and she is doing so much more in a single day than most do in a week in terms of burning calories and nourishing her unborn baby with her own body.
But pregnancy isn’t easy, and it most certainly isn’t a walk in the park. Of all the things you may not be able to do during pregnancy, you may be wondering if skiing is one of the things you should avoid. This may be particularly concerning if you are an avid skier and are looking forward to hitting the slopes.
But the good news is that skiing isn’t entirely off the table when you are pregnant.
Let’s be honest, if you aren’t a skier, you may not try skiing for the first time ever when you are pregnant. After all, you’ve gone your whole life without hitting the slopes, you could probably wait a bit longer and find enjoyment in skiing after you have brought your bundle of joy into the world. With that said, your skill level is extremely important when considering skiing during pregnancy. First and foremost, many people will recommend that if you aren’t experienced or you haven’t skied before, you probably shouldn’t try it for the first time when you’re pregnant.
Concerns While Skiing During Pregnancy
When you are pregnant, it is a certainty that you are going to be seeing a doctor or health care practitioner quite often. Because you are seeing them often, it means that you get to ask them all the pressing questions that your mind might have. It is also the opportunity to ask your doctor or obstetrician/gynecologist about skiing.
There are many reasons why you would need your doctor’s go-ahead before engaging in skiing, or any sport for that matter. The first of which is if you have a high-risk pregnancy, you have been recommended by your doctor to be on bed rest, or you find yourself developing pregnancy-related ailments such as gestational diabetes. These are medical reasons that would prevent you from skiing and whether or not you are an experienced skier, your doctor may strongly advise against you hitting the slopes. This is primarily for your safety and the safety of your unborn baby.
The next reason why you should consult with your doctor first before engaging in skiing during pregnancy is that, during the early stages of pregnancy, your baby is developing rapidly. This is also the stage in which most women experience miscarriages. In those early weeks of pregnancy, you and your baby are doing the absolute most to make sure that it is a healthy one. For that reason, your doctor may advise against skiing during the first eight to twelve weeks of pregnancy, often referred to as the first trimester.
During pregnancy, you are more likely to experience a strained muscle or lose sight and focus of the task at hand because of that one little thing that seems to own your body… hormones. During pregnancy, hormones are preparing your body to not only grow and nurture your little one but also to prepare for the big day when your baby will ultimately be born. In so doing, you may find that your muscles are more easily injured during pregnancy which can obviously place direct physical strain on you and indirect strain on your baby because of stress and pain. Additionally, you may also not be as mentally sharp as you usually are. Even if you are a seasoned skier, it requires fast thinking and quick reactions, which you may not always be able to do when you are fighting the fog that comes with pregnancy brain.
Another concern that you may not readily consider especially because skiing is a sport done in the cold weather and with snow which is, for all intents and purposes, wet, is that pregnant women can experience extreme fatigue and dehydration when they are on the slopes. Contrary to popular belief, dehydration isn’t only reserved for the hot sports that take place in the middle of summer under the scorching sun. Instead, when you’re on the cold slopes, you may not readily identify when you’re thirsty, and the constant heat under your ski gear is almost guaranteed to make you sweat. That’s why fatigue and dehydration are a major concern.
The next concern is probably the most obvious one and that is being bumped or falling over. These are the general concerns that any pregnant woman may have about skiing, but on the bright side, there are ways to mitigate these concerns. If you are a more experienced skier, you are less likely to fall face-first into the snow, but you can also stay on flat planes as opposed to skiing downhill. You could also minimize the risk of someone else bumping into you by opting to ski on days that are quieter or closer to off-season times and quieter areas.
While there are always ways to work around the challenges that you may face on the slopes as someone who is pregnant, it is important to know that doctors generally advise against skiing while you are pregnant. As a mother who is growing her unborn baby within her body, you may also want to do whatever it takes to keep your baby and your entire pregnancy as smooth and as safe as possible.
Tips For Mitigating And Neutralizing “The Threat”
Although skiing during pregnancy isn’t advised or recommended during pregnancy, if you are an avid skier and you already feel like you have been dealt a shorthand with wine, soft cheese, and some fish being out of your grasp because of pregnancy, you may want to figure out how to ski safely.
Despite the challenges mentioned above, there are ways to work around the dangers and make sure that you and your little bundle of joy are kept safe on the slopes.
The first thing you are going to do as mentioned above is talk to your doctor. They will give you a list of do’s and don’ts, and while skiing is generally not recommended during pregnancy, they will advise you on whether or not in your case it should be avoided at all costs, or if you could still enjoy some time on a snow-capped hill. Remember that not all pregnancies are the same. In this case, whether your doctor will give you the go-ahead to ski will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. So, if you and your best friend are pregnant at the same time and you both enjoy the slopes, just because her doctor gives her the thumbs up to ski during pregnancy, doesn’t mean the same automatically goes for you too.
The next thing you can do is actually avoid the slopes. I know it’s hard to say that you’re hitting the slopes when you are on flat ground, but opting for this option minimizes (though it doesn’t entirely remove) the possibility of falling. Because you are on flat ground, your momentum is more controlled, and it also allows you more time to react if need be. It may not be the high-adrenaline mountainside that you were hoping for, but adrenaline is the last thing you need while you’re incubating your unborn baby.
When you’re pregnant, everything seems to be slightly wonky, and you may notice this even more when you’re at a higher altitude. Without delving too much into the biology of the matter, your blood pressure is more sensitive when you are pregnant and high altitude affects your blood pressure too. This can make you feel dizzy or light-headed, and in such cases, it is not a good idea to get out onto the snow. Be patient with yourself and allow yourself the chance to acclimate to the higher altitude before you dive headfirst into the snow – literally and figuratively.
Avoid peak times and seasons so that you minimize the risks of bumping into people. This, coupled with drinking water and allowing yourself some time to rest, will make sure that you stay safe on the slopes.
Most importantly, take it slow. You are not racing against anyone, and I can assure you that just by being pregnant you are already doing more than a lot of the people who are out on the slopes. After all, you’re growing an entire human being. Be patient with yourself and listen to your body. It’s ok to take a break and it’s ok to call it quits, head down the mountain and try again another time. While it may be disappointing at first, you will soon realize that your safety and the safety of your baby is the major priority.
Knowing When To Stop
Now that you have gotten into your skis and you’re in the snow, enjoying yourself and having the time of your life safely, you may not want to tear yourself away from the joy that the slopes bring. The fresh air fills your lungs, you’re feeling fresh and you’re feeling happy. Because you’re enjoying yourself so much, you may not recognize it, or you may ignore the signs that tell you it’s time to pack up, head home, and have some rest.
Maybe you want to prove to yourself or others that you can do it, or maybe it’s your first pregnancy so you don’t know what your limits are, but I assure you that being pregnant and on the snow is something to be extremely proud of already.
If you are unsure of when your body is telling you that it’s had enough, here are a few things that you can look out for, and some signs that your body may give you to tell you that it is time to head home:
- If you begin seeing double, getting dizzy, or feeling like you’re going to pass out.
- If you can’t seem to maintain your balance on the skis. Remember that when you’re pregnant, your center of gravity changes. This makes walking on flat surfaces in comfy shoes tricky sometimes. If you find it hard to find and maintain your balance, it may be time to call it quits – at least for the time being.
- If you are feeling extremely hot, sweaty, and thirsty, a break may be in order because you could be at risk of getting dehydrated.
- If you find yourself experiencing any pain that seems to be concerning to you.
- If you just have a gut feeling that you shouldn’t be on the slopes on that particular day or at all, you need to call it quits. Don’t doubt your gut feeling and the maternal instincts you are developing.
Why Ski During Pregnancy?
Well, it cannot be stressed enough but staying fit during pregnancy is really important. Just because you are growing a human doesn’t mean you should sit on the sofa all day eating junk. In fact, the opposite is true. Exercise during pregnancy is great not only when the time to bear down and push comes, but it is also great for enhancing your mood, which is quite frankly needed when you are growing exponentially at quite a rapid pace. It is also great for your energy, giving you a better sleep at night, and making sure that your overall strength and fitness remain consistent.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you should hit the gym hard and pump weights when you never exercised before. But if you are an avid skier, hitting the snow is a great way to get in a mild to moderate workout during pregnancy.
Although skiing isn’t at the top of the list of activities you should pursue when pregnant, it is certainly one that you can do with the proper care and the correct considerations made. After all, you are amazing and you can do anything you set your mind to, including growing a human being!
Talk to your doctor about what activities they recommend for staying active while pregnant, and make sure that safety gear such as helmets and knee pads are always worn when hitting the slopes. With proper planning and preparation, getting out on the snow can be an enjoyable experience even if you’re expecting!