How To Safely Ski During Pregnancy

Skiing and snowboarding have quickly become one of the most controversial activities to engage in while pregnant.

So the real question is,

“Can I ski when I’m pregnant?”

Regardless of who you ask, they’re sure to have some serious opinions on the topic.  I, personally think that for me skiing pregnant is just fine, as are many other activities, as long as you’re smart and safe about it.  Remember, we’re advocating for an “I CAN” attitude around here.  

27 weeks pregnant

Let’s start off by talking about exercising while pregnant.

If you were physically active before your pregnancy, unless you’re having complications, it’s generally considered SAFE to exercise while pregnant.  Obviously, pregnancy IS NOT the time to try and break any records for speed or weight, but it’s been proven that women who exercise during pregnancy are generally healthier and have easier pregnancies.  Typically exercises for pregnancy are lower impact and have a lower intensity, so things like biking and swimming are ideal exercises.

Should I do extreme sports while pregnant

Pregnancy is a time to do all things in moderation, and yes this includes skiing.  If it has the word extreme added to the title, it’s only 9 months that you have to wait to do it, so it’s probably just worth waiting.  Is skiing considered an extreme sport?  It all depends on how you ski!

What do doctors say about skiing pregnant

I’ve had at least 10 different doctors throughout the course of my 4 pregnancies and I’ve talked about skiing pregnant with nearly all of them.  When I asked them if it was okay if I skied pregnant, the immediate reaction from all of them is that it wasn’t a good idea.  However, once I talked to them more about my fitness level, the fact that I’m an advanced skier, and that I’m planning on taking it easy in uncrowded places, almost all of them said it was probably fine as long as I was careful and listened to my body.  This includes sitting out a run when I’m feeling achy or sore, skiing slower than I normally do, and if you get nausea or vertigo while pregnant, you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing these.  

My experience skiing pregnant

While I was pregnant with #1, I was determined not to let my body be slowed down by pregnancy.

However, the fact is that a pregnant body just doesn’t perform quite like it did a few months ago.  I was discouraged and hard on myself and wasn’t sure I would EVER be up to my normal level (thank you crazy pregnancy emotions).  Of course, my body returned to normal after my son was born and so did my skiing skills.  PHEW!

With my subsequent pregnancies, I’ve learned to set realistic expectations for myself.  I don’t ski pregnant to set any records, or prove anything to anyone.  I ski pregnant because I simply LOVE TO SKI!

I’m now almost 32 weeks pregnant with baby #4 and was out on this hill just a few days ago (and am planning on more days to come).  Yes, I’ve slowed down.  A lot of that has come with the fact that there are 3 kids and only 2 of us parents, so naturally someone has to go with the slower kids ๐Ÿ™‚  However, a bigger part of that has come from knowing my body, my limits, and what I’m personally comfortable with.

I avoid crowds like the plague, and the sound of  snowboarders scraping down the hill in a desperate attempt to stop scares me to death.  I either ski on easy runs with my kids at the corners of the resort where most people avoid, or I ski wide-open black runs where I feel like I can trust the skills of the skiers around me more.  I don’t ski steep tree runs or moguls pregnant (as much as I’d love to) simply because my reaction time isn’t fast enough so I don’t feel very safe with those ๐Ÿ™‚

Preparing your body to ski pregnant

During pregnancy, the changes that happen in your body can make even the most normal activities seem uncomfortable.  If you’re planning on skiing pregnant, it’s important that you have a pretty high level of fitness generally.  Squats and lunges are great for getting your legs used to the extra weight you are carrying around and side reaches and bends are great for helping to engage those outer abdominal muscles and get them warmed up.

Skiing with my oldest at 30 weeks

What you need to know if you want to ski during pregnancy

While your pregnant, your baby is kept protected by a cushion of amniotic fluid.  While your skiing, your stance is also fairly balanced which doesn’t cause any unnecessary pressure or strain on your abdomen.

Why all the fuss?  If you fall hard skiing, it’s easy to quickly get injured, putting your baby at risk.  Is it risky, absolutely!  But truthfully, there are plenty of everyday activities that are also very risky.  Ultimately, it’s all about knowing yourself, your skills, and what your body is capable of.

Here are some tips and guidelines that I suggest to that will help you decide if and how you should ski while pregnant:

  • First off, evaluate your skills.  If you’re a beginning skier, skiing pregnant is probably not a good idea.  If you’re an advanced intermediate or expert, your skills are likely high enough so you can ski safely.
  • Decide how hard you’re comfortable skiing.  While it may not be a great idea to go all-out-crazy, that doesn’t mean that you need to ski like a whimp either.  Set your limits before you hit the slopes so you know what you’re comfortable with before your fit non-pregnant ex-ski racing friends ask you to go for a run.
  • Acclimate to the altitude.  When you’re pregnant, altitude can have a much bigger effect on your body.  Altitude and pregnancy can be difficult to deal with.  Make sure you’re acclimatized if you don’t live in the mountains, so you can make sure you’re feeling your best when you hit the slopes (hydration is especially important!)
  • Avoid skiing in crowded places while pregnant.  Although you can help prevent yourself from falling you have no impact on other skiers around you and their crashes, so just avoid them.  If you can, avoid skiing on weekends or holidays to avoid the crowds or consider a smaller less crowded ski resort.
  • Slow down a bit.  Skiing pregnant isn’t a race or competition.  The fact that you’re out there at all speaks volumes about how awesome you are ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Be confident.  If you’re constantly on edge or nervous, it’s going to be reflected in how well you ski, so really just be confident and trust yourself.   If you ski while pregnant, ski with confidence and awareness.
  • Know your body.  Remember that no one else can know exactly what you’re feeling or how hard you can really push things but you.  I generally follow the rule that if it feels good, I keep doing it – if things are uncomfortable or hurt (or my gut just says I shouldn’t) I stop.
  • Know when to stop.  Most people are comfortable skiing in their first trimester.  I’ve been quite comfortable skiing in the second trimester, with a few days here and there skiing in the third trimester.
A perfect day, just me and my kids (4 and 2), 25 weeks with #3

Do you have any tips that have helped you have an adventurous pregnancy? 

Obviously, I’m not a doctor, so all of this information is just my own opinion.  Consult your doctor and use your own best judgement in deciding what physical activities to do while pregnant.

This post originally appeared on Bring The Kids

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