Bodyboarding: should pregnant women catch waves? | Photo: Shutterstock

Many female bodyboarders have asked themselves the question. Is it 100 percent safe to ride a bodyboard when pregnant? The safest answer is "no, it isn't," but for those who can't stand watching others catch waves, here's a responsible approach.

It is one of the most controversial issues in wave sports. For many women, it is a special feeling and a blessing. For others, it is a miscalculated move. Whatever you decide, please consult with your doctor first.

When you're riding waves on a bodyboard, your belly is in contact with the board's deck. That is why, quite often, bodyboards are mistakenly named "bellyboards." Therefore, a woman who is expecting a baby should take some precautions.

Doctors advise pregnant women not to participate in contact and high impact sports, especially skiing, horse riding, and extreme sports in general, but also racquet sports, cycling, martial arts, and diving. Swimming is a recommended physical activity, but what about bodyboarding?

We've seen pregnant surfers catching waves, and standing up on a surfboard, and we've seen boogie riders having fun on the small surf, but what are the dangers? Is it too uncomfortable? Are they taking too many risks?

"When in doubt, do without." Is it an extremely conservative advice? Yes, it is. Laying on the belly is, for obvious reasons, never a good idea for someone who is expecting a child.

Some doctors will say it is safe because babies are well protected; others will tell you simply shouldn't do it because it ignites internal bleeding. In the end, it's up to you to decide what feels right for you and your baby.

At week 12, the uterus begins to migrate from the bottom of the pelvis to a front-and-center position in the abdomen, so bodyboarding should definitely be out of your plans when you conclude the first trimester of pregnancy.

You will always find bodyboarder girls who go through the whole pregnancy with a board under their belly, but good sense tells us to be more rational than emotional. And in a case of twins or multiple pregnancies, the danger level increases.

For many, bodyboarding while pregnant is not worth the risk. For those who feel comfortable with a small summer surf on a bodyboard, try to leave the belly off the board as much as possible, and use your forearms to relieve stomach pressure. Alternatively, try bodysurfing or riding a handplane.

Finally, remember that there might be more surfers in the water. Protect yourself and your baby from beginner boards, and other careless water sports enthusiasts.