Yes, you can skydive while pregnant if you are a licensed skydiver, because you must have considered the risks, and must have made an informed choice to jump. But if you are a first-time tandem skydiver, you will be asked to refrain from skydiving while pregnant because of the considerable liabilities for all involved.
The USPA does not give medical advice, and it is definitely not recommending that pregnant women skydive. Every pregnancy is different, and each woman has to decide for herself whether she wants to continue jumping for part or all of the nine months.
But if your doctor tells you that your pregnancy is high – risk and that you should avoid your usual activities, you probably shouldn’t jump. In addition, if you feel uncomfortable taking the risks inherent in skydiving, then you should ground yourself.
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What are the Risks of Skydiving While Pregnant?
The fact is, however, that women are jumping while pregnant and will continue to do so. Sports with a high potential for hard falls or ones where you might be thrown off-balance are however not a good idea for pregnant women. Some women experience preterm contractions throughout their pregnancy. Preterm contractions do not always lead to preterm birth, but they do increase a women’s risk of preterm labour significantly.
Note that if there are steady contractions during pregnancy, strenuous exercise may lead to a higher rate of contractions. Every exercise program is meant to be adjusted to include more non – weight bearing exercise like yoga, stretching and swimming.
Therefore, contact sports are best avoided after early pregnancy, and pregnant women are advised to avoid activities with a high risk of falling from a great height (sky diving). During pregnancy, the respiratory rate is naturally increased. Owing to this, the body works harder to give enough oxygen to the developing foetus.
This can reduce the amount of oxygen available for exercise and can cause decreased endurance and a sense of breathlessness. Also, due to the enlarging womb, the lower back develops more curvature and the centre of gravity for your body shifts. This can cause changes in your sense of balance and requires adjustments in posture to prevent injury.
Also have it in mind that a woman’s joints undergo changes during pregnancy. Her body releases a hormone called “relaxin” which loosens up the joints of the pelvis to make room for the birth of her child. Since all the joints in the body are more at ease, there is a greater chance of spraining or straining muscles and joints during pregnancy.
Additionally, during pregnancy a woman’s body uses carbohydrates more quickly. Exercise also increases the metabolism of carbohydrates. These two factors can lead to low blood sugar reactions during exercise. Increasing caloric intake to shift her carbohydrate balance is very important for pregnant athletes.
Typically, her body increases its blood volume by 40% in pregnancy and her heart rate increases by about 15 beats per minute. This allows nutrients and oxygen to be transported to the foetus more efficiently. Nonetheless, with the growth of the womb, the flow of blood in the body can be disrupted and light – headedness can occur.
Skydiving can be a risky sport, whether or not there’s a baby on board. Though we can agree that an accident involving an expectant mother would be twice as tragic. Skydivers take calculated risks and steadily consider the ratio of risk to reward.
Nonetheless, advances in skydiving technology and equipment have allowed women to continually mitigate the risks taken while participating in this extreme sport; thus, allowing even pregnant women to engage in skydiving in as safe a manner as possible.
6 Factors to Consider When Skydiving Pregnant
There has been little or no research on jumping during pregnancy, and medical professionals hesitate to make any blanket statements about the practice. But medical advice, as well as advice from other skydivers who have jumped while pregnant, can help you decide whether to continue jumping during pregnancy, and if you do, help you do it safely. Here are few factors to consider if you want to jump while pregnant.
Know Your Limits
Doctors tell women with low – risk pregnancies that they can continue all their normal activities as long as they feel good enough, with the caveat that they should avoid sports that contain a risk of falls and should not exercise to the point of exhaustion.
Pregnancy is usually not a good time to take up skiing or skydiving, but women who were already engaged in athletics can usually continue to enjoy them during pregnancy. Women who have just started jumping should probably take a break from the sport.
Most women who have continued to jump during pregnancy were very experienced. Many of them are always in good physical condition. However, pregnant women are always advised to go easy on their joints. Relaxin and other hormones loosen joints during pregnancy, making them less stable and prone to injury if overstressed.
The pelvis, lower back and knees are especially vulnerable. Skydivers should take particular care in packing and at pull time so as not to jolt their loosened joints. A pregnant skydiver should pay attention to how she feels at all times. Fatigue is normal, and you should rest as much as you need.
First – trimester nausea is a fact of life for some women, and calling it morning sickness is inaccurate, many women feel sick all the time. Being under canopy may only make you feel worse. Doctors don’t allow pregnant women to take ibuprofen (Advil and Motrin) or any of the other effective analgesics, because they can cause difficulties with labour and harm the foetus.
Also note that heat poses an added danger, especially in the first trimester. Have it in mind that if the mother’s internal temperature exceeds 104 degrees, the chance the foetus will have neural tube defects increases. It is always advisable that an expectant mother eats and drinks regularly while exercising to prevent dehydration and hypoglycaemia.
Pregnant women, particularly those further along, should be careful about flying in bad weather. Remember that turbulent weather can sometimes stimulate pre – term labour and rupture of the fetal membranes, causing the amniotic fluid to leak. High winds and turbulence also present the standard difficulties with landing.
Chance of Miscarriage
First and foremost, no one has studied the effect of hard openings on pregnancy, however hard openings are less traumatic than many automobile accidents and during opening, and jumpers are in a different body position than car passengers, with no belt passing over the uterus. Howbeit, experts don’t think a hard opening is very likely to precipitate a sudden miscarriage.
But women are advised to also consider the possibility of a bad landing, although the baby is quite well protected in the uterine environment. Usually the jumper would get hurt first. Emergency room doctors make a practice of treating a pregnant woman before turning their attention to the foetus, because if the mother survives, the baby likely will as well.
Also note that rapid deceleration in skydiving can be analogous to a moderate – speed auto accident or a fall while skiing (both are known to cause miscarriages). Therefore, it is advisable not to skydive while pregnant. Miscarriages usually result from chromosomal abnormalities in the foetus, infections, hormonal deficiencies, immune – system abnormalities and environmental toxin such as drugs or cigarette smoke.
Sex, safe exercises, heavy lifting, usual work and play, stress or emotional upsets or minor falls or accidents rarely cause them. Any woman who fears that jumping might cause her to miscarry should not jump. If a woman or the prospective father will likely blame a miscarriage on the woman’s skydiving, she is probably better off sitting out for a few months.
Women who jump while pregnant inevitably have to make some adjustments to their skydiving gear. Some of them change their canopies for larger mains or mains which open more softly than their original gear. The jumper must feel comfortable with her gear and be able to land it well. Larger gear may feel unwieldy but often lands more softly.
Also note that a pregnant woman will quickly outgrow her normal jumpsuit. Whatever a skydiver decides to wear, she needs to make sure that she can still find all her handles. Size can also make it very hard to get in and out of airplanes. After a certain point, you may no longer fit into a little Cessna 182. Getting up and down off the floor will challenge you, so airplanes without benches become less than ideal.
A lot of women have found that skydiving after they give birth requires more adjustment than jumping while expecting. If your baby doesn’t sleep through the night, chances are you don’t either. You may not want to put yourself in freefall in such an addled state.
If both husband and wife jump, they may want to take turns going to the drop zone. Sometimes, couples jump less than they did before becoming parents. Also, even a minor injury would probably cause tremendous inconvenience with a small baby, so conservative is better.
Note that it’s safe to fly on commercial airlines that are pressurized during flight, but unpressurized flight above 5,000 to 7,000 feet may not provide enough oxygen to some foetuses.
According to experts, while a short time spent in an unpressurized cabin at about 7, 000 feet may not harm your baby (baby’s oxygen level in the womb is already lower than mother’s), it can reduce the oxygen in your blood, causing you to feel light headed and impair your thinking and ability to move.
Pregnant women are expected to consider the chance of hypoxia, especially since the foetus is accustomed to an atmosphere less rich in oxygen than the mother needs and thus feels hypoxia less than an adult would.
Skydiving during pregnancy is quite possible, though it gives the jumper a lot to consider. Have it in mind that skydiving carries the risk of injury and death, and pregnant jumpers have additional considerations, including some not addressed here. All potential jumpers need to make that decision for themselves with the available information and in consultation with their own families and physicians.