Scuba Diving and Pregnancy
It’s a common question: Is it okay to scuba dive while pregnant? And the answer is simple: Scuba diving and pregnancy don’t mix. But why?
The published literature on diving and pregnancy is limited, because, for ethical reasons, experiments with pregnant women are also limited. Nonetheless, the main reason for the recommendation to avoid diving while pregnant is that scuba diving can cut off the blood supply to the baby. While diving, blood going to the baby may contain harmful nitrogen bubbles as well. Another major concern when it comes to scuba diving and pregnancy is the possibility of decompression illness. This can strike anyone, and the treatment of high levels of oxygen and medications could potentially harm the baby.
In studies (conducted by survey), pregnant women who dove reported a higher incidence of babies who suffered birth defects, including heart problems. In some cases, miscarriage occurred. The possible risks simply make it unreasonable to scuba dive while pregnant.
So, as a general rule, pregnant women should not scuba dive, although there has been evidence that it is perfectly safe to dive during the first two to four weeks of pregnancy. During this time many women don’t even know they’re pregnant yet, so if you happened to go scuba diving during the very early stages of pregnancy, you can rest easy knowing that you did not risk your baby’s health.