Choosing to surf while pregnant is an entirely individual decision based on how comfortable you are in the water, your intuition, your skills and stage of pregnancy. We recommend consulting your midwife or doctor for advice on your unique situation before surfing, as everyone’s pregnancy journey is different.
Changing up your gear
In some cases you might need to invest in or borrow a bigger wetsuit, although some women get by with the one they have, especially if they’re not surfing into their third trimester. This is also a great time to invest in a bigger board for surfing smaller breaks.
What modifications can I make to allow for my growing belly?
The modifications you choose will depend on what feels most comfortable for your body. Some women (particularly in the earlier stages of pregnancy) continue to paddle on their stomach, using their knees to prop their hips in the air and make room for their belly. Another technique is simply paddling on your knees the old fashioned way. Other modifications include avoiding long breath holds to keep the oxygen flowing for you and your baby and keeping your surf sessions shorter to avoid over exerting yourself.
Avoiding crowds, big breaks, late take offs and close out waves helps decrease the chances of a fall or collision with another surfer. Finally, listen to the intelligence of your body. If you’re feeling queasy and paddling on your belly hurts, that’s your body telling you something isn’t quite right.
How far into pregnancy can you continue surfing?
This is dependent on a range of factors, like the size of your bump, morning sickness or how safe you feel in the water. Only you can be the judge of these things, so it’s important to listen to your body for cues and never let a sense of pressure or fear of missing out override your intuition. We’re not all going to be like Bethany Hamilton, surfing into our third trimester. Everyone’s journey is unique and dependent on so many factors, so it’s never worth comparing someone elses journey to your own. Take it day by day and never put pressure or expectation on yourself.
For some bump friendly swimwear inspiration explore our feature on The Grace Tales here.