Can You Go Surfing While Pregnant? Safety Tips and Precautions

For avid surfers who get the happy news that they’re expecting, one of the first questions is often whether they can keep surfing throughout pregnancy. While giving up surfing for 9 months might seem unbearable, are there risks to consider for mom and baby? The answer is not necessarily black and white. With some precautions, many women can safely enjoy surfing through certain points of their pregnancy.

Potential Safety Concerns with Surfing While Pregnant

Before deciding to surf while pregnant, women should consider these potential safety concerns:

  • Falling – The most obvious risk is falling from the board and impacting the abdomen. This could lead to placental abruption or premature labor.
  • Collision – Getting struck by the board or another surfer could also injure the pregnant belly.
  • Strenuous exercise – Intense paddling and popping up on the board requires exertion. This may not be advised in later pregnancy.
  • Balance changes – A shifting center of gravity as pregnancy progresses can make balancing on a board more challenging.
  • Joint laxity – The pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens joints and ligaments, increasing chances of strains or dislocations.
  • Fatigue – Pregnancy fatigue along with muscle demand from surfing could lead to exhaustion and increase injury risk.
  • Dehydration – Spending long hours in the ocean under the sun demands adequate hydration, which can be difficult to maintain.

Consulting with a doctor is wise to review these concerns and decide if continuing surfing during pregnancy is advised based on an expectant mom’s health status and risk factors.

Tips for Surfing Safely While Pregnant

If a physician deems continuing surfing safe, here are some tips to follow:

  • Choose smaller, mellower waves to reduce risks of harsh falls and allow easier paddling.
  • Wear a high-quality maternity wetsuit to protect from bumps and keep warm.
  • Use a thicker longboard for stability – don’t try to balance on a shortboard.
  • Know your limits and don’t try to surf waves beyond your ability.
  • Stick to familiar breaks so you can anticipate conditions and hazards.
  • Hydrate very well before, during and after sessions.
  • Listen to your body and end sessions if you feel tired or off balance.
  • Consider pregnancy swimwear with fall protection panels over the belly.
  • Avoid surfing in remote areas alone in case of an emergency.

Being cautious, choosing gentle conditions, using a stable board, staying hydrated, and listening to your body can allow expectant moms to modify surfing for a safe pregnancy activity.

What Trimester is Surfing Safe?

Opinions vary on how far into pregnancy is reasonably safe for continuing surfing:

First Trimester

  • Low risk of falling – before major pregnancy changes occur.
  • Listen to body for fatigue.
  • Avoid surfing if you’ve had prior miscarriages or are considered high-risk.

Second Trimester

  • Balance and joint stability declining.
  • A noticeable pregnant belly increases fall risk.
  • Stop more advanced maneuvers requiring speed and torque.

Third Trimester

  • Most experts recommend avoiding surfing from this point on.
  • Greater chances of losing balance and trauma to abdomen.
  • Best to switch to easier pregnancy exercises like swimming.

Every woman is different, so discuss with your provider when surfing may need to cease based on your health factors.

Alternate Water Sports During Pregnancy

Once it no longer seems prudent to surf, there are some other water activities pregnant women can consider:


  • Low-impact with full body buoyancy.
  • Keeps up cardiorespiratory fitness.
  • Avoid overheating in warm pools.

Prenatal Water Aerobics

  • Strengthens and gently stretches muscles.
  • Social atmosphere provides support.

Stand Up Paddleboarding

  • Works core and stability.
  • Easier to balance than surfing.
  • Avoid choppy water conditions.


  • Fun way to maintain fitness.
  • Floatation device provides security.
  • Watch time underwater.

Staying active throughout pregnancy with lower-risk water sports alternatives helps expectant moms maintain fitness levels while safely having fun.

Frequently Asked Questions on Surfing While Pregnant

Here are answers to some common questions women have about surfing during pregnancy:

Will my balance be worse as pregnancy progresses?

Yes, the torso changes along with loosening joints shifts the center of gravity. This progressively makes balancing on a surfboard more difficult.

Can surfing impact the baby’s health?

Direct trauma from falling could potentially lead to issues. Avoiding falls prevents harm, but stopping surfing later on is typically recommended.

Is being a strong surfer safe enough for surfing while pregnant?

No, even the most skilled surfers can experience unpredictable falls. So all pregnant women need to take precautions.

Can I go surfing in early pregnancy before I’m showing?

Some women do continue surfing during the first trimester without obvious risks. But be very cautious and talk to your doctor.

Will using a maternity wetsuit help make surfing safer?

Yes, it provides padding if you fall from the board and also keeps your core muscles warm.

Does where I surf matter for safety?

Yes, stick to known breaks with mellower waves. Avoid remote areas in case you need medical care. Surf near others who could assist if needed.


While giving up surfing may seem unthinkable during pregnancy, prioritizing mom and baby’s health is vital. With guidance from your provider, some women likely can safely modify their surfing during certain points of pregnancy. Focusing on gentle waves, using protective gear, staying properly hydrated, and knowing personal limits allows expectant surfers to keep riding while preventing unnecessary risks to their precious cargo on board.

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