Source: @keliamoniz                                                   

Surfing MAMAS: experiences, opinions, concerns of pregnant surfers

As women, we must pass several milestones during our lifetime and there is no doubt that pregnancy is one of the greatest turning points in every woman's life. We are blessed with the ability to create and nurture new life and bring it into this world. Being pregnant and then becoming a mother is like a step in the multi-dimensional portal, a step into the next dimension of feminity. During this miraculous time, it is so important to be present, relaxed, and grounded to provide a safe and chilled space for the baby growing under mama's heart. It is crucial to stay healthy, strong, nourished, and in the company of loved ones.

 No matter how much of a surf addict are you, when the bump is in the way you will start seeing things differently. Surfing pregnant is a very personal decision and every woman must consider and make this decision for herself. Regardless of body shape, size, physique, diet, and overall lifestyle, you never know what the 9 months will hold for you. The process of your body changing every day for 40 weeks is unquestionably challenging. It could be as pleasant as a walk through the rose garden or as painful and thorny as sitting in the rose orchard.

Nose riding on ninefoot longboard in Hawai

Ok I haven’t been doing this, and I miss it. 
Source: @keliamoniz                                                         

Surfing 2 in 1

We are living in a time where almost anything is possible and things are actually happening when you wish them to happen. That applies to surfing during pregnancy as well. There are lots of mama’s-to-be around the world dancing on the waves with their beautiful baby bumps.

For some women, the temptation to combine these two special moments is so huge that they surf throughout their entire pregnancy without blinking an eye. I think that when you get pregnant as a surfer, and I mean “super addict stoked surfer”, your conscience and mindfulness expand. Why? You start to see and understand yourself from a totally different perspective. So also, your connection to the ocean and surfing. When surfing is your main existing passion, it is the reason to wake up every day and it is THE thing that makes you happy and fulfilled. It might be overwhelming at first just to think about pregnancy on top of that!

Being in the water is for most of us a very intimate moment that gives us the drive to live and live in the moment, which would be for sure confirmed by every true surfer. On the other hand it is an almost psychedelic conception, imagine the baby swimming in the water in mama's belly while she is in the ocean walking through the waves.

But let´s get to the point and be honest, surfing definitely possesses some risks. There are so many questions and not so many answers. Is it safe to surf when pregnant? How far into the pregnancy can I continue surfing? Can I lay on my belly? How to paddle? What kind of board is the best to surf? When is it safe to paddle out postpartum? It is always best to check first with your doctor or midwife and see how the current health condition and stage of gravidity is. Most doctors will recommend keeping active during the pregnancy and practicing yoga, pilates, swimming, or water aerobics, hiking, or even weight lifting and cardio such as jogging and cycling. Even though surfing is usually never the first option, it is definitely not forbidden to surf when pregnant.

As long as you feel comfortable, it is safe. We are so lucky to have the ocean as our playground. It acts as a teacher, safe haven, and healer. Once you feel it’s best to give the board a rest till your little one makes their grand entrance don’t forget there’s other ways to get salty. Those achy joints and places you had no idea could hurt will benefit from some water therapy and you know it’s just good for the soul.

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Our friend Monik, 6 months pregnant at the time, is wearing ninefoot studio´s one piece surf swimsuit Dreamland in blue variant
Source: Ninefootstudio
***click on the photo to see the product

How it´s done

We did research, asked our fellow surfer mamas about their experience and found out that each woman has a very different, unique experience.

There are so many factors in the game. It definitely depends on the level of your skill in the water, confidence and how smooth you move on your surfboard. If you are a beginner and still don´t have your board fully under control even when surfing in previous non-pregnant condition, it might be very dangerous to surf pregnant.

 Another very important factor is the number of pregnancies and the circumstances of getting pregnant. Some women are fortunate to get pregnant super easy and fast and some wish for the baby and keep trying to conceive for years. So, for the first-time mamas to be it might be super overwhelming and some admitted stopping surfing completely the very same moment they saw those 2 red lines on the test. Everything is so new and fragile with the first pregnancy and most women become extra careful, cautious, and more mindful. On the other hand for the experienced mamas of multiple kids, it often becomes even more exciting to get pregnant again so they can literally surf their baby out of the belly.

 As mentioned above, incase you are a mama who was desperate to get pregnant for years or even suffered a miscarriage, then it is no wonder that surfing goes aside when one finally succeeds to conceive with your desired rainbow baby. Just you do you and your baby. The waves will always be there. Whether there are existing health conditions such as high blood pressure, obesity (which increases the risk for high blood pressure during gravidity, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, stillbirth), diabetes or hormonal disbalance, it is necessary to consult with the doctor and OB. Some doctors will forbid surfing and the time in the water for the entire 9-month phase even if the expectant mother is healthy, so it is on consideration of getting other opinions or just listening to your gut. For sure women with a high-risk pregnancy should probably stay out of the water during their pregnancy.

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Our friend Monik, 6 months pregnant at the time, is wearing ninefoot studio´s one piece surf swimsuit Dreamland in blue variant
Source: Ninefootstudio
****click on the photo to see the product details

The bottom line is to listen to the body and especially in the time of expecting, women´s natural instincts are getting stronger, so all it takes is just to surrender and follow your mamas intuition. As long as you feel comfortable it is safe to do basically anything you did on a regular basis before getting pregnant. Keep it up and surf as long as it makes you feel good and you can have fun, do not put yourself down if you decide to stop at any moment of your pregnancy.

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Our friend Monik, 6 months pregnant at the time, is wearing ninefoot studio´s one piece surf swimsuit Dreamland in blue variant
Source: Ninefootstudio
****click on the photo to see the product details

Baby on board

Before you decide to get salty don´t forget to drink plenty of water and fuel yourself with a light but nutritious high-carb meal. To avoid indigestion, as usual don´t eat right before you surf, just make sure you are not hungry and thirsty before you go in the water. It is easier to distribute the body weight on larger boards like minimals or longboards that are easier to maintain good balance on. You can lay on your belly as long as you are comfortable with it. If you start to feel queasy or it hurts then you should stop.

Maybe you can just float next to your board while waiting for sets. When your  wave is coming, make sure you get on the board and start to paddle a little bit earlier than you would normally. You move slower and probably look a bit weirder in your movement on the board, but who cares, you are super fertile child-bearing queen! So, get on the board, belly down or paddling on your knees, put the pressure on your shoulders and chest and stick your booty up in the air and GO for it! Whether you paddle on your belly or on your knees, the key is to find the position that works for you. Paddling on your knees will take that pressure off your precious belly and might be more comfortable.

Don´t forget that you are paddling for TWO now and every pressure on your body, every breath you hold and every step you take has an impact on your little one floating in there with you. If you feel fatigue or tired, take a break or call it a day.  

hawai beach for surfing

Fun fact... I surfed wayyy better 7 months pregnant than I do now. Humbling, have a lot of work ahead of me. "Kelia"
Source: @keliamoniz

First trimester

Even though the baby bump is often not yet visible in the first trimester (first 3 months of the pregnancy) the body is going through a major transformation internally and it may be super challenging to keep up even with regular daily activities. It is a very individual experience for each woman, some may not even notice they are pregnant until the beginning of the second trimester as the bump is invisible and they feel just fine, however, this happens rarely. Usually, the signs are pretty clear starting with missing a period, morning sickness, nausea with or without vomiting, tender and swollen breasts, sweating, fatigue, increased urination, constipation, and radical mood swings.

It does not matter how your physique and fitness was before pregnancy, those difficulties may hit hard even for a wonder woman. Some women find relief in the water and surfing actually helps them to “forget” about nausea and others are getting more sick just by looking at the ocean. When it comes to surfing in a couple of weeks of pregnancy the most challenging is nausea and swollen breasts, which makes paddling and laying on the board quite uncomfortable. Despite the bump still being invisible, beware of the crowds and bigger waves as you don´t want to experience any wipeouts or crashes with another surfer that might be seriously bad.

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Monik is wearing the Padang top and Nusa bottom in burgundy color. All in size L.
Source: ninefootstudio
****click on the photo to see details about the products

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Monik is wearing the Padang top and Nusa bottom in our very own sunrise print. All in size L. Source: ninefootstudio

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Monik is wearing the Padang top and Nusa bottom in our very own sunrise print. All in size L.
Source: ninefootstudio

Second trimester

This is the middle part of the pregnancy, (13 to 26 weeks) when the fertilized egg successfully nests in the womb and the body transforms more on the outside. The belly and breasts start growing and the pregnancy becomes more visible and makes the mama more conscious about it. Hormone relaxing starts to increase its levels in the body, to relax all the tissues (bones, joints, tendons, fascia, muscles) to release and prepare for birth. Nausea begins to settle and swollen breasts usually disappear however they are still getting bigger.

Women usually look forward to the second trimester as it is known that their strength and good feeling returns. Anyways with that being said it will be necessary to make modifications in the water. It is about the current feeling and condition that determines whether to go with the flow and keep surfing or not. If yes, then you might just stick your butt in the air to take the pressure off the belly or paddle on your knees if longboarding. Keep in mind that paddling on the knees can get tiring so sessions might tend to cut short, which is perfectly OK. Don´t forget that you’re paddling for two now.

So, don't push yourself. Just listen to your body, breathe deep, and give yourself a nice stretch. Enjoy the time in the ocean with your baby floating in your belly as the second trimester is the perfect time to be active whilst pregnant.

ninefoot studio women sustainable surf swimwear

Surfer Kori, who surfed in Bali while pregnant in the water ready get baby barreled in some baby barrel
Source: @kori.hahn

Third trimester

During the third trimester, you and your baby will continue to gain weight, and your belly will get bigger and bigger. The body posture and equilibrium will change as a result of a growing belly in front of you. Beware of the falls as your balance will get much worse. Core strength is at this point pretty much non-existent and don´t be shocked if you experience incontinency. Even while laughing or coughing it is normal to have some leaks. A lot of LOLs! Stretch marks on your belly and even on the breasts are also super common. Pamper yourself with an oil of choice (for example VCO, rosehip, or lavander oil) to nurture your skin and prevent larger scaring.

Your body is getting ready for the labor and at the end of the third trimester, your pubic bone and symphysis start to open up and create even more space in your pelvis so your little human can go through easier. Some women may suffer from excruciating pain as a consequence of bone spacing and undergo “symphysial pelvic dysfunction” which will basically leave you immobile due to the pain. The back pain will be real and overall you will be moving slower and naturally more careful as your baby will be constantly moving in the belly. Don´t worry is it only temporary!

Be ready to experience some “false contractions” called Braxton hicks which can be recognized as feeling tightening in the belly that comes and goes and can feel like menstrual cramps. The key is to keep calm and connected with your baby, listen to your body, and be in the moment. It is so beautiful and precious to experience the pregnancy in its final stage and you will miss it later on. 

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Monik is wearing our Padang top and Nusa bottom in burgundy while 6 months pregnnnt
Source: Ninefootstudio

If your body allows you, feel free to grab your board and paddle out. Some describe being in the water after months of nausea as an almost psychedelic feeling. It can be so magical to be in the water with your baby inside and be interconnected with all the elements, the water, the sun, the wind, the sand. The goal is to experience this and enjoy the moment instead of pushing it and chasing the waves. The fetus is absolutely safe and well-protected in your womb and as long as you feel all right, it is fine to surf but especially in this stage of pregnancy, try to avoid dangerous situations at all costs. Bring another pair of eyes with you and don’t surf alone just to be on the safe side. Remember that safety comes first and if you don´t feel completely comfortable on the longboard, try a bodyboard or paddleboard. 

Fourth trimester and postpartum

After your baby is born there is a period of 6 weeks that is crucial for every mom to stay at home and heal. Mama is all the baby needs and knows. It is so important to be there for your newborn, deepening the relationship with them after they are born into this dimension. Especially as a first-time mom, you are learning a lot for the first couple of weeks and it takes time to get comfortable in your new role as mama. Life as a surfer girl has come to a pause. Channeling the missing surf stoke into creating a relationship with your baby might be the way to go. 

map of surf spots in Waikiki Hawai

When surfing is your religion
Source: @regan_figg

A lot depends on whether you had a natural birth or a C-section. It is true that experiencing natural birth can be more traumatizing and painful but once it's over the healing part is usually faster. In opposition, the C-section takes longer to heal, and even once the scar is healed it can be painful to touch and can feel uncomfortable in some positions.

Before getting wet again and entering the water make sure your body is cured completely internally and your stitches (if any) are fully dissolved. You should get checked by your gynaecologist after 6 weeks and make sure your uterus is back to pre-pregnancy size and there are no other issues going on inside. Surfing first time postpartum, you may feel slightly anxious and insecure but that first session, even if it lasts only 20 minutes, will give you an amazing base to start getting back into shape and having your surf stoke back super soon.

View on the surf spot in North Shore in oahu Hawai

"I surfed through my pregnancy. I felt comfortable doing it." Kori Hahn
Source: @theoceanisfemale

Consider this

1. Go if you are confident that you have your body and your board fully under control

2. Have somebody to help you into your wetsuit and to prepare for the sesh 

3. Be selective when picking your board - your balance will be affected so, consider longboard, foam board or even go for bodyboard or paddleboard

4. Bring somebody along to watch you or join you in the water just to be on the safe side

5. Avoid crowded line ups and dangerous spots

6. Don´t be embarrassed to wait for smaller sets

7. Paddle on your knees or find the position that feels good for you

8. Breathe deep and don´t put too much pressure on yourself!

ninefootstudio surf swimwear for all body types

Monik is wearing the one piece surf swimsuit Dreamland in blue color combination                         Source: Ninefootstudio                                                                                                                                 
***click on the photos to see the product

ninefoot studio women sustainable surf swimwear

Monik is wearing the Padang surf top in burgundy color                                                                        Source: Ninefootstudio 

We hope this helps you better understand what surfing through pregnancy could be like.

There is no right or wrong, YOU DO YOU and if you feel comfortable, SURF! Just remember to be more cautious, stay away from crowds, and don't feel guilty for bailing your board if you feel like it may put you at risk.

Accept that surfing is going to be a lot harder and you will catch fewer waves. Always double-check your feeling and condition with your doctor and stay on the safe side.

Interesting links: 

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