Scuba Diving and Pregnancy

By Julius
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Scuba Diving & Pregnancy

Scuba diving and pregnancy don’t go well together. Sorry, but that’s the harsh truth. 😕

Most scuba diving organizations strongly advise against going diving while pregnant for safety reasons. And we agree.

Let’s look a little further into the topic and give you a bit more information so you can see why we think that way. Oh, and congratulations on your little bundle of joy! 🤩

Can I scuba dive while pregnant?

You should not go scuba diving while pregnant. The most important reasons are the potential risk of decompression sickness for both the mother and the unborn child, high-pressure exposure of the uterus, and stress.

While there are no “laws” against it, scuba diving is not recommended during pregnancy.

In fact, we HIGHLY discourage you from participating in any scuba diving or freediving activities, and also be very careful when snorkeling.

The main reasons are:

  • Higher risk of decompression sickness
  • High pressure on the fetus
  • Stress
  • Other dangers from diving like falling, slipping on wet surface etc.

Higher risk of decompression sickness

The main concern is the potential risk of decompression sickness, also known as “the bends.” This condition occurs when nitrogen bubbles form in the bloodstream and tissues due to changes in pressure during ascent. While decompression sickness is a risk for any diver, pregnant women, and their unborn babies are particularly vulnerable.

As an expectant mother, your body is going through significant changes, and your cardiovascular system is working harder than ever. The increased blood flow to the uterus makes it more difficult for your body to eliminate nitrogen, increasing the risk of decompression sickness.

Additionally, the fetus’s developing circulatory system is more susceptible to bubble formation, which could lead to developmental issues.

High pressure on the fetus

Diving at greater depths increases the water pressure immensely. This may affect the development of your child and lead to birth defects.

Pregnant woman at beach
Take a long surface break from diving and both you and your child will be safe.


Diving can be stressful in certain situations, for example, when getting separated from your dive buddy, in heavy currents, or in low visibility environments.

As you know, stress during pregnancy has all sorts of unwanted side effects so don’t take this risk.

Other risks & dangers

Additionally, there are other risks that aren’t usually something to worry about too much but can be worse during pregnancy. Falling of a slippery boat ladder, bumping into another diver’s tank, or getting seasick in higher waves…

Once again, please don’t scuba dive while pregnant.

Can scuba diving while pregnant cause birth defects?

While it does not always cause serious injuries, scuba diving during pregnancy has shown to be the cause of birth defects and should be avoided.

To put the risk into numbers:

DAN published a report saying that 5.5% of women who participated in scuba diving activities suffered from birth defects.

You have been warned!

When Can I Dive Again After Giving Birth?

It is recommended to wait at least 4-6 weeks after giving birth and at least 8-12 weeks after a cesarean section before going diving again. In most cases, it makes sense to wait even longer to prevent any complications.

I know it’s hard to imagine a world without scuba diving, but don’t worry! This underwater hiatus is temporary. You’ll be back to exploring the depths with your little one in tow in no time.

Before you dive back in, consult your doctor or midwife to ensure you’ve had enough time to recover from childbirth. Remember that every individual’s recovery process is different, so make sure to prioritize your health and the health of your baby.

No dive is worth risking your health for it.

Can I freedive while pregnant?

Going freediving while pregnant is equally as dangerous for the fetus as scuba diving and you should not do it.

While the risk of decompression illness is much lower than during a scuba dive, the pressure your body experience even at shallow depths can pose a risk for the baby.

Of course, it is possible…this video here shows a woman at 9 months pregnant on a freedive.

Needless to say, however, we think this is more than risky or even reckless.


We know it sucks, but while you’re pregnant please just don’t go scuba diving.

It’s a bit like drinking alcohol…is it really worth the risk for your child? We don’t think so.

After all, just remember how much fun you’ll have diving with your children in a few years!

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Always dive with friends and happy bubbles. 😃



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About the author

Hey! I'm Julius, professional scuba instructor, diver, outdoor lover, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Social Diving. I write about scuba diving (including tech, cave, sidemount, and freediving), travel, and love what I do. If you have any questions, send me a message. :-)

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