Dear Brave Ski Mom,
I am expecting my first child and I recently shifted from downhill to telemark skiing.
I would really love to spend time this winter tele’ing on the blues. Can I ski during pregnancy?
How do I make this decision?
H in Colorado
As you’ve probably gathered most doctors and midwives warn against activities such as skiing, surfing, and horseback riding during pregnancy. These activities are considered “risky” because of the risk of falling.
From my experience, I was just as likely (if not more likely) to fall off a curb while walking as I was to fall during skiing, but since doctors can’t justify putting all pregnant women on permanent bed rest, they have to assume we’ll take a few “risks”!
That said, there is a lot of evidence that a fit pregnancy is a healthier and happier pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, the benefits of exercise during pregnancy include:
- Less back pain and discomfort
- More energy
- Better sleep
- Increased stamina and strength
- Happier moods and emotional stability
Staying active during pregnancy is a good thing — actually a great thing — for you and your baby.
So, if skiing makes you happy and keeps you fit during the winter, and you feel your skill level is high enough that you can manage the risks, it’s your choice and your call.
As with anything in this big, beautiful world, there are factors we can’t control, such as being run into by another skier or rider, or catching an edge on the bunny hill, so common sense should prevail.
Tele when you feel good and strong and the conditions seem right. If you have any doubts, sit out a run or a day and see how you feel next time.
In the scheme of things, 40 weeks is a really short time and you’ll have many ski days and ski seasons ahead.
Good luck and congratulations! - The Brave Ski Mom
For more advice on skiing during pregnancy, I turned to some girlfriends. There’s simply no advice like girlfriend advice.
Alyssa’s Story (The Kid Project)
I skied during each of my pregnancies, from roughly three months to six months pregnant. The limiting factor for me was that at about 6 months, I no longer had ski clothing that fit. Then I switched from skiing to snowshoeing, wearing lots of fleece layers — all from my husband!
My doctor was okay with me skiing and asked me to stick to easy, comfortable terrain and away from crazy crowds. Of course, I had an appointment with a different doctor one day and she said, “Well, it isn’t like you’d do something stupid, like skiing while pregnant.”
I kept my mouth shut, smiled and nodded.
Lisa’s Story (Lisa Richardson Bylines)
It was my first pregnancy, a surprise at that, and I had no idea what to expect of motherhood. I felt a bit like I was on death row, only happier, in that every meal was my last meal, every adventure was my last adventure, every uninterrupted conversation was my last chance to hold onto a thread of dialogue until it was resolved.
That said, I figured I had better get as much skiing in as I could.
I skied every week until I was 34 weeks pregnant. I know people who skied right up until they went into labor, women who make a living on their skis – but I was happy to call it around then.
Jessica’s Story (Bring the Kids)
I have skied during all 4 of my pregnancies. I have taken it easier and easier with each pregnancy, not necessarily because my ability or confidence level had decreased but because I had more and more little kids that I needed to ski slow with and less “me time” on the hill along with that.
Getting out and enjoying a day on the hill is great even when pregnant. Even better, it sets you up with the attitude that you can still get out and have adventures once you have kids!
Words of Wisdom
- Each pregnancy and each mom-to-be is different. We all have different skill levels and different circumstances. If you want to ski during pregnancy, talk to your doctor or midwife. Come up with a plan that makes you both comfortable.
- It’s all about balance, and in this case, your balance. Pregnancy changes your center of gravity and throws your balance off. Be aware of your body and how you feel.
- Avoid crowds. Your greatest risk may be being hit by another skier or snowboarder. Ski midweek. Ski at lunch. Ski at less crowded resorts.
- Dial it back. Plan to ski at about 50% of your ability. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion. Avoid bumps, breathe in the clean air and soak in the sunshine.
- Cold mountain air helps a lot with morning sickness. If you don’t want to downhill ski, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing and get outside!
Ready for the Next Step?
- Skiing with Babies and Young Children, June 4, 2012.
- More Than Gadgets: Learn to Ski Aids for Young Children, December 3, 2012.
- What You Need to Know to Start Your Child Skiing or Snowboarding, January 11, 2011.