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"Diving" in the Pool while Pregnant?

Discussion in 'Diving Medicine' started by bennenrkc, Aug 14, 2013.

  1. bennenrkc

    bennenrkc Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Midwest
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    Part of me can't believe I am even asking this. (that would be the emotional want to protect side) The rational thinking side of me wonders why my wife who just found out that she is pregnant can't hop into the pool and just screw around/work on skills/relax (she finds it very stress releasing) .

    I know the rule is pregnant = no diving. However, in a pool with a max depth of 10ft. how much nitrogen loading if at all is going to happen? (that seems to be the primary concern is we don't know how nitrogen effects the unborn child).

    Any thoughts would be appreciated.
     
  2. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Dive Shop

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
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    It's not just the nitrogen loading. We also do not have a full understanding of how the pressure will affect a developing fetus. And what if she were to have an incident in the pool? We know for certain that you can embolize in as little as 4 feet of water. I would not be willing to even take the chance. And if it was my shop and my pool, no way in hell I'd allow her in on scuba. IMO no shop in their right mind would. Too much risk.
     
    Bratface, elan, Wookie and 2 others like this.
  3. toddthecat

    toddthecat Dive Shop

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    Location: Aztec, NM
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    Pretty much what Jim said. I'd NEVER even come remotely close to allowing a pregnant woman to dive, even in the pool, at my shop. Why someone would even consider taking the risk is beyond me.
     
    elan, gizmo1972 and Jim Lapenta like this.
  4. bennenrkc

    bennenrkc Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Midwest
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    A little harsh but I understand the sentiment. Just a little lost in this whole thing. Thanks.
     
  5. toddthecat

    toddthecat Dive Shop

    # of Dives:
    Location: Aztec, NM
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    I don't mean to be harsh. I just know I would have a hard time living with myself if my daughter were to be born with some sort of problem and wondering the rest of my life if it had something to do with my wife diving while pregnant. That's a lifelong sort of guilt and an unnecessary risk to place on the little one that could cause irreparable harm.
     
    Jim Lapenta likes this.
  6. bennenrkc

    bennenrkc Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 0 - 24
    Location: Midwest
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    I understand, I guess somethings I need to just see in writing/ get a little separation from to realize that it is a bad idea. It will be are first god willing and as I said above, I am a little lost and my world is going every which way. Thanks!
     
  7. Wookie

    Wookie ScubaBoard Business Sponsor ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

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    That's not to say she shouldn't swim, snorkel, and spend lots of time in the water with her newfound extra weight off her back. Just not involving compressed air. But then, she knows that, you're just an excited nervous new dad. Congrats.
     
  8. supergaijin

    supergaijin Dive Shop

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    Embolism? I thought in the womb we were completely immersed and 'drowned' in fluid. I'm no doctor but I can't think of anything wrong with the extra 0.2ata while diving in a pool.

    That said, it 'aint my baby.

    But if it helps the wife- then I'd ask for the 'off the record' advice of a medical practitioner.
     
  9. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member Staff Member

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    Hi supergaijin,

    It is true that the fetus resides within a fluid-filled membrane called the amniotic sac. The baby nevertheless needs to obtain a supply of O2 & to rid itself of waste gases. Through the umbilical cord, arteries carry waste products away from the fetus to the placenta, while a vein carries O2 & nutrients from the mother's bloodstream to the baby.

    There is good evidence that in adults gas bubbles can form within certain tissues and enter the circulation upon a decrease in ambient pressure. It is at least theoretically possible that under the right circumstances bubbles also could form within fetal tissues. In adults, bubbles tend to be filtered out by blood circulation through the lungs. However, in fetuses the lungs are not yet functional and are bypassed until the time of birth. Thus, any circulating venous bubbles would be directly arterialized. For this reason, even a small number of gas bubbles/arterial gas emboli could be quite dangerous.

    Regards,

    DocVikingo

    ---------- Post added August 15th, 2013 at 05:01 AM ----------

    Hi bennenrkc,

    For obvious reasons, there is very little known about this topic & the amount of data from human studies is very small--it can be argued either way.

    That being said, I believe that the following work puts forth a prudent position:

    "J Obstet Gynaecol. 2006 Aug;26(6):509-13.

    Scuba diving and pregnancy: can we determine safe limits?

    St Leger Dowse M, Gunby A, Moncad R, Fife C, Bryson P.

    Diving Diseases Research Centre, Hyperbaric Medical Centre, Plymouth, UK. marguerite@mstld.co.uk

    No human data, investigating the effects on the fetus of diving, have been published since 1989. We investigated any potential link between diving while pregnant and fetal abnormalities by evaluating field data from retrospective study No.1 (1990/2) and prospective study No.2 (1996/2000). Some 129 women reported 157 pregnancies over 1,465 dives. Latest gestational age reported while diving was 35 weeks. One respondent reported 92 dives during a single pregnancy, with two dives to 65 m in the 1st trimester. In study No.2 >90% of women ceased diving in the 1st trimester, compared with 65% in the earlier study. Overall, the women did not conduct enough dives per pregnancy, therefore no significant correlation between diving and fetal abnormalities could be established. These data indicate women are increasingly observing the diving industry recommendation and refraining from diving while pregnant. Field studies are not likely to be useful, or the way forward, for future diving and pregnancy research. Differences in placental circulation between humans and other animals limit the applicability of animal research for pregnancy and diving studies. It is unlikely that the effect of scuba diving on the unborn human fetus will be established."

    So why risk it?

    Regards,

    DocVikingo
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
    AFdivedoc, boulderjohn and 616fun like this.
  10. BabyDuck

    BabyDuck Orca

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Winterville, NC
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    thanks, doc.

    yes, i was gonna say that the risk (theoretical, yes, but who's gonna do experiments like this??) seems to me to be from bubbles. what if (again, theoretically) a bubble formed & lodged at the end of a capillary that was just about to be an arm? no arm, and not an accident.

    now, all *that* being said, i'll share that i had an entire bottle of wine the weekend before i figured out on monday that i was pregnant. nobody's perfect. but if theoretical risks are easy to avoid and have big possible consequences, i'd try to avoid them.

    have a great pregnancy!
     

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