Halloween Horror Nights. Howl-O-Scream. Scary movies and events galore. If you love getting a rush during October but have a baby on board this year, you may be wondering: Can you go to a haunted house if you’re pregnant? As it turns out, it’s considered totally safe as long as you don’t get too physical in the tight quarters of a haunted mansion.
Brittney Pohler, PA-C, MPH, at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – College Station, told Romper in an interview that expectant mamas can still enjoy some spooks and scares during the Halloween season.
“In general, we consider them safe. For most haunted houses, the length of time is usually less than 30 minutes to an hour, and that’s kind of the same as moderate physical exercise. I don’t think just the heart rate aspect alone is worrisome for the mom or baby.”
“Unless the haunted house requires physical activity that the woman cannot do, like crawling on the floor at an advanced stage of pregnancy, they are safe,” says Alicia Johnson, MSN, RNC-EFM, certified nurse midwife at Lone Tree OB-GYN and Midwives in Denver, in an interview with Romper. While chronic high stress can affect mom and baby’s health during pregnancy, a few jump scares won’t hurt anyone.
“Prolonged depression or stress can affect a woman's ability to maintain her own health during her pregnancy, but going to a haunted house for fun will not affect the pregnancy. It is really up to the woman what she feels comfortable doing.”
Just like it’s OK — even recommended — to exercise during pregnancy, getting your heart beating faster is totally fine. An OB-GYN’s main concern would be bumping the baby bump. It’s crucial for pregnant women to avoid slips, falls, and physical injury to themselves and their bellies.
“Haunted houses have props everywhere and are poorly lit, so we don’t want you tripping or falling,” Pohler says. “We don’t want you to be pushed. I think if you’re going, be careful and aware of those things, and maybe have someone whose arm you can hold onto. Most haunted houses are not interactive and the staff can’t touch you, so that shouldn’t be an issue. We just want to avoid trauma to the belly.”
She adds that while all pregnant women should be wary of tripping and falling, moms in their third trimester have, of course, the largest bellies, making it easier to bump and bruise them. If you’re pregnant and visiting a haunted house this month, Pohler recommends listening to your body. If you experience any abnormal sensations while in the house, just don’t visit more afterward if you’re somewhere like Halloween Horror Nights with a whole slew of scare zones.
“I tell my patients they’re the best indicator and to listen to their body. If they’re getting crampy or feeling uncomfortable, maybe don’t continue all through the night,” she says.
And just like a theme park or carnival, which warns pregnant women about riding thrill rides, Johnson recommends checking with the haunted house for their liability rules.