Maybe you’re traveling to New York and want to skate at Rockefeller Center, or maybe your friends just found a really great Groupon for your local ice-skating rink. In any case, if you’re pregnant, you may want to think twice before lacing up your skates. When you ask your OB-GYN if it’s safe to ice skate while pregnant, chances are the answer is going to be a hard no.
Why You Should Skip Ice Skating During Pregnancy
“It’s not ideal to ice skate while pregnant,” says Megan Gray, M.D., OB-GYN at Orlando Health Physician Associates, in an interview with Romper. “It’s a very high risk for falling, and you run the risk of hitting your abdomen, and then there’s risk for trauma to the placenta and complications for the baby. Trauma can cause the placenta to pull away from the uterus and is a surgical emergency. Any kind of sport that has a high risk for falling is not the sport to be doing while pregnant.”
“Pregnant people should avoid any physical activity or exercise with a risk of falling or impact of one’s body against the ground or hard surfaces,” says Sharlay Butler, M.D., MPH, OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Blunt abdominal trauma in pregnancy can have both fetal and maternal complications.”
Injuring Yourself During Pregnancy Has Big Impacts On Your Own Body, Too
Gray says that if you want to go skating in your first trimester, you aren’t likely to harm the baby “because the uterus is still in the pelvis and protected by the pelvic bone.” But if you fall, you could still injure yourself. And the risks associated with getting hurt while pregnant might outweigh the fun of a day on the ice.
She explains that if a mom-to-be injures herself, like spraining an ankle or breaking a bone, there are many pain medications you’re not allowed to take when expecting. If you needed surgery to repair an injury, going under anesthesia comes with way more risks than it does when you’re not pregnant, like blood clots.
According to Gray’s Instagram bio, she’s a former college gymnast, which means she knows all about using your center of balance in sports. She says even experienced skaters should sit out until after they’ve given birth because your balance might be different than you’re used to.
“Your balance changes when you’re pregnant to accommodate the growth of your abdomen, which changes the curvature of your spine and your center of gravity, and you don’t realize it,” she says. “The hormone relaxin is produced during pregnancy and makes the ligaments laxer and allows the bones to move around more in the pelvis and the spine. It may not change whether you fall or not, but it may make it more uncomfortable if you do fall, because things are already a little misaligned.”
What Other Winter Sports Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?
While we’re on the topic, maybe take a rain check on most winter sports this year.
“Sledding, tubing, skiing, snowboarding — all of those are high risk for impact from falling or hitting something, like a tree or another person,” says Gray. “There’s always snow shoeing and drinking hot cocoa beside the fire. I know you’re going to miss out on fun but it’s worth the wait.”
Megan Gray, M.D., OB-GYN at Orlando Health Physician Associates
Sharlay Butler, M.D., MPH, OB-GYN at Brigham and Women’s Hospital