Pregnancy

Sledding during pregnancy has some risks, experts say.
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Everything You Need To Know About Sledding During Pregnancy

Can you give in to your kids' pleads to hit the snowy hills in the neighborhood this winter?

There’s a lot to avoid during pregnancy, and some of it kind of works in your favor — no heavy lifting, no litter box cleaning — but there are some fun winter activities you might want to enjoy during pregnancy that are a little iffy. Sledding sounds totally fun most days, but sledding while pregnant has its own risks to consider, and it might be time for you to put your toboggan away for next year. If you want to go sledding while pregnant, you’ll need to hear some ground rules about safety, and also consider modifying your sledding activities during pregnancy, like maybe just having your partner pull you along a flat space instead of careening down a hill.

Can You Go Sledding While Pregnant?

OB-GYN Dr. Lora Shahine tells Romper that every pregnancy and person is unique and there’s no one guideline that affects every person and every pregnancy. “In general, most people who are pregnant and low risk can enjoy lots of activities and pregnancy and be safe. If someone has a history of complicated pregnancies in the past, being followed closely by their medical team for cervical issues or bleeding in pregnancy, their medical team will likely advise not taking any risks with high impact physical activity.” And that’s where you need to consider just how “high impact” your sledding activity is. Are you going to hop on a sled during pregnancy and go down a steep hill, waiting to crash into a snowdrift? Probably not the best option. Would you like to sit with your toddler and sled down your tiny hump of a backyard? Most likely OK.

OB-GYN Kecia Gaither agrees and says that any potentially strenuous outdoor activity should always be cleared with your healthcare provider, but sledding specifically falls under a warning. “The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends ‘activities with a high risk of falling or abdominal trauma should be avoided during pregnancy.’ Sledding is a major risk for collision and abdominal injury,” she says. “​​Trauma to the abdomen can cause placental abruption — separation of the placenta from the uterus, while the fetus is still inside of the womb — which can fatally injure both mother and child.”

And don’t forget your balance is a bit off when you’re pregnant due to the growing bump. Gaither says, “Broken bones, sprains, and strains are also potential adverse outcomes.”

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Placental Abruption Symptoms

Placental abruption can decrease or block the baby’s supply of oxygen and nutrients and can cause heavy bleeding in the mother, reported Mayo Clinic. Signs and symptoms include vaginal bleeding (although there may not be any bleeding), abdominal pain, back pain, uterine tenderness, rigidity, or contractions coming one right after another.

Winter Activities To Avoid While Pregnant

Dr. Rudolf Probst tells Romper that along with sledding, ice skating, snow shoveling, saunas, and hot tubs are other activities you should avoid while pregnant. Basically anything where you can have a hard impact and slam into something or fall down is a huge risk during pregnancy. If your kid really wants you to sled, maybe try sitting on a sled as your partner pulls you and your child along, or try making snow angels instead. (Have someone nearby to help you up off the ground though!)

Winter Activities You Can Do While Pregnant

If you’re missing the snowy mountains, skiing during pregnancy can be a less risky activity, as long as you are an experienced skier (so less likely to fall) and stick to slopes you know. Probst adds that going for walks in the snow, and of course sipping hot chocolate near a fire, are safe winter activities you can also partake in. And may I add that these two activities sound way more relaxing?

So while every person and pregnancy is different, it’s probably a good idea to avoid sledding while pregnant, especially if you’re in the second or third trimester. Opt for that hot chocolate inside your home warming your swollen feet by the fire instead.

Experts:

Dr. Lora Shahine, double-board certified in reproductive endocrinology, infertility, obstetrics, and gynecology, author, and founder of the Center for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss.

Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, a double board-certified physician in OB-GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, and director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health.

Dr. Rudolf Probst, specializing in immunology, gynecology, internal medicine and surgery.