If you’re here you probably want to know why can’t pregnant women ride roller coasters. This guide will help you figure out why, and what can you do while carrying your child.
As a mommy-to-be, you must be tired of all the restrictions. You can’t get into the hot tub, strut around in stilettos, or drink gallons of coffee to stay sane.
You can’t enjoy some wine and sushi – and that’s not the worst thing, because it is advisable that pregnant women do not ride roller coasters. But why?
From the moment you get tested, and the sonogram shows a little bean in you, everything stops being just about you alone to become about “you two”.
You must avoid certain movements and postures – including going on a roller coaster ride. It can cause complications at different stages of pregnancy.
Why Can’t Pregnant Women Ride Roller Coasters?
Life as a pregnant woman is quite restrictive. That’s because, during this phase, your health is in a sensitive condition, not to mention the life growing inside you and turning into a fully formed human being, little by little, that will one day live and breathe on its own without depending on you to stay alive.
That’s why you have to deal with the frustrating restrictions. Visiting an amusement park to enjoy some fun activities and laugh out loud without worrying about having to be on guard all the time might seem like a good idea.
But you have to be careful there, too, like not going for a ride on the roller coaster.
Roller coasters – and all thrill rides – offer jarring forces, vigorous starts and stops, and rapid twists and turns.
There’s also pressure against the body when the vehicle speeds along. These forces can be harmful to you during pregnancy, causing anything from discomfort to severe situations.
Riding a roller coaster can also cause your blood pressure to rise, which is not a good thing.
In addition, sitting like that can put stress on your abdomen. You can also feel quite uncomfortable being tightly strapped.
In the later stages of your pregnancy, these can make your unborn baby uncomfortable, too.
Health Concerns Caused By Roller Coasters During Pregnancy
The major cause for concern regarding riding the roller coaster while you’re pregnant is getting a placental abruption.
It is a harmful effect of riding roller coasters during pregnancy that can harm the fetus as well as the mother.
But the idea of risk is theoretical, as no conclusive research has been done.
Placental abruption is when the placenta gets separated prematurely from the walls of the uterus.
This can happen as a result of forces and body shaking while riding roller coasters.
This condition causes excessive hemorrhaging. The splitting of the placenta from the uterine lining causes massive bleeding.
When you are in the first trimester, the fetus is still in the process of securing itself in the uterus after getting implanted.
On the other hand, in the following stages of pregnancy, The placenta supplies nutrition to the fetus and keeps it in place. So, placental abruption can be a problem at any stage.
Besides internal bleeding, placental abruption can rob the fetus of nutrition, and as a result, the infant can be born with low body weight, which is a bad sign.
The condition can also prove to be fatal for the child and the mother. Remember that placental abruption can be caused during car accidents, as well.
There are different theories regarding whether or not the first trimester is safe for a roller coaster ride.
Some experts believe that the fetus is still in its initial growth stage and is protected inside the mother’s body.
Others suggest that during this stage, the fetus and the mother are both in a vulnerable condition.
However, placental abruptions and even miscarriages are known to take place due to jarring motions and forces even in the early stages of pregnancy.
So it is better to be on the safe side, whether you are in the later or the early stage of your pregnancy. This will prevent any possibility of harm to you or the fetus.
For obvious reasons and protocols, no study has so far been possible to check the exact effect of roller coasters on pregnant women.
So the risks are predicted based on the fact that such thrill rides cause rapid motion and heavy forces. It’s also true that no such ride is declared safe during pregnancy.
In fact, at every amusement park, the thrill rides have a sign to warn pregnant women not to get on them.
So the APA (American Pregnancy Association) does not recommend riding roller coasters to prevent the forces and jerks caused during a ride from causing placental abruption or miscarriage.
Apart from these major problems, other complications may also be induced because of riding roller coasters or other thrill rides during pregnancy.
Unfortunately, you will not be able to detect such complications immediately. Usually, signs of complications arise after a couple of hours, at the very least.
You can experience constant abdominal cramps that may refuse to subside even after a long time.
You can also face discomfort, severe pain in the back and stomach, and sudden and strengthening abdominal aches.
Vaginal bleeding is also a possibility. If any of this takes place, contact your doctor immediately.
It is always a good idea to be careful and avoid roller coasters, and thrill rides completely when you visit the amusement park.
But if you have already taken a roller coaster ride recently but have faced no major or minor complication, you have no reason to worry. Chances are you’re safe, and the fetus is secure, too.
Picking Amusement Park Rides For Pregnant Women
Clearly, it’s ideal to avoid roller coasters – or thrill rides. Does that mean you have to stay away from theme parks for 40 whole weeks? Well, not really.
You don’t need to wait for your child to grow up to visit Disneyland or Universal Studios, as long as you exercise a little discretion while picking rides.
It’s simple: stay away from all thrill rides and tilt-a-whirl. To avoid jerks and forces, stay away from bumper cars.
Avoid rides that are too bumpy or rough, and look out for warning signs for pregnant women.
To make things easier, just pick rides that are safe for toddlers. These should be safe for you.
You should also stay away from rides that have height restrictions. But don’t forget: just because a ride doesn’t have a height restriction doesn’t mean it will not be uncomfortable.
So know your ride before you get onto it. In addition, boats or other rides might be difficult or too low for you to get into.
If you decide to take a ride and change your mind while you’re in the queue, don’t worry! Simply look for the nearest exit.
Cast members in the loading area should be able to help you with that. It’s a good idea to do some research. A park map should be able to help you get an overview of the rides there.
How To Enjoy A Safe Amusement Park Visit During Pregnancy
As already mentioned, you can enjoy a visit to your favorite theme park even if you are pregnant.
You don’t have to stop living till the baby comes! In fact, if you can take a few calls to stay safe there, a day at the amusement park can actually be good for you, as you enjoy some joy, laughter, and walking around.
Here are some ways for a safe day at the amusement park while pregnant:
a) Wear light clothes.
Whether it’s a day trip or you’re planning a short stay there, pick clothes that are loose and comfortable.
Shapeless tees and loose pants work better than flowy dresses. Don’t forget to ditch the heels, as well!
b) Carry your snacks.
You probably know that hunger pangs can be frequent and intense during pregnancy.
So carry your own snacks instead of spending on them at the park. After all, snacks in amusement parks can be expensive.
c) Pack a comfortable bag.
Style and comfort are not always mutually exclusive. But if you have to choose, go with comfort.
Choose a large bag with compartments and pack it in such a way that you don’t have to rummage through it.
d) Stay hydrated.
It’s very important to drink lots of water throughout the day, even if that entails a few extra toilet-runs.
It’s best to carry your own water because bottles at amusement parks can cost as much as unicorn tears.
e) Take pain relievers.
Speak to your doctor and make sure to carry some pain relievers. You’ll hate it if you are out there with your family to have fun but have to slow things down because of pain. Pain killers can be a good option.
f) Get support belts.
As you go further along with your pregnancy, back and neck pains are common.
To prevent these, you can use a maternity support belt made of elastic straps and attached with velcro to alleviate your pain.
g) Schedule breaks.
Having fun can be exhausting. So, instead of continuing with your fun spree at a theme park, it’s a good idea to take breaks every now and then for lunch, drinks, or go back to the hotel for a quick nap to rest.
h) Don’t ignore meals and food habits.
Don’t skip meals in your quest to have fun. The best thing would be to make a reservation to ensure that you are on time for meals.
Consider your food choices as pregnancy can affect cravings and aversions.
i) Take it easy.
It’s a good idea to plan ahead and go out there for an enjoyable day. But remember that there is no deadline or target to complete X number of rides or cover Y miles. After all, it’s about having fun!
All these precautions might seem like a buzzkill, but they really are not. You can enjoy your trip to the theme park and still stay safe.
You must be wondering – is there anything left to do in the amusement park after all this? YES! You can still do a lot of interesting things even if you skip thrill rides and stay cautious.
Things to do in an amusement park as a pregnant woman include the following:
1. Family/kids-friendly rides
Knuckle-whitening thrill rides might be fun, but they also come with a lot of restrictions. So pick rides in the daily zones, which are safe for kids and have no constraints, so that you can be safe and comfortable.
Look for a funfair zone full of arcades, mini-golf, competitions, and more. They are full of fun-loving people. So be careful not to get a belly bump. But who knows? You may walk out winning a teddy bear!
3. Theme park shows
Many theme parks offer incredible shows, from dance performances to fireworks extravaganzas. These are among the major attractions – you must not miss them!
4. Hidden attractions
Some attractions in theme parks attract so much more attention than many of them get overlooked. So, to avoid long queues, you can find these hidden gems and enjoy them.
5. Behind-the-scenes tours
Since we are discussing stepping off the beaten path, another great way to enjoy your day at the theme park is to enjoy a guided tour to peek behind the curtains.
Participating in special festivals like Christmas or Valentine’s Day, dining at theme park restaurants and eateries, enjoying the amenities of the hotel or resort – even without the thrill rides, there’s still a lot more to do at an amusement park. So, unleash the kid inside you and have a memorable trip there.
Fun Outdoor Activities for Pregnant Women
Are you tired of sitting inside the house during your pregnancy? Waiting for your little one does not need to be boring.
You and your partner and family can enjoy outdoor activities that are safe for you, and you don’t have to make a big plan to go to an expensive theme park! A little fresh air will be good for you.
Here are some fun things to do during pregnancy:
- Hiking/Camping: Select easy hiking trails and enjoy a walk at your own pace. It will be a great form of exercise while you enjoy fresh air, away from the pollution and noise of the city streets.
- Swimming: Swimming is considered one of the safest and the best forms of exercise for a pregnant woman. So enjoy floating around in the water and enjoying so much-needed exercise.
- Gardening: This is a great way to spend time amidst nature and bask in some sunlight. Gardening is an excellent hobby to enjoy some activity and get a sense of accomplishment.
- Outdoor Yoga/Lamaze: Those who conduct Lamaze and yoga sessions for pregnant women are getting creative every day. So it won’t be difficult to find outdoor classes to exercise in the open.
- Nature Parks Visits: There are plenty of nature-based parks waiting for you – bird sanctuaries, botanical gardens, animal sanctuaries, and more. Take long walks there to relax and have fun.
- Outdoor Couples Activities: To make sure that the romance stays alive, you and your partner can go for fun outdoor activities together like food festivals, outdoor dance classes, and more!
- Picnic: There’s always the chance to go the extra mile and make a fun plan to enjoy a simple day outside by planning a picnic. It can be anywhere you like – be it a park or in your own backyard!
There’s a lot more than you can do if you get a little creative. From hosting a movie night on the rooftop to enjoying a boat ride or a long drive, there are plenty of options, as long as you know you are safe.
It’s best to carry food and water with you. You should also consult your doctor to discuss these plans.
Activities To Avoid During Pregnancy
As you already know, pregnancy means you have to stay away from a number of activities that you would be able to enjoy without a fetus growing into a human in your belly.
While exercise and yoga are recommended, you have to stay away from a number of recreational activities and hardcore exercises.
Here are a few recreational activities and exercises to avoid when you are pregnant –
- Cycling: Riding around on a bicycle is unsafe after the second trimester. It can be dangerous as the balance can be affected by any shift in the center of gravity. Try stationary bikes, instead.
- Contact Sports: Athletic activities can cause injury because of collisions, falls, getting hit by the ball, and more. You must stay away from playing sports, like soccer, volleyball, hockey, and rugby.
- Moderate/High Dynamic Sports: Tennis, badminton, squash, and similar sports can cause strain, especially after the second trimester due to sudden stops and high-intensity movements.
- Gymnastics: This is another form of exercise and sports where there’s a risk of causing trauma to your abdomen or back or of falling down. It’s best not to indulge in gymnastics during pregnancy.
- Horseback Riding: The best that you should do on a horse’s back is take a walk, even if you’re an experienced rider. This will prevent unnecessary jerking movements if the horse runs or jumps.
- Running: Jogging in moderation and brisk walks are fine. But avoid running too much, especially from the second trimester onward. It will keep away jerks, speed, and overheating of the body.
- Surfing: Surfing might be a fun activity when you hit the sea, but it is also likely to cause trauma to your abdomen. Plus, there is always the risk of losing balance and hurting yourself if you fall.
- Diving: Another tempting sporting activity when you’re at sea is diving, but it is a strict no-no when you are pregnant. When you hit the water, the force can be harmful to the unborn baby.
- Scuba Diving: Scuba diving needs you to exhale and inhale slowly and then pause. It’s not a regular breathing pattern. Air bubbles in the bloodstream as you surface can be harmful, too.
- Jet Skiing: Apart from the possibility of a fall or trauma to the abdomen, jet skiing also means causing vibrations. It can be harmful and induce premature birth. It can even lead to miscarriage.
- Water Skiing: During pregnancy, you need to avoid activities and sports that are bumpy and cause falls or abdominal trauma. Water skiing checks all the boxes and hence must be avoided.
- Skiing/Snowboarding: Skiing and snowboarding, especially when you’re going downhill along steep slopes, can cause severe falls, leading to injuries to you and harming your unborn baby.
Any recreational activity that can hurt your belly, abdomen, or back or lead to jerks, sudden movements, or falls should be kept off your list.
Stay away from exercises that need jumping and jerky motions, as well as yoga positions involving inversion, bending of the back, or pressure on the abdomen and back.
While we are on the subject of discussing what kind of activities you should avoid, you will be interested to know that certain activities that might seem harmless should also be avoided.
These include sitting for too long, standing without any motion, or exercising while you’re on your back, or holding your breath.
Don’t stay away from amusement during your pregnancy because there are plenty of rides in a theme park that are safe for you.
All you need to do is stay away from thrill rides like roller coasters to ensure you aren’t subjected to huge forces or abrupt motion.
Talk to your doctor about what rides you can take.
While no study can be conducted to prove whether or not the roller coaster is safe for pregnant women, the APA still advises against riding it.
That’s because of the force and motion of this ride – or every similar thrill ride.
To enjoy a safe and fun day at the theme park and pick rides that are suited for preschoolers.
We hope you enjoyed this guide about roller coasters and pregnancy, and if you’re currently pregnant, make sure to also check out our article about exercising during pregnancy to learn what you can, and can’t do