Diving and pregnancy

Question:
Long time back I read in one of your magazine that you were looking for pregnant divers to study the affects of diving while pregnant. What happen to that survey. Please advise me where to find information about the above subject.

Answer:
The recently mailed European Alert Diver shows an article specifically dedicated to Diving Women. From this I extracted the following information which I hope your will find useful.

From Alert Diver, European Edition, II quarter 1999
PREGNANCY
Fitness and Diving Issues: There are few scientific data available regarding diving while pregnant: much of the available evidence is anecdotal. Some retrospective survey-type questionnaires have been performed, but these are limited by data interpretation. Nevertheless, researchers theorize that diving is in some ways similar to taking a drug:
the pharmacological effects of nitrogen or other inert gases and high oxygen partial pressure on a developing fetus are not completely known. There is the possibility that diving may induce bubbles in the fetus. Also, fluid retention during pregnancy may cause nasopharyngeal swelling, which can lead to nose and ear stuffiness and the risk of ear or
sinus squeezes. Pregnant women experiencing morning sickness, coupled with motion sickness, may have to deal with nausea and vomiting during a dive. This is at best an unpleasant experience, and it could lead to more serious problems if the diver panics. Due to the limited data available and the uncertainty of the effects of diving on a fetus,
it is recommended that scuba diving should be postponed until after the pregnancy.

RETURN TO DIVING AFTER GIVING BIRTH

 

Fitness and Diving Issues: After a vaginal delivery, women can usually resume light to moderate activity within one to three weeks. Obstetricians generally recommend avoiding sexual intercourse and immersion for 21 days postpartum. This allows the cervix to close, decreasing the risk of introducing infection into the genital tract. A good rule of thumb is to wait four weeks after delivery before returning to diving. After a cesarean delivery wound-healing has to be included in the equation. Most obstetricians advise waiting at least four to six weeks after this kind of delivery before resuming full activity. Given the need to regain some measure of lost conditioning, coupled with wound healing, and the significant weight-bearing load of carrying dive gear, it's advisable to wait at least

 

eight weeks after a C-section before returning to diving. Any moderate or severe medical complication of pregnancy - such as twins, pre-term labor, hypertension or diabetes - may further delay return to diving. For women who have had deliveries with medical complications, a medical screening and clearance are advisable before they return to

 

diving.

 

Additional Information: Caring for a newborn may interfere with a woman's attempts to recover her strength and stamina. Newborn care, characterized by poor sleep and fatigue, is a rigorous and demanding time in life.

 

BREAST-FEEDING

 

Fitness and Diving Issues: From the standpoint of the child, the mother's breast milk is not unduly affected. The nitrogen absorbed into the body tissues is an inert gas and plays no role in body metabolism. Insignificant amounts of this nitrogen would be present in the mother's breast milk; there is, however, no risk of the infant accumulating this nitrogen. From the mother's standpoint, there is no reason for a woman who is breast-feeding her child to avoid diving, provided there is no infection or inflammation of the breast.