Most adventure-seekers agree that roller coasters are a top attraction at amusement parks, but for pregnant women, these rides can be dangerous. Learn what health experts have to say about riding a roller coaster while pregnant.
Pregnancy is already full of ups and downs – but if that’s not enough, you may be tempted to ride a roller coaster. While you may know women who have ridden thrill rides while pregnant without any adverse effects, this activity is not recommended for expectant moms.
Shortly after finding out I was pregnant with my second child, my husband surprised me with a week-long vacation to Disney World. While I was excited for the trip, in the back of my mind I wondered how the trip would affect my health.
I didn’t want to sit and watch as the rest of my family had fun – I wanted to partake in the adventure. However, I knew no ride was worth potentially harming my baby.
“From a statistical standpoint, there has yet to be any published research warning against this or any other type of amusement ride,” says Krissi Danielsson, author of After Miscarriage. “On the other hand, we do know harm can and does arise from the rapid deceleration of moving vehicles.”
Riding roller coasters is not considered safe at any stage in pregnancy. Fortunately, I’ve found that most amusement parks contain other rides and activities that are safe for pregnant women to enjoy. Also remember that you can return to the park and enjoy the more high-risk rides after you deliver your baby.
Roller Coaster Symptoms: Nausea
Nausea, otherwise known as “morning sickness” is a common occurrence in early pregnancy. In fact, as many as 90 percent of all pregnant women experience some degree of nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, according to Dr. Jennifer Niebyl, head of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine.
Similar to getting car sick, nausea can become considerably worse after riding a roller coaster.
If you’re pregnant, just say “no” to roller coasters. What makes roller coasters a health risk is the jarring motions that occur throughout the ride, as well as the rapid starts and stops. Such movements can put an excessive amount of pressure on the abdomen.
While rare, the mere force of a roller coaster while in motion could cause the placenta to detach from the wall of the uterus, a dangerous condition known as placenta abruption.
“A placental abruption occurs when the placenta becomes partially or wholly separated from the wall of the uterus as a result of bleeding between the placenta and the uterine wall, reducing or cutting off the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the baby,” says Ann Douglas and John R. Sussman, M.D., authors of Trying Again. “Placental abruptions occur in one in 150 pregnancies.”
Just Don’t Risk It
While the likelihood of a roller coaster causing harm to your baby is rare, there is a small risk. Most expectant mothers agree that it’s better to be safe than sorry. Take recommendations from amusement parks and use your own judgement and avoid roller coasters and other rides that may pose a health risk to mom or baby.