There's a beautiful woman named Liza Edwards who's making headlines for her love of surfing. Nothing too unusual about that, right? Well, she's also 38 weeks pregnant.
Edwards hails from Queensland and intends to keep surfing until she gives birth. In fact, she's hoping her waters will break in the ocean.
"Ideally my waters will break in the water," she jokingly said. "It's not an option for my child not to like surfing. I have one 2 1/2-year-old right now, and he's already been up on the board a few times. In the meantime, personally I'll definitely keep surfing until the baby is born."
Is surfing while pregnant common? And are there not some logistical difficulties as well as risks for those who choose to do it?
Edwards is part of a group called Surfing Mums Australia, and she revealed that there several pregnant women are part of this group, including "one woman who is 28 weeks gone" who she usually goes surfing with.
Nadine Smith, from Byron Bay in New South Wales, surfed several times a week well into her third trimester (in fact, up to one week before her due date) — and gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby boy.
Then there's Bethany Hamilton, who surfed well into her pregnancy and defended her decision to do so by explaining the importance of keeping fit during pregnancy.
"As enthusiastic as I am to keep a healthy me and stay strong for surfing and life, I think it is important to rest when you need to and not overdo it. Our body works hard, and we need to care for it. But with that in mind, giving birth may be one of the most physical events a woman goes through, so being active and keeping muscles alive and ready is what I believe we need to do," she said.
However, not everyone agrees that surfing while pregnant is a good idea.
"Surfers have a chance of falling in the water, and hitting big waves can cause trauma to the abdomen," Dr. Daniel Roshan, an OB-GYN with NYU Langone Medical Center, told New York Daily News, adding that mums-to-be can still exercise but should keep things light.
"Pregnant women should avoid holding their breath, falling, taking a hit, mild abdominal trauma and waist twisting actions, all of which occur frequently when you are surfing," said Peter Lemon, a personal trainer specialising in pregnancy. "Even the 'pop up' action of standing up on the board could be problematic for a pregnant woman. If the conditions are very calm, and you have some previous experience, then you should consider swapping your surfboard for a stand up paddle-board when you are pregnant."
Seea swimwear designer and avid surfer, Amanda Chinchelli (who surfed up until six months while pregnant), revealed that her doctor claimed that if surfing was her sport and she felt comfortable doing it, then yes, it was safe. Although, she notes that "you have to be more aware of the people around you and avoid falling in certain ways, but if you are proficient you should be able to continue to surf confidently."
While it is important to keep active and healthy during pregnancy, and whether you should surf or not largely depends on your proficiency, the most important thing to remember is that everyone's bodies are different. You should consult your doctor to ensure that you are doing what is best for your baby's health and not pushing your body beyond its limits.
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