Pregnant, I go to winter sports?

Should you give up this year to the joys of the mountain because you are pregnant? Rest assured, if it is not question to consider an equipped in Everest, a stay in a winter sports resort is quite conceivable with your belly round, respecting just certain precautions.

Altitude: it depends on the stage of your pregnancy

  • Oxygen being rarer at altitude, it usually takes two or three days to feel "on your plate" when you arrive from the plain at altitude. At 1000 or 1200 meters, sensitive people can feel the effects: physical exercise seems more painful, breathing and heartbeats accelerate. Beyond 3000 meters, about one in four people starts to have disorders: headaches, nausea, vertigo ...
  • During pregnancy, your oxygen consumption increases steadily to meet the needs of your baby (with a 30% increase in the 3rd trimester) and your body secretes hormones that help your lungs to better "ventilate". A hormonal boost that works in your favor up to moderate alti-studies, 1000 meters approximately: while the oxygen level of your blood is not different from that of a woman who is not pregnant you will find it easier to adapt. At 1500 or 1800 meters altitude, however, the lack of oxygen will be more felt, especially if your term is close, because your future baby requires more oxygen.
  • However, the reasonable altitudes of the French stations allow all future mothers - in the absence of particular problems - to stay in the mountains. In any case, never venture more than 2,500 meters.

Sliding sports: watch out for falls

  • All board sports are at risk of falling or collision. The main risk? Miscarriage or premature labor. If all falls do not lead to miscarriage (depending on the strength of the impact and your health), they can affect your pregnancy. During these nine months, your ligaments are more lax, which increases the risk of sprain or dislocation.
  • By gaining weight, you also become more unstable ... think about it.
  • Finally, your future baby tends to tap into your calcium reserves if it is missing and your bones are then more fragile. In case of fracture, the consolidation will be longer and immobilization plastered can cause phlebitis, a complication that particularly threatens future mothers.

What if you went cross-country skiing or snowshoeing this year?

  • During pregnancy, cross-country skiing is the least dangerous. It is usually done at medium altitudes, better supported in your state. If you choose courses with moderate gradients (and if you are in good health), you can practice downhill skiing until the 7th month of pregnancy without worry. It is an excellent outdoor activity that makes all muscles work and improves breathing. Be careful however, it is also a very "physical" activity: listen to your tiredness and take frequent breaks. Other sports advised to future moms, snowshoes and walking (taking care to wear shoes well rising to avoid any risk of twisting your ankle)!
  • Doctors recommend caution to pregnant women and advise against alpine skiing beyond the 4th month. If your level is very good, you can continue a little longer. Instead, choose a small quiet resort and your ski week outside school breaks. In any case, avoid rush hours, difficult or bad tracks, and do not venture off track, of course.

Cold, weather ... vigilance is required

  • During pregnancy, your hormones are more sensitive to temperature changes. But in the mountains, the cold can fall quickly without warning, when the fog rises or at dusk. Cover well on the slopes and play the overlays with "layers" to remove or add at the option of the clouds and the sun, throughout the day.
  • In the mountains, also pay attention to the wind: a temperature of -5 ° C by a wind 40 km / h, it's like a good -15 or -20 ° C. How to protect yourself effectively? A good windbreaker!
  • Another advice that is not only for future moms, but is even more important: never go hiking without knowing the weather. If the forecasts are too bad, it is better to give up.

Mountain: pay attention to the pregnancy mask ... and to your eyes

  • In future mothers, exposure to the sun promotes the appearance of brown spots on the face is the mask pregnancy. A risk that is greater in the mountains. Even in cloudy weather, the sun emits invisible rays, ultraviolet, much more harmful than brightness. These rays spread through clouds and are reflected on any surface with more or less intensity: water reflects 5 to 10% of UV and snow, 85%! In addition, at altitude, the amount of UV increases by 10% every 1000 meters.
  • Limit exposure during hours of maximum sunlight and give up sunbathing at high altitude terraces at lunchtime. Even if the sun is overcast, solar radiation often reaches 60 to 80% of that usually received in clear skies.
  • Wear covering clothes, do not forget the cap or visor cap. A total screen index 50 is indispensable in all weather. Apply it in the morning before going out and regularly throughout the day. The sticks are easy to use on the cheekbones, lips and nose, even on the tracks.
  • In the mountains, the ultraviolet is much more intense, so remember to protect your eyes with a good pair of glasses adapted to skiing. Because of the wind, the cold, the lack of oxygen ... the eyes are put to the test, especially those of the future mothers because the action of the hormones of the pregnancy (still them) prevents a good hydration of the cornea.

The pregnant mountain, be wise on the health side

  • In your luggage, do not forget to pack all your pregnancy papers, prescriptions, ultrasounds in case of emergency ...
  • Before you leave, always ask for the advice of your doctor and gynecologist and find out about the ski resort where you will be staying (medical antennas and nearest maternity clinic). Indeed, some resorts are difficult to access in winter and no mountain road, even well maintained, is really safe from a snowfall or avalanche that will make it temporarily impractical. If your condition suddenly requires medical attention, it may be difficult to come back down the valley quickly. Be proactive ... to make the most of the joy of the holidays!

Karine Ancelet