Are Bumpy Boat Rides Safe During Pregnancy?

Generally, bumpy boat rides are considered safe during pregnancy, given certain precautions are taken.

It’s important for expectant mothers to measure their level of comfort and personal risk when making the decision to embark on a boat ride that might present potentially rough movements.

One primary concern raised is the impact the harsh motion and vibrations may have on the fetus. These sudden and often intense movements could potentially stress the developing baby, leading to complications.

Thus, it’s recommended for pregnant women not to undertake boat rides in rough waters, where unexpected bumps are more likely.

It is worth noting that every individual pregnancy has its own specifics. That is why it is important to consult with a healthcare provider before deciding to go boating during this delicate period.

This consultation should discuss all potential risks and the specifics of the woman’s pregnancy, ensuring an informed decision can be made.

It’s also been pointed out that there are factors other than physical jolting that might be of concern during boating.

These include the possibility of facing rough weather, issues with available medical supplies, potential discomfort, the likelihood of dehydration, and sanitation issues.

In all while bumpy boat rides are not per se considered dangerous for pregnant women, a decision to partake in such an activity must necessarily be individual and based on personal comfort, health, and the careful consideration of potential external factors.

What are some factors pregnant women need to consider deciding to go boating?

Here are some considerations to take notes

1. Consult your doctor

Before you plan to go on any boat ride, it’s important to discuss with your doctor first. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific health and pregnancy status.

2. Choose the right boat

The type of boat you plan on riding can make a huge difference. Smaller ones usually have bumpier rides especially in rough waters, which can be uncomfortable and unsafe.

Larger and more stable boats and ferries may provide smoother and safer experiences.

3. Check the weather

Rough seas can make any boat ride more uncomfortable and potentially risky for pregnant women.

Always check the weather forecast and water conditions before setting out and consider postponing your trip if conditions are unfavorable.

4. Wear appropriate safety gear

Make sure you and all other persons on board wear life jackets and other safety gear as required by local regulations and guidelines.

5. Seating and Support

Pregnant women should choose comfortable seating with adequate back support, and if needed, consider using cushions to reduce vibrations

6. Stay hydrated and well nourished

Pregnancy can increase the risk of dehydration and morning sickness. Go along with enough water and snacks to stay hydrated and maintain your sugar levels.

7. Listen to your body

Pay close attention to how you feel during the boat ride. If you experience discomfort, dizziness, nausea, or any other unusual symptom, inform the boat operator and consider discontinuing the ride.

8. Get breaks and avoid high impact activities

if you re on a long session, consider taking breaks to stretch your legs, use the restroom, etc. Consequently, if the boat ride includes activities like water skiing, tubing, or other high-impact sports, it’s generally best to avoid participating while pregnant.

Can a bumpy boat ride cause miscarriage?

The risk of miscarriage during a bumpy boat rides basically depends on various factors, including the stage of pregnancy, the severity of the bumps, boat type, safe weather conditions and your overall health.

In general, a typical, moderate-speed boat ride on relatively calm waters is unlikely to directly cause a miscarriage. However, it’s important to consider the following:

#1 Stage of pregnancy

In the earlier stages, including the first trimester, miscarriage risk is usually high due to factors like genetic abnormalities.

During this time, some pregnant individuals may choose to be more cautious about activities that involve physical jolts or bumps, such as rough boat rides.

However, most pregnant women find the second trimester the most comfortable time for various activities like boating. At this stage, the risk of complications is pretty much lower and you’re likely to have more energy and feel less nauseated.

As you progress into the third trimester, balancing changes and you might feel more uncomfortable because of the increasing size of the baby bump.

Regardless of the trimester you find yourself, it still becomes necessary to discuss this activity with your doctor as your health condition is also a crucial factor.

#2 Type of boat and water conditions

Smaller boats or vessels with less stability can result in a bumpier ride, especially in choppy or rough waters.

Excessive jolting and turbulence can be uncomfortable and potentially risky for a pregnant woman. Larger, more stable boats or ferries typically provide a smoother and safer experience.

#3 Individual health

The health and medical history of the pregnant individual play a significant role in determining how well they can tolerate physical activities during pregnancy.

If you have preexisting conditions or some complications, then it may be advisable to avoid activities that involve physical stress completely.

While a bumpy boat ride alone is unlikely to directly cause a miscarriage, it’s crucial to consider the factors mentioned above and prioritize your comfort and safety.

How many weeks pregnant can you go on a boat?

There are actually no hard and fast rules as to when a pregnant woman should stop boating. However, for cruises, there are some strict guidelines.

Major cruise lines usually enforce a policy that allows expectant mothers to sail up to their 23rd week of pregnancy. Beyond that, or if the 24th week will be entered at any time during the cruise, they are typically not allowed to board.

While determining if it’s safe to go on a boat during pregnancy, it’s suggested that you consider your pregnancy term, overall health, comfort levels, and the type of boating activity involved.

For instance, a gentle sail on calm waters might be safer than a speedboat ride across choppy waves.

Moreover, regardless of the pregnancy stage, it’s important for expectant mothers to consult their healthcare providers before engaging in such activities.

Every pregnancy is unique, and factors that may lead to a higher-risk pregnancy might require one to abstain from boating.

FAQs About Are Bumpy Boat Rides Safe During Pregnancy?

Is a boat vibration safe when pregnant?

It generally depends on the intensity of the vibration and the state of the pregnancy. Boat vibrations themselves are not likely harmful, but it’s crucial to avoid boating in choppy waters or engaging in fast-paced water activities that could lead to more violent movements. It’s best always to prioritize comfort and safety.

Can a bumpy boat ride cause placental abruption?

While there is no direct research linking bumpy boat rides with placental abruption, severe jolts or trauma can potentially lead to such complications. Therefore, it’s safer to avoid activities that might introduce such risks, particularly in later stages of pregnancy

Is it bad to go on bumpy roads when pregnant?

Similar to boating, there isn’t any direct evidence to suggest that driving on bumpy roads poses a risk to pregnancy. However, discomfort or potential risks due to sudden jerks and movements might increase, particularly in high risk pregnancies or later stages of pregnancy

Can a bumpy boat ride hurt pregnancy?

While a bumpy boat ride might not directly harm a pregnancy, it could cause discomfort and potential risk if the ride is too violent or if the woman is in a later stage of pregnancy. As such, it’s advised to stick to calm waters and avoid high-speed or rough boating activities


When you are pregnant, you always want to be very careful because you want both yourself and the little one to be safe. So, when coming across thrilling activities like boating, the question arises, “Is this safe?”

In truth, there’s no clear answer that says bumpy boat rides in pregnancy aren’t safe, or could lead to something sad, like a miscarriage.

But, the fact remains that jolting around a lot, like on a rough boat ride, could be a concern for pregnant women. It could cause displeasure or other issues.

Factors like how far along the pregnancy is, what kind of boating is planned, and the woman’s health play a big part in how safe boating during pregnancy is.

For instance, a smooth sail on a peaceful lake might be safer than a speedy boat ride on bouncy ocean waves.

Each pregnancy is different, and what might be okay for you might not feel right, even for your pregnant friend. This is why it’s very important to chat your doctor before finally deciding to go on a boat ride.

So, what we advice is; when it comes to boating at this delicate period, though it is safely most a time, it’s still good to talk with your healthcare expert. They can give you the best advice to keep both you and the unborn baby safe.


National Institutes Of Health (The Role of High-intensity and High-impact Exercises in Improving Bone Health in Postmenopausal Women: A Systematic Review) & Discover Boating (Boating While Pregnant: What You Should Know)

Georgina Austin

Georgina Austin

Georgina is a certified midwife, a seasoned writer and a mother of twins - Noel and Noelle. She brings to this blog eleven years of experience in maternity support, coupled with her personal motherhood adventures to give you factual information on women's health.

Aside writing on pregnancy and breastfeeding, she writes on sexual health concerns, birth control guides, egg donation, sibling dynamics, and balancing the demands of multiple children.