Upon gaining a doctor’s approval, there has been a growing trend of floating during pregnancy. Some take on floating to help reduce back pain while others just love to hear their baby’s heartbeat underwater.

floating pregnant on backThe rise in floating while pregnant has sparked a lot of questions. While any medical questions are obviously best left to the doctors, there are some obvious queries that are clearly float related. Like, ‘how to comfortably float while with child,’ for instance.

If you are asked by a pregnant woman for tips on how to float comfortably, the following are a few suggestions. First of all, it is safe for you to float on your back or her belly. Outside of the tank, this position would be risky for the health of the mom and the baby, however, in the weightlessness of a sensory deprivation tank this doesn’t appear to be the case.*

Be sure to get in and out of the tank cautiously, as the surfaces will be slippery and your sense of balance might be a bit wonky.

Getting Into a Comfortable Floating Position

Successfully accomplishing the following positions may depend on factors such as height, body type, and ultimately personal preference:

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Ask the centre for a neck pillow or pool noodle. A pregnant woman can actually lay on her belly while she floats, with her arms across a pool noodle, and the noodle under her chin to keep her face out of the water. Even if she falls asleep, her head will remain supported by the noodle.

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Another suggestion for floating belly down in the water is to place your elbows on the floor of the tank and chin in your hands. The depth of the water is approximately the length of their forearms, so her face will remain dry. Some women find this satisfying as the position provides a great stretch to the spine.

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A pregnant floater might also be comfortable crossing her arms under her chin and floating belly down in the water, resting her head on her forearms. This is very similar to floating with a pool noodle, and for some, might be preferable. Floating belly down can be a real release of pressure during pregnancy: a lot of the weight of the growing uterus pushes against the mother’s organs, and letting the salt water support this weight for 90 minutes can be quite blissful.

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If you are a pregnant woman floating on your back, it is safe to float this way (again, pending approval from her doctor). You could use the noodle pillow under your lower back, but you probably won’t need it. Chances are that the Epsom salt will support you and baby beautifully.

Dads Need Floats Too

It can be quite stressful and exhilarating preparing for a new baby, and floating is always an amazing stress reliever, regardless of whether or not you actually have another life form actually growing inside of you.

Only With Doctor’s Approval

The conditions of every pregnancy can be different and all expecting mothers should seek the approval of their doctor before floating.

Some sources online state that women should not float during their first trimester. There is no data we’ve found to support this concern, but this seems reasonable that it’s in place because many miscarriages happen during the first trimester.

Miscarriages happen frequently, somewhere between 5%-75% of pregnancies miscarry within the first trimester depending on the conditions** (the higher percentage in this scale are IVF pregnancies that fail to implant properly and those families can be the most devastated by miscarriages).

Definitely take all of the information presented in this blog post with a grain of salt, and make sure that any pregnant customers consult their doctors. However, from my personal experience, floating through pregnancy can be a real load off – in many ways.

For more reading, check out Leah Pellegrini’s personal blog about floating while pregnant.

* The risk is related to a pregnant woman lying down on her back (on a flat surface, not a float tank) is due to constriction of blood flow to the placenta. This can interfere with the development of the baby. Also, the weight of the uterus can put pressure on major veins causing dizziness and discomfort for the mother. In a sensory deprivation tank, this doesn’t seem to happen, because there is no rigid surface behind the mother to cause detrimental pressure on the circulatory system. Furthermore, floating has been shown to have positive benefits such as lowering blood pressure, which can also help a pregnant mother to have healthy blood flow to her heart and to the baby’s placenta.
** statistical numbers gathered from Friedman, Lynn, M.D. and Irene Daria. Miscarriage: A Woman Doctor’s Guide. New York: Kensington Health: 2001