Spending a day at an amusement park is a fun family activity, but if you’re pregnant, you’ll want to avoid the main attraction – the roller coaster. It’s probably safer to play games in the arcade, game booths, or another activity that keeps both feet planted on the ground.
Although there is no scientific data that says roller coaster’s and high-speed theme park rides are dangerous before the second trimester, there’s also no research that says that it’s safe either. It’s always best to play it safe rather than be sorry later.
In the first trimester the rapid starts and stops of a roller coaster (or a high speed ride), plus the jarring motions they make can put an extra amount of pressure on your abdomen. This can cause potential complications. Plus, roller coasters can make a newly pregnant woman feel more nauseated and increase morning sickness.
In the second and third trimester, you definitely want to avoid riding a roller coaster. The jarring force of any high-speed roller coaster can cause excessive force on your uterus, and this can cause placental tearing or placental abruption – which can be a life-threatening pregnancy complication. Placental abruption occurs when the placenta tears away from the wall of your uterus. As a result, your baby can be deprived of oxygen and nutrients. You may experience dangerous bleeding. Placental abruption dramatically increases your risk of preterm delivery (before 37 weeks).
Although there have been cases of pregnant women who rode roller coasters without any problems or pregnancy complications, you don’t want to risk the health of your pregnancy just for a few minutes of fun. Fortunately, many amusement parks will identify rides that are dangerous for pregnant women. Some roller coasters and amusement rides may have warning signs next to them that forbid pregnant women from riding them.
In the second and third trimesters, as your belly gets larger, it’s also a good idea for you to avoid riding Ferris wheels as well. Although Ferris wheels are slower, they can have jerky motions that make you nauseous. Plus, in the unlikely event that the Ferris wheel gets stuck, it’s hard for a pregnant woman and her clumsy, less-than-perfect balance to navigate the emergency exit.
The bottom line is that you should play it safe when you’re pregnant. Always pay attention to any amusement park’s warning signs. When you’re in doubt, just avoid that ride completely. Once you have children, you will have ample opportunities to ride roller coasters and enjoy everything that the theme park offers. For the health of your baby, it’s a good idea to always play it safe.
If you’ve already ridden a roller coaster, there’s no reason you need to freak out. Just mention it to your OB/GYN, midwife, or healthcare provider. As long as your baby is still healthy, you’re fine. Just avoid any more roller coaster rides. Your baby’s health and safety should always come first!
If you have any questions about roller coasters or theme park rides, be sure to contact your healthcare provider and get his or her advice! Good luck.