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Scuba diving in pregnancy

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We are trying to become pregnant. We also have a vacation planned in two months where we will be scuba diving. If I do become pregnant before then, I could possibly be 2 weeks or 6 weeks pregnant, if it happens in the next two cycles. Would it still be ok for me to go diving if this is the case? I want to but I need to understand more, and the risks. I have heard diving is not good for pregnant women, but don't know if that is whole pregnancy or late stage pregnancy. Thank you.


Category: Infertility Specialist

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Category: Infertility Specialist
Dr. Aarti Vazirani is online now

Expert:  Dr. Aarti Vazirani replied 4 Days.



Hello
Thanks for writing to DoctorSpring.com with your health concern.

It is not recommended to scuba dive during early pregnancy or late pregnancy, preferably any time when pregnancy is suspected or present.

Let me explain the risks.
Firstly, while diving you are exposed to hyperbaric pressures ( extremely high oxygen pressures ).
These can result in low birth weight babies, abortions, structural defects in the baby, premature births etc.

So basically the entire spectrum of the time period of pregnancy is covered in this - first, second and third trimesters.

Next, while diving , gas bubbles in the blood may form ( decompression sickness ) that can spread to the lungs and the limbs ( emboli ) which could be fatal too - pregnant women are more vulnerable to emboli formation.

Swelling of the mucus membranes and sinuses is more common during pregnancy and is exacerbated while diving.

Please go through the following link - it will make for reading that will provide a grasp of the topic you wish to understand- copy paste in the browser the whole link
http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/download/OB%20&%20Diving.pdf

All the best, feel free to discuss further.
Take care.


Patient replied :

Hello Doctor,
There was a problem with my Doctor Spring account and it accidentally sent you an old question from past summer. So, here is my actual new question for you as an infertility specialist:

I am 44 years old and me and my partner want to have a child. He is 39. We live in Spain. We have been to three clinics to interview them and are ready to start FIV treatment. We have had all tests and other than my age, apparently everything else with general and reporductive health for both of us is perfect. I am taking pre-natal vitamins. So, my question is this: the doctor I like best is recommending something different than the others and I want to make sure it is a healthy option. He is suggesting I begin taking DHEA now for two cycles, in the second cycle, go onto the Birth Control Pill for one month, then at the beginning of the third cycle, go off the pill and begin the drugs (3-4 of them per day if I remember correctly). The DHEA container says not to take if at "pregnancy bearing age", but he says it is not proven, but maybe good for my "folicle" production so we have more chances of good eggs to fertilize. Is this process acceptable and recommended also in the US? Any concerns? Thank yo so much!


Expert:  Dr. Aarti Vazirani replied 3 Days.

Hello,

Its good to hear from you again.

Firstly, yes, DHEA supplements have been shown to be of some benefit in women with poor ovarian reserve.
See, in males, sperm production ( spermatogenesis ) is a dynamic process, going on well into the seventies or eighties.
Unlike males, females are born with a finite, limited number of egg follicles in the ovary.
Each month, these follicles get used.

With age, particularly after 40, this finite number of eggs declines, and the quality also deteriorates.
Hence, the ' ovarian reserve ' becomes low, directly affecting fertility.
To a certain extent, DHEA supplements will help, but do not expect miraculous results.

Would you let me know the exact reports , you must have undergone blood work ?
Ovarian reserve is best measured by the level of a substance called AMH.
Now, DHEA can definitely be taken while planning a pregnancy, and it is approved in the US for this indication ( for low ovarian reserve ).

Also, yes going in for DHEA supplements, then birth control for a month ( to quieten indigenous hormones ) then IVF ( stimulation of the ovaries artificially to yield maximum eggs ) is your best option, so go ahead with that.
If you do not respond favourably to IVF ( due to poor ovarian reserve, for example, if poor quantity and quality of eggs are harvested in spite of good stimulation ) then you should think of donor eggs / adoption.

Please go through this link - it should assuage your doubts, and is easy to understand in a patient friendly language -
http://www.manchesterfertility.com/resources/poor-ovarian-reserve-dhea/

All the best with your attempts.
Wish you luck.


Dr. Aarti Vazirani
Category: Infertility Specialist
Experience: 
Residency: Obstetrics & Gynecolog, BJMC,Civil hospital, Ahmedabad, 2008
Post Graduate: MS (Obstetrics & Gynecology), B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, 2008
Medical School: MBBS, B.J. Medical College, Ahmedabad, 2004
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