Surfing 35 weeks into your pregnancy -- that might sound impossible, but Holly Beck Obermeyer is ready for it.
As a former professional surfer and current surf camp instructor living in Nicaragua, Obermeyer decided she would surf as long as possible while pregnant, even after her doctor and midwife advised her not to.
"I've based my whole adult life around being near the ocean and getting good waves," she told The Huffington Post. "It would seem crazy to change that just because I'm pregnant."
While going against your doctor's wishes is not recommended, staying active during pregnancy is -- especially if you regularly engage in high amounts of activity.
Almost in her eighth month, we asked the bold 33-year-old mother-to-be what it feels like to surf when pregnant.
Why did you decide to continue surfing throughout your first pregnancy?
HBO: It's a part of who I am. I've been surfing almost 20 years and the most time I ever spent out of the water was two months after I broke my foot while volcano boarding. If I go too long without catching a wave, I get grumpy.
My doctor and midwife have both warned me not to surf, although they say swimming is fine. But they aren't surfers and don't understand the sport. I just listen to my body and get out of the water when I'm feeling tired.
What was your experience surfing in the first trimester?
HBO: I definitely surfed less in the first trimester. I don't think I surfed at all between the sixth and 10th weeks and only a few times per week up until about 14 weeks. That was partly because I felt pretty sick in the mornings and had really low energy. I just wanted to sleep all day. Paddling out just didn't seem possible. But once week 14 came around, I suddenly gained some energy back, and we had one of the first good swells of the season. So, with that, I was back at it!
What is the biggest difference you've experienced in your surfing since becoming pregnant?
HBO: In order to take the pressure off my belly, I push down on my knees and kind of stick by butt in the air so that my body is an inverted V-shape, rather than flat on the board. That is not a very efficient paddling position -- it's hard to get into waves, and it can be frustrating -- but it's worth it to be in the water.
I also don't have any core strength and it's hard to pull up my feet onto the board [and] I'm a lot more selective [catching waves] than before ... but I'm always super stoked when I get one and, once I'm on my feet, I feel relatively normal.
How do you make sure you and your baby stay safe in the water?
HBO: I avoid crowds because I don't want to risk getting hit by someone else and I avoid big waves for obvious reasons. I don't try any crazy moves either. I just surf safe and solid and only go for waves or turns that I know I'm going to make.
How far along into your pregnancy are you planning to surf?
HBO: Until my body tells me it's time to stop. I'm not sure when that will be, but I have a couple friends who surfed until their 35th and 37th week, so that's what I'm aiming for.
What would you recommend to other surfing moms?
HBO: I think every woman has to make the decision for herself. I've had a lot of people tell me that I'm crazy and warn me that I'm endangering the baby. I've also had a lot of women write to me and tell me all the active things they have done while pregnant.
You have to be realistic about your skills and listen to your body. I wouldn't recommend a novice surfer to continue surfing later into pregnancy because the risks of falling and landing awkwardly on the board are greater. But anyone who is a competent surfer should be able to continue surfing and have fun. Just stay cautious.
Want to keep up with Holly Beck Obermeyer's progress? Check out her surf and pregnancy blog, Salt Water Mama.