Pregnancy makes women think twice about many things they never before questioned, from eating lunch meat to going for a jog. And at Lake of the Ozarks, expecting mamas who are considering a fun day on the water might wonder, “Is it safe to go boating while pregnant?”

Ken Holt, D.O., a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Lake Regional, says yes... in most cases. 

“But,” he adds, “pregnant women need to know what circumstances might make boating unsafe, and they always need to take a few precautions.”

Dr. Holt outlines the following tips, while recommending every woman check in with her doctor for personalized advice.

  • Beware of balance changes. Pregnancy makes women more likely to fall even when they are on solid ground. So they need to be especially cautious when boating. “When a boat makes a fast turn, a pregnant woman might fall, even if she’s sitting,” Dr. Holt says. “Drivers should avoid rough water and high rates of speed. And pregnant women need to be especially careful getting in and out of the boat.”
  • Avoid jolts. Hard bounces are never good and pose special risks for a pregnant woman — another reason to avoid rough water and speeding.
  • Don’t get too far from land. “You want land to be readily accessible so, if needed, you can call the outing to an end at short notice,” Dr. Holt says.
  • Keep hydrated. Pregnancy causes the symptoms of dehydration to hit harder, faster. “Overheating can cause dehydration, so you should stay in the shade as much as possible and drink lots of water,” Dr. Holt says.
  • Wear sunscreen and a wide-brimmed hat. No one wants to get a sunburn, and pregnant women have a higher risk of developing melasma — a common skin problem that causes brown or gray-brown patches. Limiting sun exposure and wearing sunscreen and protective clothing helps lower the risk. 
  • Avoid alcohol. “You know you should not drink any alcoholic beverages while pregnant,” Dr. Holt says. “When you are boating, you also need to make sure you have a sober, responsible captain. That’s good advice for everyone, all the time.”


From One Mom to Another

Amanda DeWit, a Lake Regional Public Relations specialist, welcomed her first baby on Christmas Day 2018. She has these tips from her own boating-while-pregnant experiences last summer:

  • Pack sparkling or fruit-infused water, “for hydration but also to not feel like the rest of the crew was having all the fun,” she says. 
  • Bring healthy snacks. “Bite-size fruit, hummus and crackers were some of my favorites,” she says.
  • Check your life jacket. “Your normal lifejacket may not fit around the bump, so be sure there’s something on the boat that fits,” she says. “Also, remember a flotation device that’s bump-friendly, if you’re planning to cove out.”

Want an appointment with Dr. Holt?

Dr. Holt provides care primarily at Lake Regional Obstetrics and Gynecology in Eldon but also has appointments in Osage Beach. To make an appointment in Eldon, call 573-557-2553. For Osage Beach, call 573-302-2764. Learn more about Lake Regional Obstetrics and Gynecology at

Dr. Ken Holt, OB-GYN

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