Diving habits and obstetric course of pregnant scuba divers.

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Diving habits and obstetric course of pregnant scuba divers.

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Title: Diving habits and obstetric course of pregnant scuba divers.
Author: Bolton, ME
Abstract: An ever-increasing number of women in the childbearing years are engaging in the sport of scuba diving. Many dive extensively before pregnancy is confirmed; others dive throughout pregnancy without information regarding the potential risks from hyperoxia, bubble formation, hypoxia, or hypercapnea upon the developing fetus. The purpose of this research was to describe and compare the demographic characteristics, diving and obstetric history; extent of diving and characteristics of dives made during pregnancy; and obstetric and fetal outcome of pregnant divers. Questionnaires were mailed to women who responded to announcements and advertisements in diving magazines and to bulletins posted in dive shops. The sample consisted af women from throughout the United States and eight foreign nations who had been pregnant within the last five years and who received basic scuba certification before termination of pregnancy; however, only those women with United States addresses who did not engage in extensive breath-hold diving were included in the comparison of fetal and obstetric outcome. In order to determine if the frequency of complications was related to diving during pregnancy, each pregnancy was assessed utilizing a scaie to divide the pregnancies into low or high-risk groups. The frequency of six specific complications was analyzed: (a) neonatal death; (b) stillbirth; (c) spontaneous abortion; (d) vaginal bleeding; (e) congenital anomaly, and (f) low birthweight; and the frequency of anomalies was found to be significantly greater (p < 0.05) among combined, low and high-risk pregnancies during which women dived. The extent of diving for complicated and uncomplicated groups was similar; however, two out of 24 women who dived at depths greater than 100 feet (30.5 m) during the first trimester delivered infants with serious skeletal malformations. These results do not conclusively prove that diving during pregnancy causes fetal damage since the sample was a self-selected, retrospective group; however, long-term, prospective studies and animal studies are recommended.
Description: MS Thesis
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/4879
Date: 1979

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