pregnant Segway-ing... really forbidden?
July 18, 2012 10:37 AM   Subscribe

can I *really* not ride a Segway while pregnant?

after some quick googling, it seems that Segway riding is not recommended for pregnant women, and that many tours will not permit oy to ride if you are pregnant. why? is it a balance thing? a just-in-case-you-fall thing? is it the same way bike riding is not recommended? because I do that...
I am going on vacation and would really like to do a Segway tour of the city. I will be about 12 weeks along at the time.

have you ever ridden a Segway? while pregnant?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (15 answers total)
I would wager it's a liability issue, in the same way that pregnant women are discouraged from riding roller coasters or especially shake-tastic carnival rides, or bungee jumping, or doing any other thing that could cause them to miscarry and leave the company vulnerable to lawsuit.
posted by palomar at 10:41 AM on July 18, 2012 [4 favorites]

I would guess that it's the risk of falling.
posted by amro at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Based on the YouTube videos I've seen of Segway crashes, I would guess that it's a safety thing. Segways are probably very tame most of the time, but passengers can be thrown to the ground if things go haywire.
posted by keep it under cover at 10:45 AM on July 18, 2012

I fell off a segway and landed face-down, thankfully partially on grass and partially on concrete. Falling off a Segway was a strange experience - not like falling off a bike at all, IMO. I didn't feel at all in control of the fall - probably because I was inexperienced at riding. Would it have caused a miscarriage or damaged a hypothetical baby? I don't know.
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on July 18, 2012

It's all about risk of falling/crashing. I guess you need to weigh your personal risk/reward benefit and act accordingly.
posted by tristeza at 10:52 AM on July 18, 2012

Indeed, as others have said, it's the risk of falling. It's also the risk that someone else in the group might crash into you, which I guess is covered by falling.

Gravity is a funny thing, and women are very used to their center of gravity when they are not pregnant. Having a (insert analogy here) inside you makes that very very strange. So what you think you should do is not always right. This is added to the very, very surreal experience of riding those things, which isn't really like any other mode of transportation.

So it's not like the risk of tripping and falling. It's worse than that. It's like tripping and falling on another planet.
posted by bilabial at 10:57 AM on July 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

(It's unlikely that the tour will be going near any 30-foot cliffs)

Is there time to ask your OB/GYN's advice? 12 weeks is pretty early in the pregnancy.
posted by muddgirl at 11:03 AM on July 18, 2012

The funny thing is that when Segways were first coming out and the Segway company was trying to show the world how safe they were, they invited my husband and I to a "try it out!" event. I was pregnant, they let me ride it, everything was fine.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:03 AM on July 18, 2012

While "12 weeks is pretty early" is ok in terms of personal judgment and personal risk management, we're talking about a company policy which is in place to protect the company and all of it's customers. 12 weeks is when a lot of women are still feeling morning sickness (which as we all know, can come at any time of the day), and finding oneself incapacitated by a wave of nausea is also not a good time to be on a demonstrably less than perfectly stable machine.

While you are probably perfectly fine to go on this tour, the odds that you are not happen to be non-zero. I'd be willing to bet there's some stuff in the paperwork that folks who are intoxicated are also not allowed to join. Arguing with them about not being "very drunk" would be like arguing about not being "very pregnant."

By all means, get a note from your doctor stating whether he thinks this is a good idea. But first, let him know that if there's any unfortunate outcome from the ride the company will be passing responsibility on to him, unless the company tells you it'll be all on you.
posted by bilabial at 11:35 AM on July 18, 2012

Segway anecdote:In Munich, the Segway tour stops at a beer garden right around the midpoint.

It's possible that the OP won't be visibly pregnant at 12 weeks, so a note wouldn't be necessary.

Look, I'm not saying this is a good idea. I'm considering whether the risk to life or pregnancy is greater than, say, driving a car.
posted by muddgirl at 11:42 AM on July 18, 2012

Given the role leaning plays in directing a segway there's probably some valid reason to suggest some challenge for someone whose center of gravity is different than they're used to. I'd guess that's about 20% of the reason and 80% is risk-adverseness.

At 12 weeks this seems unlikely.
posted by phearlez at 12:18 PM on July 18, 2012

I assume they're covering their asses. I asked my OB/GYM about riding scooters (the kind with motors not the push kind!) and she was pretty okay with it saying that the fetus is pretty well protected inside if I did crash. But, she did advise that having a broken leg or arm could make giving birth more painful. It would be hard to push if your foot or leg was broken.
posted by vespabelle at 1:15 PM on July 18, 2012

I'm very much familiar with lawsuits and why they happen, so I would never recommend that YOU ride a Segway, a bike, a jet ski, an ATV, or almost any vehicle while pregnant. 2nding muddgirl's opinion that cars aren't safe either, when you look at it from this perspective...

However, I am 12 weeks pregnant as well, and if I had the opportunity to go on a cool sounding Segway tour, I'd totally do it and not mention the pregnancy to the tour company. Last week I also went tubing on a lake (ouch, bouncy), swam a third of a mile in a relay triathon, and did some hardcore line dancing several times. But that's just me...
posted by treehorn+bunny at 3:25 PM on July 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

I will be about 12 weeks along at the time.

If you wish to make your own risk assessment it is highly likely nobody will be able to determine you are pregnant at 12 weeks. This is more likely to be true if this is your first pregnancy.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:01 PM on July 18, 2012

I'll second checking in with your doctor. Mine gave me the okay to ride motorcycles for the first trimester, as long as it was normal street riding (not racing). Just for comparison, risk-wise.
posted by Margalo Epps at 7:10 PM on July 18, 2012

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