While doing research for our FAQ and liability waiver, I came across of number of centers that exhibited warning statements akin to the following:
“Pregnant women should wait until they are out of the first trimester in order to float.”
I found that statement to be very curious. What aspect of floating could possibly have a negative effect on early pregnancy? So I searched, and I searched, and I searched some more for even an inkling of reliable information on the topic. I came up completely empty handed.
In the end I made the call to err on the side of available evidence. As such, at Fadeaway our recommendation to women in all stages of pregnancy is this: talk to your care provider before you float. We certainly are not alone in our stance, there are a number of other centers that follow a similar suit. It appears the industry is split down the middle with regard to this particular policy.
Recently we received a voicemail from a woman who was looking to cancel her first appointment. Reason being she had seen the above recommendation against floating on another float center’s website. This prompted me to do a bit more research. I emailed Lee Perry of Samadhi Float Tanks. Lee was a personal friend of Dr. John C. Lilly, the inventor of the float tank. Lee and her husband Glenn have played integral roles in the commercial availability of floatation therapy since its inception. We’re talking decades of first hand experience.
Lee responded as follows:
“Talia, thanks for asking. I have only come across this idea recently, after recommending floating throughout pregnancy, for the entire time, since the beginning. I tell moms-to-be to talk to their practitioner about everything they do during their pregnancy, since that is a relationship of confidence and assistance. If you're doing that, your guide will let you know if they have a question about your activities, and if they do, you can research your particular situation.”
In light of this, I feel it is clear that the recommendation against floating in the first trimester is fear based rather than evidence based. I theorize that float centers maintaining this policy are doing so based on the knowledge that the first trimester is when most miscarriages naturally occur. If a miscarriage were to coincidentally occur not long after a float session took place, accusations might be made. I can’t say I completely blame these centers for taking this stance given our litigious society, but I do don’t feel this practice is fair to our pregnant clients.
"The court finds you GUILTY of doing nothing while pregnant."
Within our culture, there are enough fear-based demands on pregnant women as it is. Floating is a wonderful way to deal with the stress and worry of pregnancy. I do not want to deny our first trimester clients the incredible benefits floating can provide. For many women, the first trimester is just as rough, if not rougher, than the third. Floating regularly could provide much needed relief.
As such, Fadeaway will continue to maintain our current stance. We believe floating is safe for all stages of pregnancy, but every woman should speak with her personal care provider about floating prior to coming in for a session.
On a personal note, I floated throughout all stages of my most recent pregnancy. I found it to be an incredible way to restore and relax, truly a lifesaver on some days. If I have another child in the future, I will certainly float throughout that entire pregnancy without hesitation.
My own "float baby" Stella. Floated as a zygote through 4 days before delivery.