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Oh boy, pro surfer Bethany Hamilton is expecting a baby. The athlete — whose amazing return to the sport after a vicious shark attack left her with one arm at age 13, inspiring the book and then movie Soul Surfer — shared the rad news that she’s having a son this June in an adorable video on her website on Sunday.
“In baby terms I’m about 22 weeks, which is about halfway there,” says the 25-year-old in the video, speaking from her home in Hawaii as she sits alongside her youth-minister husband of one year, Adam Dirks. “It’s been a pretty crazy last four months finding out that we’re going to be parents. Life’s kind of going to be changing, and kind of just started to prep for bringing a new little being into the world.”
But one thing is sure to stay the same: her passion for surfing. The pregnant pro is still hitting the waves. “I’ve been surfing throughout my whole pregnancy,” says Hamilton, who took part in the Billabong Pipe Masters in December when she was three months along. “I plan to surf as long as I can.” Once she feels too big to continue, she adds, “maybe I’ll just, like, mellow it out and spend more time swimming.”
That’s a smart plan, according to Dr. Isabel Blumberg, an obstetrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “You can’t compared Bethany to the rest of the population because she’s a professional, but surfing is not something I’d advise during pregnancy because you could fall and hit yourself on the board, slip, or get thrown off risking injury to your abdomen,” Blumberg tells Yahoo Parenting. (Paddling out also requires lying flat on the board, which is a no-no as soon as your bump gets big.) “And as the pregnancy progresses your center of gravity changes. Somebody not familiar with surfing could have a really difficult time. It’s hard enough even if you’re not pregnant.”
With all types of exercise, pregnant women should switch things up when they start to feel their balance shifting so they don’t run the risk of injuring themselves, Blumberg advises. “Turning to swimming is a great idea,” she says. “It’s the perfect exercise. There’s no pressure on your joints, and patients often feel very comfortable floating without the pressure of gravity on their baby weight.” A bonus, according to Dr. Shari Brasner, also an obstetrician at Mount Sinai Medical Center, is that “she can swim until the day she goes into labor.”
Hamilton seems game for all the changes that becoming a mother will bring, exercise being the least of it. “I’m excited to be a mom and take on this adventure,” she says in her video, noting that she’s not daunted by having to do it all minus an arm. “I often forget that I have one arm, but when I think about it, like, a squirming baby and changing the diaper…Just me and the squirming baby could be really challenging,” she admits. “But how I live life now, I just adjust and adapt to different things, especially things that are a lot easier with two arms…I’ll have to find way to…figure it out and be creative.”
Her husband is happy to help. “As we start traveling more and getting into the surfs I know, I’m going to be there to support my wife and support our family and do what I can,” Dirks says. “If that means changing diapers on the beach while Bethany is out there surfing some gnarly wave, I’m all for that. I’m just really stoked to be a dad.”