Some people, including my mom, believe that it's very dangerous to bathe after having eaten without waiting approximately 1 hour (the amount of time depends on what you have eaten).

I have two questions:

  • Is this a real danger?
  • Are the chances of this happening worth giving up bathing? For example, the danger of someone dropping a vase on your head is real, but due to its unlikelihood we don't avoid walking under balconies.
  • If you don't eat plumb, there isn't much danger, except if you always fell asleep after eating. ;) Commented Mar 9, 2011 at 18:43
  • A bit late here, but I think some clarification is needed. Can we assume that by bathing you mean swimming, not just having a bath? And better answers might have been obtained if you had mentioned cramp: As @Brad comments, that is the common understanding of the causal link between eating and drowning...
    – Benjol
    Commented May 3, 2011 at 8:24
  • It's just a well-known mummies-trick, to prevent kids from eating too much ice-cream or french-fries at the beach. Commented Jun 27, 2011 at 20:16
  • 4
    would it be better to change "bathing" to "swimming" in the title? In the US, "bathing" exclusively means getting into a bath tub, but i think "swimming" means the same thing everywhere in the English-speaking world
    – Kip
    Commented Aug 3, 2012 at 14:13

1 Answer 1


If you eat a lot, you'll feel rather uncomfortable doing any physical exercise immediately after. As for getting stomach cramps and dying, though, that has never happened. So says snopes:

Whether oxygen-deprivation stomach cramps are real or not is open to debate, as is whether they can be brought on by eating right before engaging in strenuous activity. What's not in doubt, however, are the lack of deaths associated with swimming right after eating — there hasn't been so much as one drowning attributed to this, not even a near drowning. For something that was supposed to be fatal if you so much as dipped a toe, this particular old wives' tale proved to be a dud.

My emphasis...

See snopes for deeper sources.

  • 1
    I was swimming up river after eating a lot, then suddenly couldn't move my limbs. What kept me alive was that I could stay afloat until the river flow carried me to one of its margins.
    – Jader Dias
    Commented Apr 11, 2011 at 19:00
  • 21
    Sounds really very scary, @Jader. Also sounds "post hoc, ergo prompter hoc." If it happened to me, and I didn't have an alternative explanation, I think I'd be going for a medical check-up shortly afterwards.
    – Oddthinking
    Commented May 25, 2011 at 12:33
  • 2
    Anedoctaly sometimes large ingestion of food comes along with large ingeston of alcohoolic beverage and that's a real risk factor when swimming
    – jean
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 11:56
  • 1
    @JaderDias - If you were having trouble breathing, it was probably cold water shock. Which results in "Hyperventilation also results in hypocapnia, a reduction of the level of carbon dioxide in your blood which can cause: Dizziness. Faintness. Ringing or buzzing in your ears. Numbness of your fingers and toes. Cramping of your hands and feet. Reduced ability to complete simple and familiar tasks. Loss of consciousness."
    – Mazura
    Commented Jun 8, 2018 at 20:06

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .