Many pregnant women don’t like to quit exercising when they’re pregnant. But, they need to be careful since their body is changing as their baby grows inside of them. Some of the things you used to do may no longer be safe during pregnancy.
Cardio exercise is one of the most important ways to stay healthy during pregnancy.
Most women will walk less than a couple of miles a day to get adequate cardio. But some women have that adventurous spirit that you can’t keep down, even with a bun in the oven. Some women would much prefer hiking while pregnant.
Pregnancy shouldn’t stop you from exploring the outdoors and getting a good workout!
Of course, you shouldn’t push yourself while you’re pregnant. Your body is busy growing another human. It needs energy, rest, and relaxation as much as exercise.
There are precautions to take if you’re going hiking. Some of these precautions would include comfort and getting enough water and food.
Below are some questions you might have before you venture out on your hike. But, don’t take off on a wilderness adventure until you talk to your doctor or midwife.
Is hiking while pregnant safe?
For the most part, hiking while pregnant is safe. But every woman is different and so is every pregnancy. Check with your doctor or midwife before you think about taking any excursions.
Once you get the go-ahead from your care provider, keep in mind that even terrain is best. We’re not talking about climbing mountains here. Hiking is just walking but with a little bit of a challenge and some gorgeous scenery to go along with it.
According to Fitpregnancy.com, carrying an extra 20, 30, or 40 pounds of baby weight can throw off your center of gravity, putting you at an increased risk of falls when walking challenging terrain.
Take into consideration also the amount of weight you might be carrying during your hike. Don’t carry too much weight. Just bring enough supplies for the day. Talk to your doctor or midwife about how much weight is okay for you to carry based on your health and how far along you are in your pregnancy.
What precautions should I take in my first trimester?
My advice for first-trimester hiking is much the same as for hiking while pregnant at any stage. The only difference is that your center of gravity might not be off by much. Likely, you haven’t grown a lot. But all the other rules still apply.
Always talk to your care provider first. It may get annoying to hear over and over again but ask about getting a physical before you go hiking to see that you and baby are in good shape. Just get an “okay” from your doctor/midwife and you’re ready to go.
While pregnant, you need to drink twice as much water as before you were pregnant. When you go hiking, you’ll need to increase that even more. Staying hydrated will help replenish all the water you lose when you sweat. It will also prevent muscle cramps.
Keeping your blood sugar up while you’re hiking is crucial as well. As soon as you realize you’re getting hungry, have a snack. It can be a trail mix or a protein bar. Anything small, healthy, and easy to eat will do.
Can I hike at a high elevation?
A user on Fitpregnancy.com asked if it was safe to exercise at a high elevation while pregnant. She stated that she lives at a high altitude and exercises at a high altitude as well. So her question was even if she lives at a high altitude, should she stop exercising at that altitude?
The answer was obvious. If you are used to living at a high altitude, it should be fine for you to exercise there. The important question is, is it okay if you’re not used to it?
Women that exercise at high altitudes may have some pregnancy complications if they’re not used to it.
According to fitpregnancy.com, be aware of overexertion. These symptoms include uterine contractions, excessive perspiration and increased shortness of breath.
If you’re worried that you might not be able to handle exercise at a high elevation, talk to your care provider. All the reassurance you could ever need will come from an expert.
Can I go camping?
If you’re planning to make your hike an overnight trip or longer, there are more things to consider. This is the same for if you’re going on a day hike. Talk to your doctor/midwife first. Make sure you and your baby are in top condition for an overnight stay in the great outdoors.
Take note of the closest healthcare facility to where you’re setting up camp. You should prepare yourself for any possible emergencies. Take a little trip from your campsite to the healthcare facility to get a feel for how you would get there. It’s good to have a plan in place for how you’re going to get there quickly in an emergency.
No matter how far along you are, your bathroom trips are probably frequent. Figure out where the bathrooms are at the campsite and set up camp as close to them as possible. You don’t want to go on a separate hike every time you have to relieve yourself.
Also, bring lots of water and try to stay cool. Hydration and staying cool are so important for camping or hiking while pregnant. You’re going to get overheated and dehydrated faster than if you weren’t pregnant. You’re drinking for two now. Hydration is the most important thing.
Finally, stay comfortable. Pregnancy can be uncomfortable enough as it is. When you go camping, bring an air mattress and lots of pillows. Bring a waterproof tent and a comfy, portable chair to sit in, and lots of food.
Don’t overload your bag. Have someone else can carry the rest of your supplies if it’s too much for you.
What about backpacking?
Again, see your doctor or midwife before you go camping, hiking or backpacking. We have to reiterate that over and over because it is so important. If you’re thinking about going on a backpacking trip, you should talk to your care provider first. Find out how much weight is okay for you to carry.
Ask whoever is backpacking with you if they can carry the bulk of your supplies. Backpacker.com says to “think quality and quantity, and pack fresh fruits and veggies.” Snacking will help keep your energy up.
Don’t get too adventurous and try drinking straight out of a river. Drink only filtered or boiled water.
Your pack, even if it’s a weight you can handle, is going to throw you off balance. Depending on how far along you are, your belly will do that, too. Bring a pair of hiking poles along to help you keep your balance.
Do what’s best for you and your baby
It’s easy to take advice from other moms. It’s easy to let people judge what you decide to do during your pregnancy. But don’t let just anyone tell you that you can’t do something because you’re pregnant.
If a friend tells you that hiking is bad for you or your baby, talk to your care provider. If someone tells you it’s great but you’re not so sure, talk to your care provider. Nobody knows what’s right for you but you and your doctor or midwife.
Once you get the green light, get prepared, get out there, and have fun. And take good pictures to document your awesome experience hiking while pregnant!