Hiking While Pregnant
Hiking is a great way to improve cardiovascular health and strength during pregnancy. However, when you’re pregnant, you have to take special precautions. If you’re an avid hiker or backpacker, you should be able to enjoy hiking while pregnant. It’s great exercise and sure to make you happy. Below are 15 tips and advice to get you going for a safer hike!
Tip #15 – Get approval from your doctor
Most important tip first – Talk to your doctor to make sure hiking is right for you and your baby. If you’re an experienced hiker, hiking is probably safe for you. However, if you have a complicated pregnancy or have not hiked very much in the past, you should refrain from hiking. Make sure to also discuss your hiking routes with your doctor to account for the elevations or any trails that require additional precautions.
Tip #14 – Drink pure water and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
It’s very easy to be dehydrated on a trail. If you’re prone to heat sweats, make sure you pack enough water and drink at least 8 ounces every 15 minutes. In high altitude environments, your body will require more water so keep drinking that H2O.
Tip #13 – Always carry an emergency evacuation plan
With a two way radio satellite communicator, you’ll be primed to know your route, waypoints, and share it with family and friends ahead of time. Best of all, you’ll be able to get help instantly and you can upload your route and post it on Facebook or Twitter so everyone will know where you are.
Tip #12 – Avoid hipbelt clips
Hipbelts are just plain uncomfortable. If you’re packing in less weight, it’ll be easier on your hips, shoulders and you’ll feel hundred times more comfortable. Leave the hipbelt at home.
Tip #11 – Snack healthy and snack often
Depending on the duration of your hike, you’ll want to snack throughout. A good serving of snacks such as bananas, granola bars, and even trail mixes will be a great healthy mix of protein and carbs. It helps keep your blood sugar up and boosts your energy throughout the hike. Prepare some homemade instant hiking meals if you’re going on longer hikes.
Tip #10 – Know your limits and stick within it
Listen to your body while you challenge yourself. Make sure you’re not feeling dizzy or nauseated when you’re hiking. If you’re light headed it’s best to stop or hike at a slower pace. Some women require more rest than others when pregnant.
Tip #9 – Try exercising at home
There are many benefits to exercising at home. You’ll definitely want to try prenatal workout videos to prepare your body for longer stamina on the trail. We recommend two of our favorites:
Tip #8 – Always use trekking poles
You’ll get a great upper body workout using these poles. More importantly, hiking with trekking poles improves your overall balance in the event that you slip. In addition, it lessens the impact on your knees and reduces ligament pain. Read why trekking poles are good for beginner hikers and how to use them correctly.
Tip #7 – Rest up and take it easy
During the first two trimesters you can still go on long hikes and challenging climbs. However, as you get towards your third trimester it’s best to exchange them for flat lands, shorter distances and slower pace of hiking. Make sure you get plenty of rest and don’t exhaust yourself.
Tip #6 – Know your route and go for even terrain
There’s an increased risk of being thrown off your center of gravity when you’re carrying 20, 30 or 40 pounds of baby weight. Try to find paths that do not have slippery rocks and are flat paths. It’s better to know your path beforehand so that you know what gear to bring.
Tip #5 – Get fitted hiking shoes
Having the right hiking shoes is vital for staying upright during your hikes. They also help prevent backaches and sore legs. Make sure you buy yourself a good pair of hiking shoes that have good traction. It’s best to try new shoes in the afternoon when your feet are their most swollen according to Kristina Pinto (co-author of Fit & Healthy Pregnancy). Also, remember to break them in around the house before you go on your hike. Never hike in new hiking shoes as they might be too tight mid-hike.
Tip #4 – Know where the washrooms are
Feel like your baby is hiking on your bladder? Make sure you scout out where the bathrooms or porta potties are when you select your route. It’s also good to make sure you time you water drinking as most of us have small bladders.
Tip #3 – Stay on the grid with cell reception
You always want to hike where there is cellular reception. If you aren’t sure, make sure you check your cellular carrier coverage map online before heading out. You want to be able to get access to a medical professional at all times in the case of an emergency. Constantly monitor your cellular reception and if the signal drops, make sure you turn back. Also make sure you’re in hiking proximity of your car if you’re in your third trimester as you’ll want the access to the help.
Tip #2 – Skin protection is a must
When you’re pregnant, your skin gets more sensitive to the sun. Try to find some tree-covered trails where possible and use a minimum of SPF 30 sunscreen when hiking. Slather it on and make sure you keep reapplying every hour for best results.
Tip #1 – Check the weather before heading out
If it’s raining odds are there will be lots of slippery rocks, mud and puddles which could cause you to slip and fall. Stay away from hiking in adverse weather such as wind and rain.