Is Hiking Safe During Pregnancy?

Rilor Staff
Update: November 24, 2021
Table of Contents

Pregnancy is a time of life all mothers will want to spend with their family, but the idea of a child-rearing marathon is a reality for many women. Whether you're planning a hike around a popular national park or a weekend getaway in the mountains, it's important to remember that hiking while pregnant requires some amount of consideration. 

But is hiking safe during pregnancy?

Well, there's no short answer to this question. You see, some women are more sensitive and fragile than other women. Hence, they require extra care. They are often discouraged from doing high-exertion activities. Needless to say, they aren't allowed to engage in pursuits such as hiking. 

However, it also goes to show that it is not the same for other women. With the clearance of their doctors, they can do light exercises, especially in the first trimester. Therefore, hiking for them is an acceptable adventure. 

Benefits Of Hiking For Pregnancy

  • Improves cardiovascular health - It is not a secret that hiking excels in improving the cardiovascular health of our body. This matter is quite important for pregnant women, as it can aid them in a smoother and safer delivery. 
  • It relieves stress - Stress is a serious problem for many women during pregnancy and actually can negatively affect the health of both mother and baby. Research has shown that the body releases high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol during pregnancy, and these can lead to long-term health problems such as obesity and diabetes. Hiking and other forms of light exercises can help alleviate the stress levels of your body. It is essential that pregnant women have some sort of physical activity to not be overburdened by anxiety and stress. 
  • May ease body aches - It is pretty common for pregnant women to experience body pains, especially in the back. The severity of the pain can go from light to severe--with some even interfering with one's sleep or rest. By doing light exercises such as hiking, you would be able to strengthen your back muscles. They would gain the strength to support your growing belly. 
  • Helps in sleeping soundly - Because of the discomforts related to pregnancy, it is not unusual for pregnant women to experience sleepless nights. To counteract this problem, it is quite necessary for them to let go of that excess energy in their body. Exercises such as walking and hiking could help you burn the extra energy in your body. However, make sure that you don't do these things a few hours before bedtime. Otherwise, these exercises will yield opposite effects. 
  • Provides constipation relief - It is not a surprise that doing regular exercise can improve your digestive process. Since constipation is a common symptom of pregnancy, hiking should serve as an excellent remedy. 

Is Hiking Safe During Pregnancy?

As mentioned, pregnancy is a delicate time for every woman. Therefore, they can't be too rash in the things they do. It is the time where they might have to halt doing the usual activities they engage in. 

Hiking should be safe, as it is a form of exercise. But then again, it is something that pregnant women shouldn't do recklessly. It is important that necessary precautions are taken to ensure the safety of the trip. 

If you are interested in hiking during your child-rearing season, the following things are strictly advised:

Visit Your Doctor

No exercise or physical activity should be conducted without ample consultation with your doctor, which in this case, an OB-GYN. They are the ones that can tell you whether or not hiking is safe for you and the baby inside you. If you have been hiking in the past, then there's a good chance that your physician would give a green light. However, if it is your first time or that you have a problematic pregnancy, you may not be allowed to go. 

Furthermore, it is necessary that you discuss the details of the trip. You should disclose the terrain and its potential level of difficulty. If they think that the trip is too exhausting, they might require you to prepare even more. Otherwise, they will not let you embark on the trip. 

Go For Easy Terrains

There's no real need for you to challenge yourself on a difficult hiking trip during your pregnancy. The very reason why you should hike in the first place is to exercise your mind and body. Always keep in mind that you are already carrying a baby in your belly. Your child could weigh at least 20 pounds, and that's enough to reduce your sense of balance. Of course, that's a risky predicament, as it will increase your chances of falling or slipping. You should hike in even terrains and those areas that have defined paths with minimal or no obstructions. 

Get A Pair Of Hiking Shoes

A good pair of hiking shoes can make all the difference when you're out on the trail. And for pregnant women, the right footwear can keep them from having a bad time on the path. Hiking shoes are designed to make your feet safe and comfortable. They also significantly contribute to your sense of balance and support your overall weight. Keep in mind that there are hiking shoes for every terrain. Check all your options, and see if they are suitable for your intended destination. 

Bring Your Hiking Poles

Though it is possible to hike with a giant stick, it isn't recommended since you are more likely to trip, injure yourself or lose it eventually. Hence, pregnant women are advised to use trekking poles whenever they hike--even if the terrain is just forgiving. Trekking poles are great tools that can be used when hiking to help extend your reach, maintain balance when crossing streams, or simply be used to keep you out of the mud.

Plan Ahead For Potty Stops

As always, you must pick trails with established amenities. In this way, you can guarantee that there are portable bathrooms within the trail. However, it is not wrong to bring some toiletries if you feel that your bladder is going to break in an unexpected location.

Keep Hydrated

Pregnant women excrete a lot of sweat in their bodies. This natural occurrence can be amplified by the fact that you are going on a hiking trip, which requires a degree of physical exertion. Losing body fluids during a hike is normal. But at the same time, this doesn't mean that you should let it be. You should pack a bottle of water in your trail to remain hydrated. It is recommended that pregnant women drink at least eight ounces of water every 10 to 15 minutes. 

Always Have Access To Emergency Lines

Since hiking during your pregnancy can pose some problems, it is important you remain on the grid. You should bring your phone on your trip. Also, you should pick a location where there are vehicles or cars nearby. Furthermore, hiking on a populated trail is beneficial. People will be able to assist you if ever you need assistance. Of course, I have to remind you that you shouldn't hike alone. Bring someone with you so that you'll not be alone and helpless during emergencies. 

Care For Your Skin

One should know that the burst of hormonal release during pregnancy can make some of your body parts sensitive--and that includes your skin. Hence, during the hike, it is recommended that you traverse trails that are covered by trees or large canopies. At the same time, don't forget to apply protective lotions (those that SPF 30 or higher). 

Understand Your Limitations

There are women who can hike long distances even if they are almost due to give birth. Others require extreme moderation. As a hiker, it is important that you know your limitations, and stick to them no matter what. You don't have to push the barriers, especially if your only goal here is to be physically fit for your delivery date. 

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