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If you love hiking like I do, then you’ll probably want to keep at it while you’re pregnant! Hiking while pregnant is safe for most women. Simply ask your OB/GYN if it is safe in your case, and if so, then let’s talk about some tips for making your hike more pleasant when you hit the trails.
Tips for Choosing Hikes If You’re Pregnant
- Find trails that are relatively flat and well maintained. Because your center of gravity is off when you’re pregnant, particularly in the late 2nd trimester and entire 3rd trimester, you will have a lot less balance than you’re used to. Therefore, find trails that are much easier than you typically hike. Don’t worry, you’ll be back to hiking the hills once you can put your bundle of joy into a baby carrier!
- If you can, avoid carrying a backpack. Otherwise, keep it light! This is one of those times when you need to ask your hiking friends, significant other, etc. for help. Let them carry your gear in their pack, so you can focus on maintaining your balance, watching your footing, and enjoying the fresh air and peace of being in the outdoors without straining yourself.
- Listen to your body. If you’re feeling tired, stop. Take a break, drink more water, and have a snack. It is important to realize that you cannot do what you did before you were pregnant. If you find that your hikes are causing any pain, then talk to your doctor and switch to walks in parks or even stop exercise altogether. All of us are different and our bodies handle pregnancy in unique ways. No need to fret if you’re one of those you can’t hike when you’re pregnant. You’ll be hitting the trails with you baby!
Recommended Gear for Hiking While Pregnant
- Hydration Backpack or Vest / Extra Water. Your OB/GYN surely has told you drink lots of water! You need to drink lots of water to keep you and the baby well hydrated. I know from my experience that if I don’t drink enough water my calves cramp in the middle of the night. Not fun! It is very important to stay hydrated while you’re pregnant, so when you’re hitting the trails, keep the water flowing!
- Snacks, Snacks, and More Snacks. You probably already know that your blood sugar drops while you’re pregnant. No matter where I go, even if it is just on a quick errand, I always take snacks with me. I often feel lightheaded randomly. This is even more true when out doing physical activity, like hiking. Keep healthy snacks with you, such as a protein bar, banana, or packaged hard cheese.
- Sturdy Lugsole Hiking Shoes / Boots. Make sure you wear proper footwear, with a special focus on rugged lugsoles. What are rugged lugsoles? It is the thick rubber sole of a boot or shoe that has deep indentations to help your feet grip to uneven and slippery surfaces. One of my favorite pairs of boots are my Oboz Wind River II hiking boots, that are a bit overkill for an easy hike, but surely will provide stability when you’re hiking while pregnant! (See the Hiking Lady Review of the Oboz Wind River II Boots here)
Check out Hiking Lady’s Guide to Women’s Hiking Boots.
- Trekking Poles. Even if the terrain is relatively flat and you’re not carrying a backpack, bring your trekking poles along! You will have much more stability with them, and it will really help you balance your center of gravity. Two poles are ideal, but one pole will help too (if like me, Hiking Baby snatches one away to use for himself! See picture!). Currently my personal favorites are the REI Co-Op Flash Carbon Trekking Poles. See Hiking Lady 101: Trekking Poles for purchasing tips, if you don’t already have a pair.
Most importantly, have fun, and happy trails!