Physical activity is vital for mothers-to-be, with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week to stay healthy. While hiking’s a great form of aerobic exercise, there are certain precautions you should take when pregnant and exploring trails. The following advice will make hiking while pregnant both safer and more enjoyable.
Speak With Your Doctor
Before doing anything else, always go over intended pregnancy workouts with your doctor. Doctors can tell you how safe certain activities are and what distances, elevations and temperatures you’ll be able to handle.
Backroads Pro Tip
Remember, what’s considered safe will depend on your health and which trimester you’re in. Don’t assume that what’s safe for one mother-to-be will be safe for you.
Keeping hydrated is essential for pregnant women. Pregnant women need to consume slightly more water than women who are not pregnant. (According to the National Academy of Medicine, mothers-to-be should be drinking approximately 13 eight-ounce glasses a day.) Women who are expecting also tend to overheat quickly, so hydrating properly can help regulate temperatures, as well as control fatigue levels. It’s also a good idea to bring electrolyte supplements or water with added electrolytes to prevent dizziness.
Always Bring Food
It’s always a good idea to bring snacks when you hit the trail, but this is especially true when pregnant. Throughout pregnancy, women have to increase caloric intake by up to 500 calories. Snacking will keep your energy up and help you avoid fatigue, a common problem when pregnant, as well as help you meet your caloric intake. Opt for healthy options, such as nuts or fruits.
Avoid Uneven Trail
With fluctuations in weight, pregnant women can often feel as if their centers of gravity are off. To counter that, stick with trails that cover even, flat terrain.
Backroads Pro Tip
For additional stability during pregnancy workouts, consider carrying a walking stick, and make sure to wear a pair of sturdy hiking boots as well.
Slow Your Pace
While mothers-to-be can continue hiking throughout pregnancy, it’s recommended they slow down their pace considerably. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and National Health Services in the United Kingdom note that pregnant women should maintain a pace that still allows them to hold a conversation. Both health entities also advise taking plenty of breaks.
Stay Within Cell Service
During pregnancy, medical emergencies can occur at any time. Make sure to stay within range of cell phone towers so emergency services can be contacted, if the need arises.