For real, I love being active when I’m expecting. Hiking while pregnant is a fantastic way for me to stay in shape, bond with my kid and to feel like I did something productive, which many days is a struggle as my body grows. The gorgeous landscapes don’t hurt either. Hiking with a bun in the oven can be tough though; here are some tips to make it manageable for you:

Hiking While Pregnant

Pick Your Trail

Knowing your route is all about knowing your limitations. If you are 15 weeks pregnant, you may be able to tackle a four-mile trail that would be impossible to handle if you were 35 weeks along. Steep hikes may not be ideal for a momma in her third trimester, but be a fun treat for someone who is only 10 weeks along. Exercise is good for pregnant ladies who understand how important it is to avoid new challenges during these important 40 weeks. It’s best to choose a trail that provides some shade as the sun will affect you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined before you got pregnant. Exhausted and nauseous are just two of the words that come to mind. Wear a hat, pack extra sunscreen and apply it generously. Look for trails that aren’t too technical and have spots where you can stop to pee if you need to. (Trust me, you’ll need to— especially after drinking up all that water that you’ve brought along for the trip.)

 

Hydrate Like Crazy

Water! Water! More water! This is possibly the most important aspect to any outdoor excursion whether you are expecting or not. The amount of blood in your body more than doubles while you’re carrying a child and it is incredibly easy to get swollen while on the trails. Grab at least a one gallon jug of water for your backpack— if not more— and use that to refill a water bottle that you keep in an outside pocket on your bag. Plan on draining this jug during your trip and make sure to drink from your water bottle enough to make this happen. Always drink more water than you think you need.

 

Hiking While Pregnant
Photo by Allison Wildman Flickr.com

Plan Ahead

Chances are that those fabulous size 8 hiking boots that you got for Christmas don’t fit your expanding feet anymore. Get yourself a new pair of shoes for the trails and figure out what you need to do to accommodate your growing body with other items as well, such as shirts, shorts and even bras—especially bras actually.

Aside from the proper clothing, planning out what you will need to eat is also essential. Power-packed natural snacks like bananas and carrot sticks are great choices that you know will be ideal for both you and the little one. Easy-to-store snacks and filling snacks like granola bars are also a great pick.

 

Hiking While Pregnant
Photo by particlem Flickr.com

Know Your Body

Being in your own body while expecting can feel like a very unusual experience— especially when you reach the end of your pregnancy— but it’s important that you pay attention to what your body is saying. Getting too swollen, seeing stars, feeling faint, being short of breath— all of these things can be serious warning signs, and you need to pay close attention to what your body is telling you. Stop and rest as many times as you feel that you need to during your hike and call it quits early if your body isn’t reacting to this fabulous exercise the way you feel it ought to be.

 

Hiking While Pregnant

Always Bring a Pal

Hiking is one of my family’s favorite activities and I can’t imagine doing it without them, but I’m sure some ladies prefer to indulge in some alone time while they exercise. For safety’s sake, always bring a partner while you hike— pregnant or not. Taking in the landscapes while hitting the trail can be a fun bonding experience for you and your partner or an entertaining way to get the kiddos out of the house. Bring a cell phone along and make sure the younger family members know how to use it.

 

Hiking can be a wonderful experience for a pregnant woman and keeping active during the months leading up to the arrival of your baby is a great way for both mom and child to stay healthy. Proper planning and general thoughtfulness on the trail goes a long way, so get outdoors and do what you love while waiting for your little bundle to arrive.

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