Kayaking can be peaceful and meditative or adrenaline-pumping and challenging, depending on how you approach it. So, is it safe to do it while pregnant? Read on to find out.
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Kayaking while pregnant
Your life completely turns upside down when you’re pregnant. With a baby growing and kicking in your womb, abandoning outdoor adventures for a while may seem like a necessary sacrifice. However, it is not necessary to give up kayaking while pregnant.
Kayaking and canoeing are not dangerous to pregnant women. Kayaking or canoeing during pregnancy is generally considered safe for most women as long as the discussion is about low-risk pregnancies and meditative and relaxing kayaking, not those jerky, bouncy ones that can send you crashing into the sea.
Indeed, the general rule regarding any form of physical activity while pregnant is that if you were exercising before being pregnant, it should be safe to continue exercising while pregnant. Staying active during pregnancy is recommended. It’s quite advantageous for you and the baby. Here’s a look:
Benefits of kayaking During pregnancy
Pregnancy hormones wreak havoc on the body, making you want to pause any physical activity for the next nine months. But unless it’s a risky pregnancy with the likelihood of complications, it’s not advisable to miss exercising. Kayaking is one of those activities that can lift your mood while working your back, shoulder, chest, and legs. Kayaking is both a cardio and strength training activity that works the whole body. Here are the benefits of kayaking during pregnancy.
Reduce backache, swelling, and general discomfort
Kayaking being an anaerobic activity that may build your core and lats. While in the kayak, a person has to keep stability and balance. To turn your torso, you’ll need to use the lower back muscles. Every stroke you make works these muscles and strengthens them without exacting pressure on your knees and ankles. For instance, while rowing back with one arm, the muscles on the other side are extended and contracted. You may even change the speed to increase the intensity of the workout.
Kayaking also works the legs reducing swelling on your ankles and feet. As you rotate your torso, you will have to maintain pressure with your legs.
Prevent excess weight gain
Gaining weight during pregnancy helps protects your health and that of your baby. But you have to gain the right amount of weight. Too much or too little weight gain can be harmful. For example, too little weight gain is commonly associated with a premature baby and low birth weight. At the same time, too much weight gain is commonly linked to premature babies, fetal macrosomia, and c-section births.
Staying physically active by kayaking during pregnancy helps gain the right amount of weight. Kayaking is fun and adventurous, so you can do it for long without getting bored. Just one hour of paddling helps burn up to 350 calories!
It tones the muscles and helps build strength and endurance.
Kayaking builds your shoulder, chest, back, legs, and arms muscles because you use these parts to paddle. It also increases the number of capillaries in your muscles and keeps the heart and lung open leading to improved cardiovascular health. According to health experts, pregnant women need more than 21/2 hours of moderate-intense cardio workout per week. Just 30 minutes of kayaking per day can help you meet that target.
Improves energy levels and mood
Kayaking allows you to relax, appreciate nature, get fresh air, and do what you love; this leads to reduced stress levels, better mental health, and healthier pregnancy. The act of paddling and maintaining balance and stability makes the heart pump faster and also keeps the lung and blood vessels in muscles open, leading to better circulation. It also increases metabolism, making you feel energetic. It also increases endorphins, reduces swelling and other discomforts leading to better sleep.
Lower your risk of gestational diabetes
You may get diabetic for the first time during pregnancy. This type of diabetes, too, affects how your body cells use glucose. It usually results in high blood pressure that can put your pregnancy and your baby’s health at risk. In women with this type of diabetes, blood sugar levels usually fall to normal soon after giving birth. But just the fact that you developed this type of diabetes puts you at risk of diabetes type II. You will need regular checkups for shifts in your blood glucose level.
The good news is with healthy foods, physical workouts, and medication, pregnant mothers, can control gestational diabetes.
Increase your stamina for labor and delivery
Kayaking prepares you for labor pains by improving your strength and endurance. It will strengthen your pelvic floor, reduce back pain and any discomfort. Also, staying physically active during pregnancy enhances your recovery time. You will be back on the boat in just a few days after giving birth.
That said, not all pregnancies are the same. The decision to continue kayaking when you’re pregnant will depend on several factors. Here’s a look:
Factors determining whether it’s safe to kayak while pregnant
How far along are you in your pregnancy?
Depending on how far along you are in your permanency, kayaking may or may not be safe for you. for example, it may not be safe if you are past the 2nd trimester. Kayaking during pregnancy is also not advisable in high-risk pregnancies with likely complications; it could be unsafe for both you and your baby.
Here are a few situations in which you may need to “slow down” till your baby arrives:
- Pre-existing health conditions
- Multiple pregnancies
- Miscarriage issues in the past
- History of premature birth
- A weak cervix
- Motion sickness
Ultimately, only you and your doctor or health care provider know what’s the safest thing to do. Kayaking is a physically demanding sport that requires top fitness levels. After the second trimester, even lifting a kayak to and from the water may not be advisable.
It’s always a good idea to consult with your health care provider and doctor and respect their recommendations. Most importantly, know what your body can and cannot do and respect that.
The type of kayaking
Kayaking can be done while pregnant if you are not too far along and don’t have any health complications. Still, there may be risks depending on other factors, such as the type of kayaking. Even if you are not pregnant, there are some types of kayaking that are inherently more dangerous than others.
Kayaking might be a good option if you want to take a leisurely paddle in quiet waters. However, if you are talking about whitewater rafting and battling waves, it could be dangerous. You may be knocked off your kayak onto a rock or hard into the water, and you may not be able to get back in it.
The condition of the body
Some water bodies are calmer than others naturally. Some rivers are windy and choppy and with features such as falls, rocks, and floating logs that may not be safe for pregnant women.
If you want a pleasant trip on the water, you will need to avoid choppy, fast-moving waters and anywhere logs, rocks, or large boats are floating. If something knocks you off the vessel, you may not be able to get back in it. You also want a situation where there are no bumps to your midsection. So, while scouting waterbodies to kayak while pregnant, calm water bodies without obstacles are the safest options.
Tips to Stay Safe While kayaking during pregnancy
Even if the doctor has given you the okay, jumping into your kayak haphazardly without any preparation is not the safest thing to do. You are carrying a child, so you have to look for both your health and safety. Here is what you can do to stay safe in your kayak in the water while pregnant.
PFD. Whether you are pregnant or not, don’t hit the waters without a personal floatation device.
- Sun protection. Use high-spectrum sunscreen, hats, kayak shade, and sunglasses.
- Eat a balanced meal, then pack enough snacks and water for the outing. Make sure to put them where they are easy to reach.
- Plan where you will be taking bathroom breaks because you are going to be peeing quite a lot
- Make the necessary upgrade to your watercraft. For example, upgrade to cushioned, adjustable seat and make sure it has a supporting backrest.
Also, while at it, choose a wide-beam sit-on-top kayak that’s comfortable to get in and out with your baby bump.
- Don’t go out alone. Have a partner. Tandem kayaking is advisable for pregnant women because you will always have someone to provide support during emergencies.
- Pay attention to your body. The brain can give you the signal to stop or keep going, but while you are expectant, it’s your body you should listen to more. If you are uncomfortable on the kayak, then quit it for now.
- Take it easy. Please don’t force your body to do anything it can’t. If you can’t kayak now, you can still do it after giving birth. Your safety and that of the baby come first.
Kayaking While Pregnant: Final Thoughts
You will need to make several – often significant – changes to your lifestyle during pregnancy. However, kayaking might not automatically be one of them: Depending on various factors, kayaking may or may not be a safe thing to do.
For example, in the early days of the pregnancy, before the second trimester, and with no factors posing a risk to you or the baby, you can totally hit the waters and enjoy some fresh air, bond with nature and give your body a workout. All you’ve got to do is observe a few safety precautions like making sure the river is calm, the kayak is strong and safe, and you have a partner and a PFD out there in case of emergencies.
But after the 2nd trimester or in case of health factors that pose risks to your pregnancy, the desire for those calm waters and the picturesque scene is not worth putting your life and that of your baby at risk.
Related Questions Readers may concern.
Can you zipline while pregnant?
No, Zip lining is one of those activities you can’t do while pregnant, and for many reasons.
First of all, you may not even qualify based on your weight. Most commercial zip-lining establishments have a weight limit that you may surpass because of your pregnancy situation. Secondly, zip-lining involves harnesses and lanyards, some of which go around your back and abdomen and may exert pressure, putting your baby’s health at great risk.
The third reason is fatigue. Ziplining requires focus to ensure you are tied right and so that you enjoy the ride, but when you are preggers, that’s not possible.
The fourth reason is pregnancy comes with the constant urge to pee, so your bladder may not hold for an hour and a half while you enjoy the ride.
The fifth reason is your breasts are tender, and you certainly won’t enjoy the sensation of the zip line strapped over your chest, even if they are padded. It will make your breasts even sorer.
The last reason is nausea. Pregnancy comes with nausea, aka morning pregnancy. If you are already nauseous, zip lining can make it worse.
Can you go down flumes when pregnant?
No. Amusement Park rides such as waterslides are a no-no while pregnant since a rough landing or abrupt start or stop could hurt your baby.
Can you go scuba-diving while pregnant?
Scuba diving is not advisable while pregnant because as you come to the surface, air bubbles can enter your bloodstream and pose a danger to you and your baby.
Other outdoor adventures that may be dangerous to you and your baby while pregnant include snowboarding, surfing, and skiing. They come with the risk of falling, which could cause trauma to your abdomen and harm the baby. Always speak with your healthcare provider to find out what outdoor activities are safe for you during pregnancy.