Hiking While Pregnant
Is hiking safe during pregnancy? What advantages does it offer? What precautions do you need to make? How is it different than before pregnancy? I’m sharing my experience about hiking while pregnant.
So we’re passionate hikers. Whenever we travel, we usually do some hiking, too. Actually, we often do more hiking than anything else. We didn’t stop hiking during most of my pregnancy either. If you don’t hike often, anyway, then your pregnancy is not the best time to start it. But if you do, there’s no reason to stop it. Unless there is a reason, of course, so be sure to discuss it with your doctor or midwife first.
Please note that I’m not a doctor or any other kind of health professional, and I am not necessarily recommending the same things I’ve done for anyone. I had a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy. I also discussed about hiking with my doctor who encouraged me to stay active during my pregnancy as long as it feels good. But if your health and fitness conditions are different, if there are any complications in your pregnancy, you should consult with your doctor or midwife, and follow their advice first and foremost. You should consult with them regularly, anyway.
Advantages of hiking during pregnancy
Hiking is great both for your body and your soul! It stays true during pregnancy, as well. It improves your strength, and it’s a good cardio exercise. Labor lasts hours, and then you can benefit from the endurance hiking takes.
Hiking also helps prevent against gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. It’s a great stress reliever, too, and helps you sleep better. Hah, we usually get so tired after a long hiking day that we could sleep anywhere. And I can tell, getting tired is much easier when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy is not an emotionally well-balanced period in your life. But experiencing the solitude and beauty of nature works wonders on your mood. And just like any exercising, hiking makes you happier, too, because endorphin is released in your brain.
Do you still need encouragement? Look at this then – how about this view as a reward? 🙂
How long or hard the trail could be?
I enjoyed hiking during my pregnancy. But we did shorter hikes on easier terrain than what we used to. A short or easy trail can be different for everyone. As for me, 10-15 kilometres and 700-800 metres elevation gain was fine. But we hiked 20-25 kilometres and 800-1400 metres elevation gain in a day before my pregnancy. Only you can decide what is comfortable for you. Just listen to your body, and don’t expect too much from yourself. It’s not the time to push your limits. Your body needs rest and relaxation as much as exercise.
My tips for hiking while pregnant
Bring more water than you think you need. Drink a lot. Even more. It’s good to drink plenty of water during pregnancy. I always felt thirsty throughout my pregnancy, anyway, and I drank 2-3 litres of water on an average day. It was even more on a hiking day.
Don’t carry too much weight. Let your partner and fellow hikers help. I mostly only carried the water I needed for the day in a small backpack, and left the rest for Csaba. If you’re unsure what too much is for you, ask your doctor.
Take breaks often. If you feel tired, just take a break. It doesn’t matter that you had one not so long ago. Your body needs the energy to grow that new life inside. It’s just natural that you get tired earlier, and you proceed at a slower pace than what you’re normally capable of.
Protect your skin. You need to protect your skin against the sun, anyway. But pregnancy hormones make your skin even more sensitive.
Beware that your sense of balance gets worse. It’s also natural during pregnancy. So stick to clearly defined trails, and avoid dangerous ones where you need to balance on narrow paths.
Avoid hiking at high-altitude
While hiking in general is fine, hiking at high-altitude is riskier. At heights over 2000-3000 metres, the oxygen level in the air is low. It means your baby gets less oxygen, too. Pregnant women are also more vulnerable to developing altitude sickness. Always consult with your doctor or midwife before taking hiking trips at extreme elevations.
Hiking ideas in Eastern Europe
Since we live in Hungary, we often have shorter or longer hiking getaways in nearby countries. It was no different during my pregnancy. Actually, as I got into my third trimester, we especially looked for places that are close to our home.
So based on our previous experiences, here are some hikes that we did during my pregnancy – or some that we did earlier, but I’d recommend considering them for pregnant women:
4 Great Hikes In Transylvania’s Apuseni Mountains. We had this trip when I started my second trimester.
Waterfall Hunt In Transylvania, Romania. Three pretty and easily reachable waterfalls from Transylvania.
4 Great Day Trips From Salzburg. Some of these trips are lovely hiking trips that reward with pretty waterfall views, like Golling Waterfall or Almbachklamm gorge.
Best Day Hikes In Slovakia’s Great Fatra. Of all the Tatras and Fatras of Slovakia, Great Fatra offers the easiest and least dangerous hiking trails. Some of them are quite long though.
Wonders Of Slovak Karst National Park. Amazing karst caves and lovely trails on the karst plateau. Oh, waterfalls included. 🙂
Bükk National Park, Hungary. Bükk Mountains with 800-900 meters high peaks and moderate forest trails offer a pleasant getaway to the outdoors.
Balaton Uplands National Park, Hungary. Rewarding with the nicest views in Hungary, Balaton Uplands offers mostly moderate forest trails.
Waterfall Addicts, Get To Know Krka National Park. Croatia’s beautiful gem. Easy boardwalk leads to the waterfall where you can even have a swim.
Heaven On Earth: Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia. Busier and more popular than Krka, the trails of Plitvice Lakes are also mostly on boardwalks, and they are quite easy.
Waterfall Hunt In Triglav National Park, Slovenia. Most of these waterfall trails are also short and easy.
But please note that I judge these trails based on our habits and health conditions, and you should decide for yourself whether they are suitable for you.
Do you have any experience hiking when pregnant? What advice would you give?