Kayaking While Pregnant
Kayaking is one of the most loved water sports in the world. It's a peaceful way to get up close and personal with nature in the outdoors and from the vantage point of the water. It seems like it could be the perfect pastime to make any pregnant women feel relaxed and at ease. It's also a fantastic way to stay active.
The question "can I go kayaking while I am pregnant?" get asked a lot, especially by outdoor adventure lovers. The answers isn't a simple yes or no as there is many things that need to be taken into consideration. However the shortest answer we can give is that you need to talk to your doctor as they will understand you and your body's limitations way better than we ever can.
One thing that we understand doctors will look at first is whether your pregnancy is high-risk or if you have a history of pregnancy complications. It's likely that if so you might have to hold off on kayaking and camping etc. until your pregnancy is over and you've welcomed your child into the world.
In most cases, you'll be able to get straight into your touring kayak (or any kayak for that matter) and head out on the water if you and your baby is healthy. Following in this article is a few key points we would like to discuss and consider if you are wanting to go kayaking while pregnant.
Remaining Safe While Kayaking Pregnant
We would like to reiterate the point that you should definitely take the question "Can I kayak while pregnant?" straight to your doctor. Remember that they ultimately have the best advice when it comes to keeping you safe during your pregnancy.
If your doctor has given you the all clear and has said that it is ok for you to go kayaking while pregnant then you know that the safety of you and your baby should be your main concern. Safety is also one of the biggest considerations when you kayak, pregnant or not. Kayaking all day even when you aren't pregnant can be tiring however kayaking while pregnant will definitely throw up some challenges. A bit of forward planning can definitely help you make sure you've packed all your essentials.
Remember to always pack yourself enough food, drinks and snacks for the whole day and maybe some extra. Your child's health is largely dependant on your own health. Staying well fed and hydrated throughout the day is very important especially when you're burning extra calories during exercise.
Another point to remember is the weather. Always check the weather ahead of time and ensure it's a nice day for kayaking, you don't want it overly cold nor overly hot. And remember that the weather may be great when you leave home and travel to the water. It may be wise to take sunscreen and an umbrella in case the sun ends up beating down on you for hours. And it may also be worth taking extra layers and a waterproof for if it gets cold or downpours.
Where to kayak is also something you must consider. I would always advice to never go whitewater kayaking while pregnant as the risks of injury are drastically increased and the ride is always very rough and strenuous. You'll also have a greater risk of capsizing and flipping over whilst riding white water. Flipping yourself back over to an upright position won't be as easy while you are pregnant; therefore avoid this type of kayaking at all costs.
Stick to calmer waters such as calm rivers and lakes while pregnant.
Even if you are used to kayaking alone and kayaking is definitely a sport that can be enjoyed on your own. I would always ensure you take a partner or friend along with you if you are pregnant. It's just another form of a safety net that will get you out of trouble if things turn south and you need extra assistance.
Pregnant or not I would always recommend that people wear a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) or life jacket whilst they are kayaking. But it definitely needs to be worn if you are pregnant. Your PFD which fits you nicely and is perfect for your weight when you aren't pregnant might need upgrading if you are far into your pregnancy and have increased in size and weight - so double check it before you head out on your adventure.
Is Kayaking Whilst Pregnant a Good Idea?
Whilst you are pregnant your weight increases and thus more stress is placed on your ankles, knees and hip joints. Kayaking is actually a non weight bearing sport for a pregnant women. Meaning your legs don't actually support on weight as you are sat down in the kayak. This is great if you are worried about complications such as swollen feet and ankles.
Compared to other outdoor activities such as running, biking and swimming, kayaking is both a great exercise for getting fit and loosing weight (we wrote a whole article on calories burned whilst kayaking) and kayaking can be relatively easy, even if you are a beginner kayaker.
Kayaking is also a peaceful sport enjoyed in the outdoors which is known to reduce your stress and anxiety levels.
Have The Right Kayak While You Are Pregnant
Most people wont likely need to go out and purchase a brand new kayak just to go kayaking while pregnant. If you are really comfortable in the kayak you have and you can still easily get in and out of it then it may be a great choice.
But I would always recommend a tandem kayak for a pregnant person, they tend to be larger so you can carry more supplies and comfortably sit on it. You also have another person there with you to either keep you safe and to take over the paddling duties if you get a little tired whilst out on the water.
Consider the kayaks style before you make your ultimate purchase. Although the style will largely depend on your preference for the type of kayaking you want to do. It's worth mentioning that whilst you are pregnant it's much harder to get in and out of the kayak - especially if you are further along in your pregnancy. Having a larger kayak which is either sit on top or is wide can make it much easier to get inside your kayak.
You should also check the weight capacity of the kayak you purchase or the kayak you currently own. You may gain some baby weight during your pregnancy and it's worth just double checking that you won't be over the loading capacity of the kayak. This will ensure that the kayak remains stable and afloat in the water.
Kayaking is a much loved outdoor activity and can be fun for all of the family (even those yet to be born!).
We will say it again, before you head out to your favourite kayaking location you should always consult the guidance from your doctor, at the end of the day they know you very well and have access to the latest medical advice we don't. Ultimately their decision is the one that matters, no matter how confident you are in the water.
If you come to the conclusion that we have answered the question "can i go kayaking while pregnant?" and your doctor gives you the go ahead then go for it! Kayaking is a great activity and it's one of our favourites here at Water Sporting Adventure.