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Is It Really Safe To Go Kayaking While Pregnant?

If you’re pregnant, kayaking may seem like an appealing activity to help you relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the sea, rivers, lakes, and woodlands.

But when it comes to heading out on the water during pregnancy, you may have some concerns about kayaking, such as:

  • Is it safe for women who are pregnant to go kayaking?
  • Which type of kayak is ideal to use during pregnancy?
  • Is a pregnant woman’s body up to the demands of kayaking?
  • Can a pregnant woman maintain the energy needed to keep up with the rigors of kayaking?

These are all common questions that may come if you’re thinking about kayaking during your pregnancy.

You’ll be happy to know that it is entirely safe to kayak while pregnant, as long as you take some precautions and follow your doctor’s recommendations. In fact, maintaining a moderate level of physical activity, like kayaking, can be incredibly beneficial to both your physical and mental health during pregnancy.

Rethinking Kayaking During Pregnancy – How Can I Kayak?

Pregnant lady standing by the lakeside

Although it’s understandable why you may be hesitant to go kayaking if you’re pregnant, you shouldn’t let uncertainty keep you from enjoying a relaxing paddling experience.

Usually, a pregnant woman can continue kayaking and stay active throughout the majority of her pregnancy, based on her doctor’s recommendations.

Keep in mind, kayaking during pregnancy may not be as easy as before, and you’ll probably need to make some modifications to your regular kayaking routine.

But staying physically active while enjoying the fresh air and beauty on the water can be incredibly beneficial to both your physical and mental health while pregnant.

Kayaking during pregnancy is not only possible, but this non-weight-bearing sport can be a great stress reliever, and help you stay active while acknowledging your body’s limitations.

Physical activity and moderate exercise are important during pregnancy.

Add to that, the beneficial and relaxing experience of kayaking on calm waters, and you’ve got yourself a great activity to enjoy during your whole pregnancy.

Kayaking Provides Good Exercise and A Healthy Adventure During Pregnancy

Some doctors recommend exercising right up until the ninth month, while others may suggest keeping your kayak on dry land until your baby is born.

The question is, should you continue your adventures or hang up your paddle?

First of all, nothing beats a doctor’s advice.

Your doctor knows both you and your baby’s health, and is in the best position to advise you on whether or not it is safe for you to kayak while pregnant.

While many pregnant women enjoy kayaking, any physical activity that’s too strenuous can be dangerous, especially for those with complications during pregnancy.

All women, especially those whose pregnancies are considered “high risk”, should consult their doctor before going out on the water.

What if your doctor gives you the green light to pick up your paddle?

In that case, kayaking may quickly become your favorite exercise while you’re pregnant!

Kayaking is a great physical activity, and can even reduce discomfort, backaches, and the risk of gestational diabetes.

This low risk, non-weight-bearing activity will help you stay active while not exacerbating swollen feet.

With your body in such turmoil during pregnancy, getting out and about is one of the best things you can do for your mental health.

Pregnant women who engage in outdoor activities, like kayaking, tend to have lower stress levels and improved overall mental health.

Paddling Tips For Staying Safe While Pregnant – How to Prepare for A Safe Kayaking Trip

Since pregnancy is such a special and exciting time, there are some extra precautions you must take when doing certain activities.

Once you reach your third trimester, many women realize that their body just won’t bend and balance the way it did before they were pregnant.

At first, the idea of kayaking while pregnant may seem scary, but if you listen to your doctor, take things slow, and stay on calm water, you can still enjoy this healthy sport and nature out on the water.

A Kayaking Mother-To-Be Caring For Your Body

Kayaking is definitely an exciting pastime!

Kayak fishing while exploring a gorgeous lake, or even paddling down a slow-moving river, can make every other sport seem to pale in comparison.

You can enjoy kayaking with friends, try different routes, and keep it fresh each time so you never feel like you’re doing the same thing twice.

But along with all the excitement and fun, you also need to make sure you’re taking good care of yourself.

Incorporate these measures while planning your kayaking trip to stay safe and have fun!

Personal Flotation Device

Woman riding a kayak wearing a personal flotation device or life jacket

Safety is of the utmost importance when kayaking, and a pregnant woman needs to be even more careful than most paddlers while out on the water.

Getting into a kayak during fall or winter means exposing yourself to the possibility of frostbite and hypothermia.

Some women, especially those with high-risk pregnancies, may want to avoid kayaking during the colder months.

But if you’re an avid kayaker who’s determined to get out on the water, having the right life jacket can save your life by helping you get out of cold water quickly, should you unexpectedly find yourself swimming.

Make sure that your life jacket is properly fitted to be snug and secure, but not too tight.

Since all women gain some weight during pregnancy, this can cause your center of balance to shift. The added baby weight will likely make it a bit more difficult to keep your kayak stable.

This possibility of added instability is just another reason why a well-fitted personal flotation device is vital for safety while kayaking during pregnancy.

It’s also important to choose the right kayak, and the right body of water, for your adventure.

Whitewater kayaking is never recommended for a pregnant woman, simply because the risk of going overboard is high, and white water is often full of jolts and bumps.

Sun Protection

Let’s say you want to take it easy.

You just want to float out into the bay, soak in the warmth of the sun, and take in all the natural beauty surrounding you.

While doing so can be extremely beneficial and relaxing, you also need to take precautions to make sure you’re safe from the sun’s harm while you’re on the water.

Apply a high spectrum SPF, and think about wearing a shirt or rashguard instead of a swimsuit to protect your belly from the sun, to help you feel comfortable all day.

Also, remember to pack plenty of snacks and extra water – it’s vital to stay hydrated at all times during your pregnancy.

Getting enough nourishment and water is a key part of maintaining your health, no matter how far along you are in your pregnancy.

Know Your Body’s Limits

Pregnancy can bring a wide array of discomfort, and being uncomfortable can cause anxiety.

Physical activity can exacerbate this discomfort, in addition to the anxiety that may accompany it.

So the less you expect from yourself, the more you can relax and enjoy your adventure.

As you’re out paddling, try not to overwork yourself – pushing your body to the point of exhaustion can lead to anxiety, complications, and in extreme situations, possibly even premature birth.

Stay in tune with your body, and listen to it when it tells you it’s time to stop.

Take time to rest when you’re tired — or better yet, before you get tired — and resume paddling only when you feel ready.

Types Of Water – Paddle On A Lake Or River With A Smooth Current

Bird's eye view of two people relaxing on kayaks in calm, shallow waters

Before you get into your kayak during pregnancy, always make safety a priority, and consider the weather and water conditions.

You can enjoy a great day on the water without exposing yourself or your baby to unnecessary risks.

One of those risks in particular is falling out of your kayak during whitewater kayaking.

Falling into turbulent water can give you an adrenaline rush as you try to stay above the water, and this can be harmful to your baby.

To avoid this risk, avoid whitewater kayaking and stick to paddling on calm, shallow waters during pregnancy.

What Sort Of Kayak Should You Use During Pregnancy?

Consider the following questions when trying to choose the right type of kayak when you’re pregnant:

  • Which kind will afford your growing belly the most freedom of movement?
  • Which one will allow you to adjust your seat height or foot braces more easily?
  • Would you feel more comfortable in an open or closed cockpit?
  • Do you want to own a sit-inside kayak if you plan to go kayaking while pregnant?

In the world of kayaking, there are many different styles, shapes, and sizes of boats.

The sit-inside and sit-on-top kayaks are two of the most common types available.

Many pregnant women prefer the sit-on-top variety, since this type of kayak allows you to sit, adjust in your seat, and stand up without needing as much assistance from someone else.

Women tend to avoid sit-in-kayaks during pregnancy, as they can be less stable and more challenging to get in and out of.

It’s also important to consider your weight when choosing the right kayak.

If you already have a kayak, or even a canoe, make sure that your additional weight during this time doesn’t outweigh the boat’s weight capacity.

Taking Kayaking To The Next Level – Paddle With A Partner

Two people riding a tandem kayak together

Having a kayaking partner can be a lifesaver.

Kayaking takes a lot of strength and energy from each paddler.

Imagine carrying a 10-pound object for several hours while doing all of your paddling — it’s going to become quite difficult!

If you’re using a tandem kayak while pregnant, your partner can take over paddling duties when needed and give you time to rest.

Your partner can also handle the lifting and loading of the kayak, since this person should also be able to carry the boat to and from the water, helping you to avoid any unnecessary strain.

In addition, enjoying a paddling trip together can be the perfect activity to enjoy with your partner before your life is forever changed by your new baby.

Going kayaking with your partner may be one of the best pregnancy memories you make!

In a Nutshell

Keep in mind that kayaking is very much an “individual sport”, since each person has different preferences regarding kayaking in general.

Some pregnant women like to go kayaking, and others don’t.

Some expectant mothers never paddle again after pregnancy, and others go out on the water shortly after giving birth.

If your doctor isn’t familiar with the intricacies of kayaking, consider getting a second opinion from a doctor who can offer sound advice about this activity, and tips on how to keep your baby safe.

Balance is essential, so it’s an important factor to consider when deciding whether or not to kayak while pregnant.


The good news is that kayaking during pregnancy may be one of the healthiest forms of exercise, so it’s worth asking your doctor if it’s ok to go out on the water.

Take into consideration the advice of your doctor, your energy levels, the extra weight you’re carrying, and then make the best decision you can with the knowledge you have.

Follow the above tips to stay safe and enjoy a relaxing adventure.

Here are our final thoughts: Paddling while pregnant isn’t easy, so if you have the strength and energy to make it work, you are already a supermom!

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