Pregnant and Hiking

Hiking around Mt. Rainier in WA State at 8 weeks pregnant

I’m not an avid hiker, but I do trek up a mountain or down a trail from time to time. For some reason I decided heading out to Mt. Rainier when I was 8 weeks pregnant was a great idea. Mike’s parents were in town and they had never been. It was our anniversary weekend and we always went to the mountain around that time. It also happened to be one of the free entry weekends at national parks, something we love to take full advantage of.

I went hiking again when we were on the Big Island of Hawaii during my 2nd trimester. Nothing major, but we would wander down a path in search of waterfalls, volcanoes and great beach spots. I learned a lot on these outings. Mostly what not to do, but it also validated that I was doing a few things right.

Exploring lava tubes on the Big Island of Hawaii

What to wear

  • Layer your clothes. You may get hot or cold depending on how your blood is moving. Make sure your clothes are comfy and not too tight.
  • Hiking boots or sneakers. Make sure they support your ankles.
  • Sunscreen. Remember you are more prone to sunburns. Take care of that skin.

Pack

  • Water, water and more water
  • Snacks for the hike
  • First aid kit
  • Trekking poles, especially if you are feeling off balance these days

Listen to Your Body

Later in my pregnancy I began to get overheated very quickly. It would come on fast and when I least expected it. I knew I had to get some water in me and cool down as soon as possible before I got too dizzy and possibly passed out. I had to get a little food in me as well so the nausea would not set in. I needed to listen to what my body was telling me. Pregnancy is no time to push yourself to the max. Save that for the post-baby work out.

Other Tips

  • Make sure you talk to your doctor about any exercise you are doing. Talk to your doctor about any longer and/or more strenuous hikes you have planned to make sure you are good to go.
  • Don’t carry a heavy pack and definitely don’t carry a kid on your back. Your hiking partner may have to carry the bulk of the load for a while. You are carrying an extra human after all. I think they will understand.
  • Eat a good meal before you leave and snack as you go
  • Take your time. You are not in a race to the finish line.
  • Have a back up plan if you go into labor. Know where the nearest hospital is and how to get there quickly (great advice I read in an old Seattle PI article)

Trekking through a lava field outside Pahoa during my 2nd trimester

For a more adventurous take on hiking while pregnant check out the Almost Fearless post Traveling Pregnant: Hiking and Tubing the Jaguar Reserve

Please note that all advice is my own and what I have gleaned from my travels and experiences. Doctors have not verified any of this information. Use your judgement and ask you OB/GYN or midwife if you are uncertain or have concerns. 

 

written by Keryn Means

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