Tips for Kayaking While Pregnant

Last Updated on April 12, 2021 by KayakPro

Kayaking is one of the best exercises to relieve stress while staying active. So, if you’re an expecting mother looking to stay active and healthy, kayaking can be an excellent option. The question is: “Is it safe?”

A quick answer is yes; kayaking while pregnant is safe. However, since each pregnancy is different, the first thing you need to do is run this question by your doctor.

There are several factors to consider like your general health, your baby’s condition, and the stage of your pregnancy. If your pregnancy is high-risk, you might need to skip kayaking for a few more months until your baby is here.

Two women with oars and little boy sail on inflatable boats

Safety Comes First

Before going on your next kayaking trip, you should consider some factors to ensure your well-being and your precious child’s safety.

Pregnancy Stage and Body Health

The number one priority during the nine months of pregnancy is taking care of your baby. Therefore, you might adjust your lifestyle a little. But you don’t have to cut all your favorite activities.

Pregnancy and kayaking might look a little contrasting if you’re not familiar with the sport. However, it’s a relatively easy physical exercise when compared to other sports. Kayaking involves using the arm muscles, shoulders, and upper back.

Consulting your doctor before choosing the form of exercise you opt for during pregnancy is the right decision. The stage of your pregnancy is crucial when it comes to physical exercise. Kayaking during the first few weeks of pregnancy can feel a lot different from the last few weeks.

After you pass the second trimester, your doctor might advise you to go easy on vigorous physical activities or maybe drop them altogether.

As easy as it is, kayaking can be a demanding activity. It can exhaust all of your nutrition and strength. You even might need to carry the kayak, which is not an optimal condition at that stage of pregnancy.

Other women experience the most difficulties in the first trimester, from mild nausea and vomiting to severe hyperemesis gravidarum. For high-risk pregnancies, it might be best to avoid kayaking until the baby comes safely.

Emily Jackson’s win in the women’s freestyle at the Payette River games while nine months pregnant makes kayaking look too easy. However, her decision was a carefully calculated one. With the help of her doctors, she made sure that she was fit to compete.

Choosing the Right Kayak


Couple fishing on an inflatable kayak

Another factor you need to consider is the kayak you’re going to use. Is it too heavy? Will you be able to carry it? Is it easy to get in and out?

Once you’ve established that your pregnancy is low risk and that you’re in good health to go kayaking, you should now choose your kayak.

If you’re looking to purchase a new kayak, a tandem kayak, one that can support two people, might be a good investment. It’s always smart to have someone with you. That way, if you get tired, you can let them do all the work!

Next, you should consider the style of your kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks don’t require difficult maneuvers to get into and out of them. Therefore, they’re your better choice.

If you choose a sit-in kayak, you might need a friend to help you get in and out of it. Your friend can even carry the kayak for you.

You don’t have to buy a new kayak for your pregnancy, but make sure you’re using the right one for your safety. Keep in mind that your body is going through changes. So, the kayak has to be able to support your new weight.

Types of Water Bodies


How calm water bodies are can contribute to the safety and amusement you look for on your trip. White waters can be tricky to go through if you’re not an avid kayaker. And pregnancy is not the time to start testing your skills.

Paddling through calm water bodies is safer and much more relaxing for a pregnant woman. If you want a calming paddling experience without compromising your safety, you should kayak in calm water.

Lakes and rivers are good examples of calm waters. Just stay away from white water and falls until you’re baby’s here.

Top 7 Tips for Kayaking While Pregnant


Make sure to cover this checklist before your next kayaking trip.

  • Listen to the professional’s advice. Your child’s safety is a priority, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Just make sure to talk to your doctor before making any decisions.
  • Take a personal flotation device (PFD). Whether you’re pregnant or not, never skip this crucial device. It can save your life and decrease serious potential risks. Just pick one that fits your baby belly.
  • Stay hydrated. If you’re planning on spending the day in the river, you should gear up on extra water bottles and snacks. Kayaking can make you exhausted. You need the right nutrition for your baby’s health. So make sure you eat enough!
  • Don’t forget your sun protection. Another must-have on our list is a high spectrum SPF. Pregnant or not, you should always wear sunscreen to protect your skin. A hat can be handy too!
  • Always have someone with you. Having a friend or a partner with you is a good idea. You shouldn’t go kayaking alone, especially if you’re in the last few weeks of pregnancy. Your friend can help carry the kayak. He or she can also help you get in or out. And if you fall, you might need a little help getting out of the water.
  • Take it easy and listen to your body. Don’t go too hard on yourself. If you’re used to going too extreme, try to take it down a notch. And remember that you can go back to your kayaking style post-pregnancy.
  • Choose the right kayak. As previously noted, choosing a kayak that’s right for your condition is a wise decision. Keep in mind its weight and whether it’s a sit-on-top or a sit-in.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are expert answers to some common questions that might be surfing your mind.

Can You Do White Water Rafting While Pregnant?

White waters are tricky to master and can be considered dangerous. Rafting along rapidly moving rivers should be avoided during pregnancy, especially if you’re not an expert kayaker.

What Activities Should You Avoid While Pregnant?

You should protect yourself from potential hazards. To do that, you should avoid activities that include bouncing and jumping that might lead to falling.

You should also avoid activities that might cause you to slam the water with immense force. And of course, any activity in which you could hit your belly.

Is It OK to Go Bowling While Pregnant?

It’s okay to go bowling while pregnant as long as you take the right precautions. You should be aware of your steps and movements. You should pick lightweight balls. Plus, you should stop immediately if you feel any pain in your joints.

Final Words


Happy family with kayaks

Kayaking is an exciting sport for the whole family. Being an expecting mother shouldn’t stop you from having fun and practicing your favorite sports. However, there’s a balance when it comes to physical activity and pregnancy.

Consulting your doctor must be your first course of action. Then comes the safety measures you should be taking. The tips in this article should help you through the process.

Remember that the safety of your unborn child is your top priority. Unfortunately, pregnant or not, there are potential risks to all sports. Try to avoid any situation where you may feel your safety is compromised.

Don’t forget to have fun and stay safe!


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Ryan Stoltz

Ryan Stoltz

Avid kayaker and lover of the outdoors. Having been kayaking for over 7 years, I love sharing my experiences and learnings along the way. Currently kayaking in upstate New York and always open to new adventures!

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