Can You Paddle Board While Pregnant?

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Pregnancy can be such a wonderful experience, but it can also be a vulnerable time for women. There’s nothing more important than taking extra care of yourself so that your baby has a safe place to grow and develop before making its big debut. 

But just because your body is literally creating new life doesn’t mean that your own life has to be put on hold. 

If you’re like many women who enjoy being active and getting out onto the water, you can still resume your normal paddle boarding activities even if you’re pregnant. While you absolutely can paddle board while pregnant, it’s important to know how to do so safely.

Dos and Don’ts of Paddle Boarding While Pregnant

It’s important to understand that just because you can SUP while pregnant, doesn’t mean you’ll be paddle boarding the same way you were before your pregnancy. And if you have never gone paddle boarding before your pregnancy, now is not the best time to start this new activity!. 

No matter how healthy of a pregnancy you are having, how fit, or how experienced you are, always proceed with caution. Here are some basic dos and don’ts of paddle boarding while pregnant.  

Do Have a Paddling Partner 

If you are able to, always go out on a paddling adventure with a partner. Having a partner with you is important, especially since it means you won’t have to do any lifting by yourself. Whether you have an inflatable paddle board, or an epoxy paddle board, lifting is a big no-no when it comes to pregnant women. 

Even if your paddle board is lightweight, the mere act of maneuvering it off of your roof rack or truck bed then carrying it to the shore can post plenty of opportunity for injury, so best to have a partner do it.  Plus, in case you find yourself in a situation where you’ve fallen or have gotten hurt, having someone by your side is just good safety practice. 

Do Paddle in Calm, Shallow Water

If you paddle boarding while pregnant, you’ll have to say goodbye to quick rapids and rough water. Insead, seek out calm, shallow waters. Swimming is a very physical activity, and if you find yourself in deep water, you might get exhausted quicker than you may have expected. Staying in shallow water allows you to stay active while staying safe. 

Do Practice Proper Safety 

This one is a no-brainer. Even if you’re not pregnant, it’s important to practice property safety habits when you’re on your paddle board. When you’re pregnant, you’ll need to take even more care to make sure that you are safe at all times. This means wearing a properly fitted personal flotation device, and bringing along  safety equipment like a flashlight and whistle.

Do Steer Clear of Potential Hazards 

It goes without saying that you should stay away from hazards like sharp rocks, rapids, or other objects that might cause you to lose your balance. Even if you are on calm water, keep clear of obstructions that you might accidentally bump or fall onto. 

As you progress through your pregnancy you’ll notice your sense of balance will start to change. The extra weight from your growing baby will cause your center of gravity to shift. Help yourself maintain your balance by staying away from objects that could hurt you or cause you to lose footing easily. 

Avoid Sudden, Jerky, or Intense Movements

Your baby is very well cushioned inside your womb. So when it comes to any sudden jerky or intense movements, you’re likely not going to hurt your baby. However, you’ll want to avoid these types of spastic movements because they could end up injuring you. 

As you progress through your first and second trimester, your body will release a hormone called relaxin. This hormone is intended to keep you from going into premature labor. As a result of this change in your body, your ligaments and joints will also become much more loose and relaxed. 

Any sudden, jerky, or intense movements could cause you to injure yourself. Because of this, it’s best to avoid these types of movements if you can. 

Avoid Rough Rapids

It goes without saying that it’s important to avoid rough papids when you are pregnant and paddle boarding. While paddle boarding is a great daily exercise to enjoy when you’re pregnant, whitewater paddling is not. This point is important enough for me to stress: rough rapids are too intense for pregnant paddle boarders! 

Tone it down a notch and stick with calm waters instead – as already mentioned above. If you want a full body exercise, opt for a calmer experience like a SUP yoga class instead. 

Speak With Your Doctor Before Paddle Boarding While Pregnant 

While this do and don’t guide can be a great reference for first time pregnant women looking to get out on the water, don’t stop here. 

As with any activity, be sure to check with your OB GYN or doctor first. Staying active while pregnant through water sports like paddle boarding has many benefits, but it’s important that you feel comfortable and stay safe. The best way pregnant women can ensure their safety is by following the guidance of their doctor as their pregnancy progresses. 

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