11 Tips for Hiking While Pregnant: From a Hiking Momma of Three



Apr 26, 2022

Find out you're pregnant and wondering if anything has to change when you go hiking? I have hiked through all three of my pregnancies and during all trimesters. From hiking up Monte Legnoncino in Italy to smaller hikes carrying a toddler, I came up with my tips for hiking while pregnant. 

hiking while pregnant third trimester with a doy
Hiking with my dog; first pregnancy third trimester

Below you will find my top Tips for Hiking while pregnant. Please note I am not a doctor so all my advice is from first hand experience. All my pregnancies have been normal and healthy and I had been actively hiking before becoming pregnant. 

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.

Talk with your Doctor on your Pregnancy Hiking Plans

Always Always Always talk to your doctor about your exercise plans while pregnant. I have had very easy healthy pregnancies and my doctors have seen no concerns with me continuing to hike. 

The American Pregnancy Association says that in most cases exercise is advised during pregnancy and will provide the following benefits:

  • Reduces  backaches, constipation, bloating and swelling
  • May help prevent or treat gestational diabetes
  • Increases your mood and energy
  • Improves posture
  • Helps you sleep better
  • May help cope with labor

Exercise has always been a part of my life and a go to when I am pregnant. I love the energy it provides me and the good spirits I am left with. On days when I don’t exercise my mental health suffers. Even if it is just getting outside for a couple walks.

You can also read My Working Out while Pregnant Tips article.

Wear a Belly Support Band When Hiking while Pregnant

For all my pregnancies I have worn a belly support band. As your baby grows bigger more pressure is felt in your abdominals and back. This extra pressure makes it more uncomfortable to hike, walk or run without additional support.

2nd trimester hiking while pregnant
2nd trimester hiking: belly band is much appreciated

A belly support band is made to compress your abdomen and help your posture. It can help lift the baby up off your hips and make hiking more comfortable.  I only wear one when actively working out, including hiking. It is not advised to wear one all day long.

Bring lots of Water when Hiking while Pregnant

As a pregnant lady I am sure you hear this one all the time. Pregnant women need to drink more water. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state that pregnant women should drink 8 to 12 cups of water every day. This is to help aid digestion and help form amniotic fluid around the fetus.

Now if you are hiking your body might need more than the 8 to 12 cups to keep you and baby hydrated, especially if it is hot outside. It is tempting to not guzzle water, because being pregnant you also have a baby pressing up against your bladder, but dehydration during pregnancy is not good. One of the worst things you can do is to feel faint and dizzy and be far away from help.

There is no shame in peeing on hikes. During the first and third trimester I commonly find myself using nature’s restroom.

Go Slower, you will get Winded Faster when Pregnant

Growing another human being takes a toll on your body. No matter how fit you were before becoming pregnant, hiking up that mountain isn’t going to be as easy as it once was. 

I personally find I get winded very easily during the beginning of my pregnancy and again during the third trimester. The second trimester is always the easiest for me to hike which is why I have done my bigger hikes, such as Monte Legnoncino in Italy, at 21 weeks. 

second trimester hiking while pregnant
Second trimester hiking trip in Italy

The best thing you can do is adjust your expectations on how quickly you can reach a summit or your end destination. It also helps if you can carry less while hiking.  Perhaps you are hiking with someone who can carry more of the supplies for you. 

Take Breaks When Needed, No One is Judging You but You

If you do become winded or tired it is okay to take a break… and take as many as needed. You are already awesome for hiking while pregnant there is no reason to over do it. Take a seat in the grass or on a bench and wait until your heart rate has slowed before continuing. This is the perfect time to look around and enjoy the beauty all around you.

hiking while pregnant break time
Enjoying a break while watching my toddlers play in my third trimester

Pregnancy is not the time to set high expectations or goals for hiking. The goal should be just to get outside and hike as long as you feel good. There will be time later in life for more aggressive goals.

Also on days where I do longer hikes I am more tired at night. You might want to plan for an earlier bedtime on those days!

Bring Food while Hiking when Pregnant

No surprise that a pregnancy requires a higher calorie demand. You are not just providing substance for yourself but for your growing baby as well. Hunger can hit at any time and having healthy snacks available while hiking is a definite plus.  

Hiking also requires calories and if you plan to be out for more than a short hike you most likely will require food. 

My favorite hiking snacks while pregnant are:

  • Nuts
  • Fruit (grapes, apples, oranges, blueberries)
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Cheese strings
  • Peanut Butter and Banana sandwich
  • Graham Crackers (in first trimester if nauseous) 

Don’t Hike Alone or Let Someone Know Where You are Before Going Hiking

The safest option is to not hike alone in case anything happens. However, that is not always realistic so if you plan on a solo hike, or a hike with just your kids let an adult know where you will be. Bring a phone with you so if anything happens you can get in touch with someone quickly. 

If you are going alone, best to not hike the hardest hike or furthest remote hiking you can find. Save those hikes for when you have company or after pregnancy.

I have never had issues hiking with my two toddlers during my third pregnancy. However I do alter my expectations and go on my toddler lead hikes and let my husband know where we are going. 

Wear Good Hiking Boots

During pregnancy your joints become more relaxed making it easier to sprain an ankle or overextend a muscle. A pair of good hiking boots will provide better ankle support and stability to reduce chances of injury. 

Hiking often involves uneven ground at times or going over rocks, streams, or tree branches. I personally feel more stable in my Columbia hiking boots and never have sprained my ankle in them. I have sprained my ankle in normal shoes while hiking, but luckily I wasn’t pregnant at the time.

hiking while pregnant hiking boots
36 weeks pregnant

Wear Comfortable Clothes and a Supportive Sports Bra while Hiking

You want to be comfortable while pregnant. No reason to suck it in to wear a too tight shirt or shorts that will cause chaffing. You will be bigger than when you were not pregnant and that is okay. 

I commonly wear my normal Columbia Trail Pants hiking because they remain most comfortable to hike in, but am not able to button them while pregnant. I just wear my belly support band and no one can tell my pants are unbuttoned. Also pregnancy shirts are long, so it also helps to cover my little secret.

2nd trimester hiking while pregnant
2nd trimester hiking- can you tell my pants aren't buttoned?

During pregnancy your breasts are changing. At different times in my pregnancies my boobs can be extra sensitive and hurt, especially when hiking. I require a more supportive sports bra during these times to feel comfortable. Also a larger size than my normal sports bra when.  

Third Trimester: Reduce Hiking while Carrying Toddlers

If you are an active momma who also carries other children while hiking, it might be too much at the end of your pregnancy.  With my third pregnancy I had two toddler boys and continued to hike frequently. During the first and second trimester I was able to continue to wear a toddler in my Kelty hiking backpack with no problems. It was more tiring, but that could be expected.

During the later half of my third trimester I found it more uncomfortable to carry my toddler in the backpack. I had to reduce my hikes to ones both my toddlers could do without having to be carried or with minimal carrying, or wait till my husband was able to join us. He was able to carry both of them when in a pinch.

third trimester hiking while pregnant
27 weeks pregnant and able to carry my toddler

In your third trimester your body has taken on additional weight and as much as I hate admitting defeat I found it too much to be able to hike meaningful distances while carrying a toddler. For me it became clear around 34 weeks that toddler wearing was too much while hiking.

However, when not carrying a toddler, with all my pregnancies I have been able to hike basically up to the point of giving birth! 

Interested in learning more about hiking check out Hiking with Toddlers, Toddler Hiking Gear or How To Hike wth A Baby.

Or want to hear my 15 tips of How to Survive Pregnancy with Two Toddlers at Home.

Wear Sunscreen or Hats to Protect Face

Hormones are the main cause of mostly everything while pregnant. Pregnancy changes your hormone levels and can make your skin more sensitive. For instance with all three of my pregnancies I had extra sensitive skin during my first trimester resulting in break outs and extra redness. Sunburns only intensified this.

To help protect yourself, ensure you apply sunscreen before hiking, or protect your face with a hat. Even if it is not summer you can still get a sunburn and best to avoid it if you can.

Happy Hiking!