Board and Kayak
Get A Fishing License
*Disclaimer: Board and Kayak earns a commission from qualifying purchases.

Can You Go Kayaking While Pregnant? [Updated 2024]

How to Surf While Pregnant

How to Surf While Pregnant

Updated on 12/5/2023
Abigail ScottBy Abigail Scott
Hi, I'm Abigail 👋 Since embarking on my kayaking and boarding adventures in 2010, I've navigated rivers and lakes across North America and beyond. With over a decade of experience and countless waterways explored, I'm here to help enthusiasts like you embark on unforgettable water adventures!
Learn More about Abigail Scott

Navigating the waters of pregnancy often prompts a woman to reassess every aspect of her lifestyle. The anticipation of welcoming a new life may lead one to believe that temporarily setting aside outdoor adventures to prepare a nurturing home environment is an inherent part of this journey.

But does the journey to motherhood necessarily mean that you have to forego your passion for water sports? Is it possible to safely enjoy kayaking while being pregnant, or is it an activity that needs to be shelved until after childbirth?

As an expectant mother, I'm exploring whether kayaking is a permissible activity during pregnancy.

Many active, outdoorsy women who are expecting a child might be inclined to pause their paddling endeavors to prioritize their baby's wellbeing. Nonetheless, based on expert advice on kayaking during pregnancy that we'll explore, this pause might not be obligatory.

A Question For Your Doctor: Is It Safe To Kayak While Pregnant?

Kayaking While Pregnant – Advice On Paddling With A Baby Bump

Kayaking While Pregnant – Advice On Paddling With A Baby Bump

Is kayaking during pregnancy permissible? At face value, it's a simple question. However, the answer is far from a basic "Yes" or "No."

Engaging in water-based activities such as kayaking or canoeing while pregnant does not inherently pose risks due to the activities themselves. The consensus is that kayaking during pregnancy is generally safe for most women, provided we're discussing pregnancies with a low risk of complications.

However, some general guidelines should be adhered to when considering any form of physical activity during pregnancy:

If you were physically active prior to pregnancy, it's typically safe to maintain a similar level of activity throughout your pregnancy.

As a husband and passionate kayaker, when my wife was expecting our child, I never questioned her judgement. I wouldn't start now. Yet, it wouldn't be honest to say that I didn't harbor some concerns due to my roles as an eager kayaker, a husband, and a soon-to-be father.

However, if there's one valuable insight I've garnered from this experience, it's this:

pregnant woman KAYAKING

pregnant woman KAYAKING

As every pregnancy and each expectant mother is unique, the decision to temporarily halt your kayaking activities during your pregnancy will hinge on several factors. Ultimately, the only individuals qualified to make this call are you and your healthcare professional.

There's a considerable chance that your doctor will give you the green light to continue paddling as you please. However, it's essential to note that not all pregnancies are complication-free.

If your pregnancy is high-risk or if you're experiencing common problems, certain activities, including kayaking while pregnant, may be inappropriate and potentially harmful to both you and your unborn child.

You may need to take a step back from strenuous activities such as kayaking under the following circumstances:

  • Presence of a pre-existing medical condition
  • Carrying multiples
  • Previous history of miscarriage or premature birth
  • Poor cervical health

Regardless of your situation, it's vital to consult with your healthcare provider and seek a second opinion if necessary. Heed their advice, follow their recommendations, and most importantly, listen to your body's limitations.

Remember, the only individuals equipped to provide guidance on this matter are your healthcare provider or another medical professional. It's crucial to respect their expertise and make your decisions based on their counsel.

Kayaking While Pregnant Has Its Advantages: Why Kayaking While Pregnant Could Be A Good Idea?

How Kayaking Can Help Boost Your Fitness

How Kayaking Can Help Boost Your Fitness

Pregnancy is a transformative journey, complete with a whirlwind of hormonal changes. These changes can leave you feeling fatigued, out of sorts, and with occasional physical discomforts like swollen feet and backaches. Indeed, all these can be attributed to the monumental task of growing a new life within you.

It's easy to see why the prospect of pressing pause on all physical activity for the next nine months might seem tempting. After all, creating a new human being is a substantial endeavor.

However, if your pregnancy is not categorized as high-risk, doing nothing but awaiting the baby's arrival might not be the best approach. Maintaining a regular exercise regimen during pregnancy is not only safe but also strongly recommended and incredibly beneficial for both you and your baby. The benefits include:

  1. Alleviating discomfort, reducing back pain, and minimizing swelling.
  2. Helping prevent excessive weight gain.
  3. Enhancing muscle tone, endurance, and strength.
  4. Boosting energy levels, which subsequently improves your mood.
  5. Decreasing the risk of gestational diabetes.
  6. Preparing your body for labor and delivery by building strength and endurance.

So while the impulse to hibernate for the duration of your pregnancy might be strong, remember that remaining active can offer numerous advantages that will make your journey towards motherhood a more comfortable and healthier one.



One of the things I love most about kayaking is its adaptability. You can tailor the experience to be as serene and restful, or as exhilarating and challenging as you desire. This flexibility is particularly beneficial when considering kayaking during pregnancy.

One of the biggest advantages of kayaking while pregnant, in my view, is this:

You can decide the best pace for you, ensuring your safety and comfort.

Kayaking stands out as one of the few low-impact, non-weight-bearing outdoor activities that pregnant women can comfortably engage in. It allows you to exercise your upper body without your legs having to bear any weight, which can help reduce the risk of edema and knee pain.

Let's also not overlook the significant mental health benefits that kayaking can offer during pregnancy:

Breathing fresh air, appreciating nature, partaking in an activity you love, and achieving a state of 'flow' can all contribute to lower stress levels, improved mental health, increased mindfulness, and overall a healthier pregnancy.

For my wife, running was the first to go due to the impact on her knees. As her belly grew, she found that she was gradually unable to continue with cycling and yoga due to balance concerns.

It was kayaking that remained the only pre-pregnancy physical activity that made her feel connected to her old self, or at least as close as she could feel given the changes her body was undergoing. Kayaking was an activity that she could adapt to her changing needs, allowing her to maintain an active lifestyle throughout her pregnancy.

When You're Pregnant And Paddling, Here Are Some Tips To Keep You As Safe As Possible

kayaking pregenant

kayaking pregenant

If you are pregnant and want to go kayaking, ensuring your safety should be your number one concern.
No, let's not go there.
Safety is of the utmost importance for a kayaker soon to become a mother.

When You're Out On The Water, It's Important To Remember To Take Care Of Yourself For Your Safety And Comfort

kayaking safety

kayaking safety

Being pregnant adds to the difficulties of kayaking, which is already an exhausting and fascinating activity in its own right. You can't afford to wing it right now; you need to meticulously organize each kayaking excursion down to the minutest of details, even if doing so makes the experience less adventurous.
Taking care of yourself is one of the most important things you can do to ensure the health and safety of your child.
While out on the water, you should keep the following in mind for your safety and comfort:

  • Eat a well-rounded lunch before you go out paddling, and bring some snacks with you to maintain your energy level.
  • Stay hydrated (even if it means taking more frequent bathroom breaks).
  • Find a personal flotation device (PFD) that can support your growing baby belly, and make sure to wear it at all times.
  • You should get used to the idea that you will have to urinate frequently and schedule your trips to the restroom in advance.
  • Pick launch sites that are convenient to access.
  • You should make any necessary adjustments to the configuration of your kayak, and you should consider upgrading to a seat that is well-cushioned, adjustable, and has a backrest.
  • When paddling during the warmer months, make sure to wear sunscreen and make use of the shade provided by your kayak.

The most important thing is paying attention to your body and respecting its boundaries. If something doesn't "quite feel right," cut the trip short, make a note of your symptoms, and, if necessary, consult a physician.

You have the rest of your life to challenge yourself, so you should be able to tell when it's time to take it easy.

Take A Break From Whitewater Kayaking And Paddle Some Calm Waters When You Want To Switch It Up!

Whitewater Kayaking

Whitewater Kayaking

Instead of battling class III rapids or paddling upstream against the tide, take a break from whitewater kayaking and stick to more minor stressful settings that involve calmer water, such as swimming in a lake or on a river that moves more slowly.

I won't waste any time trying to change your mind about how much you will miss the surge of adrenaline, the thrill, and the excitement that comes with navigating fast-moving or rough waters.

However, for the same reasons that you enjoy whitewater kayaking so much, pregnant women should not participate in the sport because of the inherent dangers:

It is taxing on the body and significantly raises the possibility that you will capsize, increasing the likelihood of sustaining an injury.

So, Can you paddle board while pregnant? Emily Jackson demonstrated this by competing in and winning the women's freestyle competition at the Payette River Games. At the same time, she was eight months pregnant, and it was possible to accomplish this feat.

pregnant women kayaking

Not only is it possible for pregnant women to kayak, but they can also be very good at it.

Do not let this stop you from going kayaking; if you are pregnant, you will likely have a much more pleasant experience if you kayak in still water, away from land, with the current, and at a leisurely pace.

Choices In Kayaks: Is There Such A Thing As A Kayak Suitable For Women Who Are Pregnant?

Choices in Kayaks

Choices in Kayaks

While it's not necessary for you to run out and buy a new kayak right now, you should probably give some thought to the kind of kayak you already have.
Which kayak will you think will be easier to handle and more comfortable to get in and out of when you have a baby bump? A sit-inside kayak or a sit-on-top kayak?
If you want to continue boating while pregnant, you will probably need to make some alterations. In all likelihood, your tried-and-true sit-inside kayak will continue to serve you well if you haven't progressed too far in your pregnancy. But if there were ever to be a suitable kayak for pregnant women, it would be a sit-on-top model with a wider beam and a larger weight capacity.
In addition to that, and I hope you won't hate me for stating this:
Remember to consider that you have gained weight and check to see if you are still within the maximum load capacity of the kayak.

Kayaking In A Tandem Kayak Is Better Than Kayaking Alone

Kayaking in a Tandem Kayak

Kayaking in a Tandem Kayak

Since you are expecting a child, you should probably rethink your plans to go kayaking by yourself now that you are carrying a child inside of you. Although paddling on your own has its perks, you should think twice about doing so while pregnant.
I'm not suggesting that you should have any self-doubts, but I think it's wise to collaborate with at least one other person whenever possible.
If there is a crisis, you will have somebody nearby who can assist you. Even with the utmost self-assurance paddlers, going on solo kayaking adventures can be a little nerve-wracking experience.
In addition, it is lovely to have someone who can take over the paddling chores if the level of physical exertion becomes a little too much or when all you want to do is relax and enjoy being out on the water.

Kayaking While Pregnant: Conclusions And Recommendations

 Kayaking When Pregnant?

Kayaking When Pregnant?

Alterations to one's lifestyle, some of them substantial, will be necessary throughout pregnancy. The good news is that kayaking may not have to count as one of them after all:

Can pregnant women kayak? Yes!

Can you kayak while pregnant? Depends!

Can you kayak while pregnant? Let's find out.

If kayaking was already a significant part of your life before you were pregnant – and your doctor says it's okay for you to do so – then nothing stops you from being on the water with your unborn child.

There is a possibility that the place, time, and manner in which you kayak could change. There is a possibility that you will one day reach a point where you no longer feel safe launching your kayak.

But for the time being, you are free to carry on as usual. Just remember to give your body the respect it deserves by paying close attention to what it is trying to tell you, making it easy, and putting safety first.

And I am confident that it won't be long until I see the entire family out on the water together, kayaking with the younger family members.

I hope this article has solved your question.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to kayak while pregnant?

Yes, Kayaking during pregnancy is safe for most women. Participating in on-the-water sports, including kayaking or canoeing, at any stage of pregnancy does not pose any inherent dangers. The consensus in the field of low-risk pregnancies is that most women can safely kayak while they are pregnant, as long as they adhere to certain precautions.

Can you float down the river while pregnant?

It is relatively safe to go float on a slow-moving, calm, lazy river while pregnant as long as you are careful. However, it is not recommended to be pulled by either a speeding ski boat or a whitewater raft at high speeds. As a result of the speed of the boats, there is a very significant risk that you could topple or fall off of the boat.

Is it safe to jump into water while pregnant?

In spite of the fact that swimming and spending time in the pool are encouraged during pregnancy, you should not jump in feet first when you're pregnant. Jumping in feet first can cause birth defects and lead to preterm labor. You can prevent this by simply walking into the pool or walking down the steps. Chlorine is often said to be harmful to your unborn baby and therefore shouldn't be consumed by pregnant women.

Can you go on a bumpy ride while pregnant?

Even if there is no evidence to support the claim that taking a bumpy car ride helps, you can be sure it won't harm your baby either. There is plenty of cushioning around your baby, thanks to the muscles of your tummy and the amniotic fluid in which she is enclosed.

What kinds of activities aren't safe during pregnancy?

There are a lot of activities that you should avoid doing if you are at risk of injury, including horseback riding, downhill skiing, off-road cycling, gymnastics and skating. There are several different sports in which you may be hit in the belly, including ice hockey, boxing, soccer, or basketball.