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Help! Can I Kayak While Pregnant?

Dear Mountain Mama, 

Recently a pregnancy test came back with the tell-tale two pink lines. While I’m thrilled about having a baby, I’m not stoked about the next months of being pregnant. Does this mean I have to give up paddling? Any tips on how to kayak while pregnant?




Dear Preggers,

Congratulations on your pregnancy! The magical journey to motherhood begins now, and be prepared to be amazed at your body’s ability to grow and nurture another being. During the months ahead you might be more tired than usual, be held hostage by pregnancy hormones, and eat more than ever before. Now, more than ever, listen to your body.

If your body (and mind) want to paddle, get your doctor’s approval before putting on the rivers. I believe that the best gift we can give to our children is the parts of ourselves that make us unique. Chances are if you’re a paddler, being near and on rivers make you a more enjoyable person. And in time, you’ll want to introduce your little one to the sport of kayaking and the river community. But you can only do that if you keep paddling a part of your life.

All too often moms feel they must give up their personal time in order to be better moms. I don’t think anything could be further from the truth. When taking care of babies, household chores, office work, and other relationships compete for time, the first thing to go are the parts of our lives that give us bliss.

Start protecting that sacred time when you get to paddle now while you’re pregnant. I paddled until I was eight months pregnant. Paddling is a non-weight bearing sport, so being in a kayak often felt like respite from my otherwise now-cumbersome belly. I felt wobbly on a bike. I felt like an elephant running. I felt off-balanced in yoga. But in a kayak, I felt like me.

During her ninth month of pregnancy, Emily Jackson took first place in women’s freestyle at the Payette River Games in Cascade, Idaho. Her pregnancy was low-risk with zero complications, so her doctor gave her the nod to keep doing what her body was accustomed to do. And that’s important to remember – Emily is a world-class paddler who is used to kayaking hard every day.

As for you Preggers, keep paddling as long as your doctor and body tell you it’s okay. You’ll be starting you little bundle of joy on his or her own lifelong love affair in the process.

Here’s to raising a ripper!

Mountain Mama

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