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Can You Kayak While Pregnant?

You might be looking for a new way to stay fit and healthy.

Maybe kayaking has always been your passion. 

Either way, when it comes to kayaking: you want to know what you can expect, when you’re expecting!

It’s only natural that safety and health are at the top of any pregnant person’s mind.

Fitness is important to health during and after pregnancy, and many pregnant people still want to do the exercise they love – without taking unnecessary risks.

So, can you kayak while pregnant? 

Yes, you can kayak when you’re pregnant!

Kayaking can be an excellent form of exercise for pregnant individuals, potentially providing both physical and mental health benefits.

These benefits include:

  • Improved cardiovascular health 
  • Increased muscle strength and flexibility
  • A low-impact form of exercise 
  • Support for healthy pregnancy weight
  • Improved balance and stability
  • A peaceful and calming environment 
  • Reduced risk of pregnancy complications 
  • Helping prepare for labor and delivery.

Let’s explore those benefits, and learn how to ensure your prenatal kayaking trips are safe and successful.

Why Kayaking May Be Beneficial For Pregnant People

pregnant woman kayaking

Improves Cardiovascular Health

When your heart is working for two, it’s more important than ever to keep it healthy.

At the same time, it’s important to scale exercise to your abilities. 

Ideally, you want to work on your cardiovascular fitness without pushing yourself too far out of your comfort zone.

Kayaking is a great option for improving your cardiovascular health incrementally. 

Stick to calm waters and you can decide how hard or fast you want to go.

That way, you can improve your fitness without incurring risks to your health.

Increases Muscle Strength And Flexibility

Kayaking is a combined aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

That means it has benefits for cardiovascular fitness as well as muscular strength.

You can expect to see improvements to your core strength — as well as your upper body and legs.

Kayaking demands a broad range of motion.

Combined with a good stretching routine, you will find that the dynamic movement of kayaking promotes great flexibility. 

Provides Low-Impact Exercise

Low-impact exercises protect your joints and keep you mobile.

High-impact exercises “add extra load to the pelvic floor” and are advised against during pregnancy.

Kayaking provides a unique option for a low-impact workout.

Additionally, kayaking is a type of resistance exercise.

The resistance is provided by the pull of water against your paddle and the drag on your kayak. 

Resistance exercises are often low-impact and generally encourage safe and stable muscle growth.

Supports A Healthy Pregnancy Weight

Healthy pregnancy weight is best managed through a blend of anaerobic and aerobic fitness — exactly what kayaking provides. 

The best way to stick to an exercise program is to enjoy it!

Kayaking is a fun and sustainable way to support healthy pregnancy weight.

Improves Balance And Stability

It might sound obvious, but balance is important when you get out on the water. 

Kayaking is a natural way to improve your internal sense of balance, as well as build the core strength needed to keep your body stable.

Provides A Peaceful And Calming Environment

There are few things better for your physical and mental health than getting outdoors. 

Spending time in nature is known to affect blood pressure and cortisol levels positively.

Basically, it helps you relax! 

Going kayaking is a great way to get into the wild and release some of that pregnancy stress.

Reduces Risk Of Pregnancy Complications

Staying fit and healthy is an excellent way to ensure the health of your baby during pregnancy.

Kayaking provides a form of exercise that supports:

  • Healthy blood pressure
  • Muscular strength and flexibility
  • Low cortisol
  • Improved mental health
  • Balance and stability
  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Healthy pregnancy weight
  • Safe and low-impact workout.

While pregnancy complications can be unpredictable, managing your own well-being is a good way to minimize your risks.

Helps Prepare For Labor And Delivery 

Physical activity is linked to a shorter time spent in active labor, in addition to a reduced risk of a prolonged first stage. 

Regular prenatal exercise also decreases the likelihood of medical intervention during delivery.

Kayaking provides a mode of physical activity that may both shorten and simplify labor and delivery.

Things To Know Before Kayaking While Pregnant

To ensure your safety and make sure you have the best experience kayaking, we have a few tips for you.

Always Consult Your Doctor First

Before undertaking any exercise, new or old, it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice.

It is always possible that for one medical reason or another, kayaking may not be the right thing for you. 

Every person and every pregnancy is different, so be sure to consult the medical professional who best understands your health!

Don’t Kayak in Rough Conditions

Rough conditions can be dangerous for any kayaker — a risk that is doubled with a baby on board. 

If you’re pregnant already, you probably don’t need to be convinced to steer clear of unnecessary danger!

Plan kayaking trips where the water is calm and only when the weather is favorable.

Bring Someone With You

Whenever you venture into the great outdoors, the safest practice is to bring someone with you.

It doesn’t hurt to let a third party know you’re headed out either. 

Many kayak instructors advise against solo trips, regardless of whether you are pregnant or not.


Hydration is a big consideration before, during, and after kayaking.

Bring water with you and be sure to keep your fluids up.

Staying hydrated keeps you and your baby healthy and ensures you have the best possible time out on the water.

Wear Proper Gear and Clothing

Kayaking clothing needs to maintain excellent thermal properties when wet — whether that means keeping you comfortably cool or toasty warm. 

A life jacket or personal flotation device (PFD) is mandatory when kayaking, and you should consider wearing a helmet as well!

Stohlquist Women’s Escape Lifejacket
  • Super-soft, low-profile buoyancy foam for body hugging comfort
  • Contoured inner chest panels, graded sizing, padded adjustable shoulder straps
  • Full-length front zipper, efficient forward pull adjusters at the sides
  • Waist belt with a quick-release buckle, roomy zippered pocket, front stash pocket, reflective accents
  • US Coast Guard Certification by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL)

It’s worth consulting a kayak coach or an expert retailer for a full rundown on the gear necessary to kayak safely.

Observe Proper Paddling Posture

Proper paddling posture is crucial to improving your kayak skills, as well as the key to avoiding injury. 

Keep your back straight and your pelvis angled forward; knees should be bent to 120 degrees, with your feet lower than the seat. 

In addition to proper back and leg posture, it’s vital to keep your arms in the ‘paddler’s box’. 

To perform the ‘paddler’s box’, your paddle is held as far away from your body as practical.

When paddling, your bottom hand and paddle are kept nice and low.

Observing proper posture and maintaining the ‘paddler’s box’ will protect you from strains and muscular injuries.

Paddle Near The Shore

This one sounds obvious, but it’s easy to get carried away when you’re having fun on a kayak. 

It’s important to paddle within easy swimming distance of the shore.

That way, if things go awry, you can make your own way to land or easily signal for assistance.

Listen To Your Body — Don’t Go Overboard!

It’s good to get moving, but you don’t want to overdo it.

Expert advice is great, but none of it is worth anything if you don’t listen to your own body. 

Pregnancy can be a time when everything feels weird. Your body is changing and working a lot, after all.

However, it is important to contact a medical professional if you experience:

  • Dizziness 
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Sudden swelling
  • Excessive shortness of breath
  •  Any other physical symptom that is worrying or out of the ordinary.

No one knows you better than you do!

If something feels wrong or uncomfortable, that’s your cue to slow down, cease the activity, or seek assistance.

The Verdict: Can You Kayak While Pregnant?

With your doctor’s approval and the appropriate preparation, you can absolutely kayak while pregnant.

Many people can and have done exactly that! 

Past pregnant kayakers shared their experiences and advice for pregnant people considering kayaking:

25 weeks now and I’ve kayaked at least on[c]e a month… No issues other than once forgetting to bring snacks 🙂”  IcyKoala3928 says.

CherryRedSmile added, “I went kayaking when I was 30 or 32 weeks pregnant. I’m so glad that I did! It’s hard to go on these sorts of excursions after the baby comes.

Remember, before you get out on the water:

  • Always consult your doctor first 
  • Don’t kayak in rough conditions 
  • Bring someone with you
  • Hydrate
  • Wear proper gear and clothing
  • Observe proper paddling posture 
  • Paddle near shore, and
  • Listen to your body.

Kayaking can be a wonderful activity for pregnant people.

It has fantastic health benefits for you and your baby. 

Get your doctor’s blessing, find a kayak buddy, be safe, be prepared, and start paddling!