For the most part I really lucked out during the first trimester – no morning sickness but PLENTY of fatigue. So when the second trimester dawned and that much talked about 2nd tri burst of energy set in, I was more than happy to stay on the trails. Hiking pregnant during the second trimester felt great. We took on new challenges, but tempered them to some degree because while I felt really good, there was no doubt things were changing that affected hiking during pregnancy.
Second Trimester Tips for Hiking While Pregnant
Remember what I wrote about hiking during the first trimester? Guess what. It all still applies! Water, water, water. Snack, snack, snack. Move, move, move. Nap, nap, nap. Even at 32 weeks these are the staples that help me to continue hiking during my pregnancy.
- Hello, round ligament pain. Oye! Round ligament pain… that was a new phenomenon that kicked in during hikes in the second trimester. While I didn’t really start showing an obvious baby bump until almost 21/22 weeks, pain from sudden movements like standing up from squatting to take a picture and climbing or descending steep trails/boulders started flaring up late in the first trimester. Whenever this aggravating pain reared its head, I had to shift into low gear until it faded. Sometimes it felt better after just a few seconds of standing still, other times it would require me to slow down for a good stretch of the trail – 1/4 to 1/2 a mile once or twice. While it usually came on as a painful shock, the good thing is that it generally subsided without much fuss. We never had to turn around or cut the hike short, but I did modify how I handle ascents/descents. Smaller strides and slower motion helped minimize my bouts of round ligament pain while hiking.
- Feet don’t fail me now. The second trimester is when I got nervous about falling. I became extra cautious in slippery or rocky areas. The good thing is that my dear husband was always there to provide a balancing hand when the terrain got a little dicey. And I unapologetically took it every time. He’s a great partner like that – I suppose my recommendation on how to handle rocky terrain doesn’t just go for those who are hiking while pregnant, but for anyone who is on the trail with us pregnant ladies. Lend a hand — and ladies, be sure take a hand to make sure you don’t take any unnecessary tumbles. If you’d rather balance yourself, grab a set of trekking poles (these have become invaluable in my third trimester… I’ll write more about them in my next hiking pregnant post).
The talk test. We did several challenging hikes during the second trimester that left me wondering if I was keeping my heart rate within the recommended 140 bpm during pregnancy. Instead of pulling out a stop watch to check things out, I took the my midwife’s advice to make sure I could talk out loud without too much effort during the physical activity. Granted, this sometimes left me just yapping to myself saying things like “Can I talk out loud without too much effort? K. Seems like it. All is good. Carry on.” No doubt Nate enjoyed these mutterings to myself, but it was a reassuring check that I used frequently to make sure I wasn’t pushing my limits too much.
- Challenge yourself, but know your limits. I consciously walked a fine balance between challenging myself and pushing my luck while hiking during the second trimester. When I was 16 weeks pregnant we headed out for a hiking and camping trip in Colorado where we logged 30 miles during 4 days of hiking, including our first 14′er – Grays Peak. The trip came at the perfect time during my pregnancy – a few weeks later and my growing belly would’ve kept us from climbing up the waterfall to Sky Pond, a few weeks earlier and the first trimester fatigue may have limited some of our outings. Our hike up Grays Peak is the perfect example of recognizing my limits. As we neared the summit of Grays, Nate asked if I was ready to head over to hit up Torreys Peak (it was part of our original plan since they’re right next to each other and would’ve only added another 1-2 hours to our trek). Without hesitation I smiled and said, “NOPE.” At 16 weeks pregnant, I felt like I was getting away with summiting our first 14′er and didn’t want to push my luck – there’s not a trail in the world that’s worth pushing my limits that far when there’s a baby on board. We headed back down the mountain proud of our accomplishment and didn’t regret the change in plans.
Hiking while pregnant is different for everyone and every stage is different. The second half of the second trimester we scaled back the distances, but continued trying to get onto the trail. These tips are just some things that have helped keep me on the trail as the baby bump grows!
Let me know what’s worked for you!