Hiking Pregnant – Tips for the Second Trimester

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

  1. 16 weeks pregnant - summiting gray's peak

    Summiting Grays Peak at 16 weeks 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. Hiking while pregnant - 23 weeks

    Hiking at Cane Creek Falls – 23 weeks pregnant

    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.

  5. 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!

Check out what worked for me when I was hiking during the first trimester and hiking during my third trimester

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  1. I like the “talk test”-great idea…just starting my second trimester and I’m feeling so good that it’s hard to slow down and remember that I’m pregnant sometimes. That’s one thing I’ll have to remember the next time we’re out on the trails. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Rebecca! Yeah, at the beginning of the second trimester it was like I was on crack with all the energy – as long as I stayed hydrated and snacked regularly, I was able to keep up about the same pace. Things started slowing down later on in the second tri when the belly started making its appearance, though :)

      If you start having a tough time on the trails later on, I recommend getting a pair of trekking poles. They’ve really helped me feel like more myself on the trails. I didn’t get mine until 32 weeks – kind of wish I’d had them a few weeks earlier but it’s different for everybody.

      Thanks for your comment and congrats on your little one on the way!

  2. Great tips! I’m in my second trimester now (21 weeks) and most of this is really consistent with what I’ve been doing. You’ve been more bold with altitude than I have been though.

    FYI, that HR < 140 bpm recommendation is an old one from ACOG, they no longer recommend that specific limit. Obviously you should follow the advice from your midwife, though! I've found that the talk test works really well for me. Hubs and I pretty much just chatter away the whole time we're out there and it helps me keep things nice and manageable.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! It's so exciting, isn't it?

    • Thanks, Emily! Yeah, the talk-test has been a favorite go-to… very reassuring especially at the high altitudes that I wasn’t doing anything too far beyond my reach. The other thing that’s really helped keep the heart rate in check was drinking absurd amounts of water – that was especially key at the high altitudes.

      The great thing about my midwife group is that they don’t see pregnancy as an illness – they really encourage me to be as active as it makes sense for my lifestyle because it’s going to help ease the post-pregnancy transition. It’s been a good 32 weeks so far… on the homestretch now :)

      Congrats on your outdoorsy baby that’s on the way and thanks for your comments!

  3. Thanks for this advice! My girlfriends and I have had a 10 day hike in Baffin Island planned this summer for a long time and I just found out I’m pregnant! I’ll be ending my first trimester and entering the second when we go. 10 days seems like a long time to be gone, but I’m hoping to get the green light from the doctor to go as I feel fine now and hope to start setting a good example for my baby as early as possible!