Is paddle boarding safe whilst pregnant?


Paddle boarding has been with humans for centuries now it involves moving along the water on a board lying flat, kneeling, or standing. Then using your arms to propel you through the water. Sometimes aided by a saddle. Pregnancy, the period where a fetus develops with the womb, is often a delicate period. Therefore, is paddle boarding safe while pregnant? That is the theme that will be explored during this article.

Physical Activity & Pregnancy: Past & Present Evidence

We will first begin by examining the scientific research on this subject. Physical activity otherwise known as prenatal physical activity is a field which has been evolving for the last 50 years. Overall, there are maternal benefits supported by research which mean it should always be pushed by doctors, nurses, etc. That being said, when recommending a fitness plan to a mother. The plan should be theoretically driven,

Throughout the ages women have been told they can do certain physical activities whilst pregnant. In the 1920’s – 1930’s women were recommended to walk lightly whilst pregnant. Fast forward to 1949, women were told they were allowed to clean, garden, walk and swim whilst pregnant. Though all sports participation was to be avoided. In 1965, the first guidelines were released surrounding prenatal activity but all that was avoided was long periods where the heart and body height raised to high.

The affects of prenatal physical activity upon the baby vary. Some studies show they baby was roughly 300-500mg smaller when the mother exercised than not. But that the baby was still in optimal health. There is also a growing body of research which seems to highlight that prenatal exercise does reduce pregnancy complications though it is still not clear. In light of the ongoing obesity epidemic there have been calls for greater clarity surrounding how much a mother should ideally be working out a week, and for clearly outlines on the outcomes for the infant. It’s understandable how science has struggled to provide these answers definitively.

There is research which suggests an embryos exposure to maternal obesity increases their susceptibility to subsequent obesity in later life. Therefore prenatal exercise for obese women needs to be more intergenerational targeted often looking into diets, and sedentary lifestyles etc. That being said women of all sizes found prenatal exercise to be an excellent form of stress relief, a depression reduction technique, an activity they enjoyed, and a tool which aided them bonding with their child.

Is Paddle Boarding Safe While Pregnant?

So, after consulting with the overwhelmingly positive data we can now try and access whether paddle boarding is safe whilst pregnant. This will depend on a range of factors, were you a proficient paddle boarder before or is this your first time venturing into paddle boarding?

If you have never paddle boarded before then how far along are you? For a first time paddle boarder, it may not be so difficult when you are not far along in your pregnancy (say months 0-4, each person will show differently). However, the further along you are the more likely you should put it off for a first time. Maybe prior to the pregnancy.

For those who have done paddle boarding before, there is no reason to believe it would hurt you whilst pregnant. From the 1940s as was shown above it has been recommended that women swim whilst pregnant and this is yet another water activity. Paddle boarding will actually allow for you to continue to strengthen your core. But do keep in mind, you’re pregnant thus you should not overexert yourself.

If you’re a seasoned paddle boarder you still may want to change the way you engage with the board. At the very least to avoid injury. Whilst previously you may have stood on the board, It may be easier for you to kneel or sit on the board instead. Also, don’t go too far out. It’s common for pregnant women to suddenly feel pain, winded, or tired. You may suddenly need to sit down so stay close to sure.

As you get later along in your pregnancy you may want to put off being in the water. This is only as many women do not recognize when they break their waters. If labor does not start up to 48 hours after your water breaks your baby could be in danger which is why it is so necessary to understand/notice when this happens. Towards to later stages some mothers simply wipe rather than showering.

Tips for Staying Safe Whilst Paddle Boarding

  1. Go with a partner: You never know what may happen and so you may need someone along the way. Don’t underestimate this.
  2. Listen to your body. During pregnancy a whole new life is being created within you so it is completely understandable if you are more than usually fatigued with the run of activity.
  3. Use a larger board: this will help you stabilize as you move through the water and support you and your plus one.
  4. Listen to the environment: if there are signs that alligators or even worse crocodiles reside in that body of water do not venture in. Also, if the water is too busy it simply may not be safe. If the wind and water is too strong maybe do not venture out too far.
  5. Physical activity is good for pregnancy: ultimately the science is with you, but you still want to take it easy.
  6. Move Slowly: this will mean you do not end up going too far and that also you can easily get back to land.
  7. Stay in Shallow water: you may not know the tide is coming is, and it may be more difficult to swim to shore when you are pregnant. Therefore, stay in shallow water. Do not venture too far just in case.
  8. Be extra careful of falls: One reasons you want to check the weather, move slow, and not get caught in the waves or a busy part of water. Is you want to avoid falls. You are fragile therefore you may be susceptible to being harmed by what would on a normal day be a small fall.
  9. Wear Sunscreen: You don’t want to be worried about exercise for the whole time without considering that you could burn on the day.
  10. Keep Hydrated: Your body needs more water whilst pregnant so ensure that you bring water along and drink throughout the day.
  11. Bring food with you: as a pregnant woman you may be surprised by how hungry you get and how often. By traveling with food you can avoid being stranded or getting stroppy after a small bit of exercise.
  12. Enjoy yourself: you don’t want to be a bundle of nerves in the water so try and have fun. Do this activity with someone whose company you enjoy and get lost in conversation.

Places NOT TO Paddle Board Whilst Pregnant

If you live in more alligator prone states like Florida, it may not be in your best interests to venture into these areas. Sudden scares have been known to induce labor in women and in the worse circumstances you may experience worse. This would also apply to areas where other extreme watersports may be occurring. Easy to imagine how a speed boat propelling towards you could bring on a heart attack. So be more vigilant than you usually would be.

Talk to your doctor

Ultimately, if you are still unsure after having read this article you best bet would be to consult your doctor. Your doctor has access to your medical records and can see and decide for themselves the best course of action for you and your baby. Perhaps preeclampsia, or some other maternal illness is prevalent throughout your family therefore the doctor may recommend that more rest rather than exercise would actually benefit you. This is the person who will be able to tell you in your placenta is developing properly. If you should be induced, the sex of your child, if their heart rate is beating at the right pace. It is in their interest to provide you with the right advice.

Each persons pregnancy is different. Oftentimes mothers experience different pregnancies with different women so do not be upset if the doctor says its better for you to rest. The research into illnesses and working out wasn’t so clear cut.


Is paddle boarding safe whilst pregnant? That will depend on a range on factors. Whilst those of you who have more experiencing paddle boarding may be comfortable standing up, others may need to sit on the board. Whilst others may simple prefer a walk on legs. As you feel heavier you’ll have to do what works for you.

If you still feel unsure, consult a doctor. Also, let us know in the comments section if there is anything which we may have missed. Will you or will you not ultimately be paddle boarding whilst you are pregnant? Do you know anyone who paddle boarded through a pregnancy? Or, did you just simply walk whilst pregnant? We want to know so let us know in the comment section.

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