Horseback riding can be an enjoyable and fulfilling hobby that also serves as an effective form of exercise to strengthen lower back and pelvic muscles, improve balance and relieve fatigue during pregnancy. Riding is especially helpful in relieving symptoms of varicose veins as well as strengthening kegel muscles (pelvic floor muscle) to aid kegel strengthening and promote good balance.
1. It’s Not Safe
If you have experience riding and have had healthy pregnancies in the past, your doctor may allow horseback riding during your first trimester of gestation if worn a helmet and without galloping. It would also be best to limit riding during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
Doctors recommend that women avoid horseback riding during pregnancy for one primary reason: abdominal injuries. Although direct trauma to this area is unlikely, falling off of a horse still poses risks of injury to its rider and her unborn fetus may need general anesthesia treatment which exposes both to risks.
Moreover, if a woman loses her balance and falls, they could incur serious injury that could end in miscarriage for both mother and fetus. Furthermore, mother may experience back pain worsened as well as sciatica symptoms.
2. It’s Not Comfortable
Riding is an intensely physical sport, which works the muscles and ligaments of your pelvic girdle. While riding may provide great exercise during early gestation, jostling up and down can become uncomfortable as your center of gravity shifts during each ride. Riding may initially feel fine during early pregnancy; however, by midway through gestation you may begin experiencing uneasily bumpy rides due to both baby’s weight as well as your own.
Not even experienced riders are immune from falling off, which is dangerous for both you and the baby. Falling can result in pelvic trauma that could detach or damage an embryonic sac – thus placing both mother and baby at risk. For these reasons, most obstetricians advise expecting mothers stop riding horses during gestation as a safeguard to both themselves and their growing babies’ wellbeing; this doesn’t mean giving up horses though; just finding more appropriate exercise options instead.
3. It’s Not Safe for Your Baby
Riding can expose pregnant riders to the risk of falling off or being thrown. Falling could damage your unborn fetus and even lead to miscarriage; thus it should be considered during early trimester pregnancy.
In the early trimester, fetuses are protected by their bony pelvic girdle and any falls during this stage are unlikely to cause harm; however, trauma necessitating general anesthesia later could pose greater risks and possibly result in miscarriage.
Also, jostling in the saddle and endangering your balance may increase the risk of your placenta detaching from your uterus – potentially leading to miscarriage. As your pregnancy advances, only ride calm horses and refrain from competitive riding until after giving birth. Furthermore, using a good body protector is crucial in order to protect both you and your baby from any falls or trauma-causing incidents during a ride.
4. It’s Not Safe for Your Balance
Even if you are an experienced horse rider who knows every inch of his or her horses inside out, pregnancy will still have an impact on your balance and could result in you falling. Your weight distribution changes and your baby bump might hit the saddle pommel or horn which could result in you falling, potentially becoming dangerous both for yourself and for your unborn baby. It is wise to wear a helmet while horseback riding in pregnancy to protect both of you.
Falling during the third trimester can be particularly hazardous to an unborn fetus’ safety as its protection by the bony pelvic girdle is no longer in effect. Any injuries to the uterus at this stage could put it at risk of miscarriage and other severe health complications for mother and fetus alike.
Riding horses may strengthen your lower back and pelvic muscles, but it’s not the ideal way to remain balanced while expecting. Your baby needs you to feel their movements freely without stress – something which cannot happen if your focus is elsewhere than being centered on your horse.
Chris is a passionate learner and writer. When he’s not working on his blog or learning something new, he’s a full-time systems administrator and father of two beautiful girls. Chris loves spending time with his family, reading, writing, and playing hockey.