Going horseback riding can be a source of joy and an opportunity to bond, both for the horse and the rider. It can be pretty devastating if you are, for some reason, unable to go horse riding. But can you go horse riding while pregnant?
It is not advisable to go horse riding when pregnant. This is because riding a horse is risky, but the consequences of falling can be even more severe when pregnant.
If you do decide to ride while pregnant, there are some safety tips that you should follow.
In this article, we will go through these safety tips in more detail after answering your primary concerns about horse riding while pregnant.
Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other horse-related articles: How Many Acres Of Land Do You Need For Horses? and How Much Water Should My Horse Drink?.
Can You Go Horse Riding While Pregnant?
Let’s not beat about the bush: horseback riding is inherently risky. This is common knowledge, and we are all aware of the potential consequences that could arise from it.
Because of the inherent risk of falling from a horse when riding one, many people believe it is not a sport that should be pursued while pregnant.Consider the following when determining whether or not you will feel comfortable riding with a baby:
The hormonal shifts during pregnancy cause a softening of the joints and an increase in hypermobility, which might impact how safe you feel when riding.
As a result of the uterus being encased within the pelvis during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, there is a decreased risk of the unborn child suffering from direct trauma in the event of an accident such as falling. The danger steadily rises after the first 12 weeks.
If you have an injury that necessitates a general anesthetic (GA), you should be aware that taking one may raise your chance of miscarrying in the first trimester.
Advice From the NHS on Horse Riding During Pregnancy
According to the National Health Service (NHS), you should continue participating in your typical daily physical activity or exercise for as long as you feel able to do so without experiencing any discomfort.
In addition, they state that physical activity is safe for both you and your baby to participate in.
Some evidence suggests that women who remain physically active throughout their pregnancies are less likely to encounter complications in the later stages of pregnancy and during labor.
However, they add that caution should be used when engaging in activities like horseback riding, downhill skiing, ice hockey, gymnastics, and cycling, where there is a chance of falling.
There is a possibility that the child could sustain injuries if you were to fall.
Considerations for Pregnant Riders
Consider the following things before you decide to ride a horse.
- Are you familiar with the horse(s)? Do you have complete faith in them? Do they enjoy a good fright? If the thought of their bucks gives you the willies on a regular day, it’s probably best to keep your feet on the ground for now.
- Is riding truly necessary? There are instances when giving the horse a forced vacation can be beneficial. Spending six to nine months in a field while letting their body have some time off is not a bad idea, so you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if you choose to forego riding for a while.
- Is riding comfortable for you? If you see your pregnancy going nowhere while sitting in the saddle, it may be time to give up the reins for the rest of your pregnancy.
- Can your horse handle it? You’ll need to adjust your riding position, balance, and fitness level, so consider whether your horse has the necessary expertise.
- Is there anyone who could take your place on the horse? If you believe that your horse needs to be ticked over, you could ask family members or friends to ride it for you, or you might pay someone to do it. Spread the news as soon as possible, and someone in your area’s equestrian community will be able to lend a hand.
- How much of a positive effect does riding have on your state of mind? It’s possible that getting back in the saddle will be healthier for you than taking a break for a while.
- You run the risk of being unable to keep your breeches up over your belly since as your bump becomes bigger, so will the waistbands on your breeches; therefore, it may be time to purchase some flexible riding tights that can expand along with you.
Riding When Pregnant – 1st Trimester
The pelvis shields the fetus and uterus throughout the first trimester of pregnancy, decreasing the likelihood that they may sustain injury. However, regardless of how accomplished a rider you are, there is always a possibility of coming off.
And even though the fetus will receive some protection against a fall, your injuries could potentially influence the fetus’s health.
The likelihood of having a miscarriage would increase if you needed general anesthesia to treat injuries experienced in a fall.
It’s normal to have discomfort and increased cramping as your uterus grows larger and begins to expand.
While this probably won’t hinder your riding skills, it may make you less focused.
Riding When Pregnant – 2nd Trimester
As your pregnancy progresses into the first trimester, the fetus will shift higher in the abdominal cavity, which means it will be less protected. Because of this, riding a horse is far more dangerous now than when you were first pregnant.
The fetus will gain significant weight during the second trimester (approximately 2 pounds by the end of the six months), which will alter your center of gravity and, by extension, not only.
Your balance may also make you feel uneasy in the saddle as the horn or pommel presses against your baby bump. However, the effects of your equilibrium on the horse may have escaped your attention.
As you move closer to the end of your second trimester, you will notice that your muscles and joints are becoming more pliable in preparation for your child’s birth.
It’s possible that you won’t notice any difference in your equilibrium because of this, but relaxin is a hormone your body produces that serves to loosen up your muscles and joints.
It will relax the muscles you need to keep yourself straight in the saddle, which could impact you.
If you don’t sit up straight, your horse will have to try extra hard to support you since he must continually re-stabilize himself to make up for the shift in balance.
Riding When Pregnant – 3rd Trimester
Most pregnant women who rode during the first half of their pregnancies decide not to continue until they enter the third trimester, which is a wise option given the increased danger of injury to the unborn child.
You might discover that you cannot physically climb into the saddle, although you intend to continue your riding.
Even though you won’t be able to ride for a while, that doesn’t mean you have to give up horses altogether. Grooming a horse can reduce stress and promote relaxation, both beneficial to you and your unborn child.
This could also be an excellent opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your horse.
Safe Riding Practices for Expectant Mothers
Whether we accept it or not, horseback riding is inherently risky; however, the dangers become even more significant during pregnancy, making it even more important to take every precaution possible.
Put on a Helmet
Even though it’s not in style to wear one, riders should always do so for their safety; studies show that 60% of fatal head injuries occur when riders aren’t wearing helmets.
While a helmet won’t eliminate the need for surgery in the event of a fall while under general anesthesia, it will lessen the likelihood that additional procedures will be necessary.
Put on a Body Protector
Wearing a body protector will give you additional safety. Still, you shouldn’t be using one if it’s stressing your uterus, especially in the beginning stages of pregnancy when the pubic bone is doing its job to shield the baby.
If you’ve outgrown your body protector, it’s time to switch to an air jacket. While it won’t keep your child as safe as a body protector, it provides some padding in case of an accident.
Pick Your Horse with Care
Many pregnant riders question if riding is safe without considering how the pregnancy might affect their relationship with the horse.
You should only ride calm, well-balanced horses since riding nervous or skittish horses raises the danger of getting hurt.
Stop Riding If You’re Not Having Fun
Stay off the horse if you’re unsure whether you should be riding.
We can’t stress this enough. While facing your fears is generally recommended, doing so while pregnant is a different story. It’s best not to take any risks if you’re experiencing anxiety or nervousness.
At What Point in My Pregnancy Should I Stop Riding?
You should stop riding a horse in the following circumstances:
- Stop riding if your doctor says it could harm you or the baby.
- If you feel dizzy or unsteady when riding, you should get off the horse immediately to avoid further injury.
- After the first trimester, there is a significant decrease in the level of protection for your unborn child. As a result, you ought to give some serious thought to the possibility of halting riding toward the end of the first trimester.
- If your horse isn’t steady and calm enough to ensure your baby’s safety, you should dismount immediately. Naturally, there isn’t a horse in the world that can be relied on 100 percent of the time.
Continue to work out even if you must give up riding, provided your physician gives you the green light.
Keeping your body in good shape and maintaining your flexibility during your pregnancy will not only provide you with the power and stamina you need to get through the birth and delivery processes.
But it will also speed up your recovery and get you back to riding your horse more quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I ride a horse 2 months pregnant?
Some medical experts believe that you should not ride a horse 30 days after conception and 30 days before birth.
Can you ride horses while on your period?
There is no reason why you shouldn’t ride horses on your period.
Is horse riding bad for pelvic floor?
One study did not find any link between pelvic floor dysfunction and horseback riding.
So Can You Go Horse Riding While Pregnant?
So, even though you won’t be able to ride your horse for a few months till your pregnancy lasts, it won’t be much of a problem and can even be good for your horse.
We hope this article answers your primary concerns about horse riding while pregnant.
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