Horseback riding is a pleasurable hobby that many women enjoy. Apart from being a relaxing activity, it can also be a way to exercise your body and bond with the horses that you love. It’s no wonder why women are so engrossed in riding their best buds! But what if you recently found out that you are pregnant? You might wonder, is it safe to ride a horse while pregnant? Here’s what experts say.
Is it safe to go horseback riding while pregnant?
While exercising is generally allowed while pregnant, experts typically advise avoiding horseback riding due to the following reasons:
Risk of fall
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) advice pregnant women to avoid activities that increase the risk of fall. These activities include downhill snow skiing, gymnastics, water skiing, surfing, off-road cycling and horseback riding.
A sudden impact, such that when you fall from a horse, can increase the risk of miscarriage, particularly during the first trimester of pregnancy. Fall injuries may also trigger premature labor while you’re on your second and third trimesters of pregnancy. That is why horse riding, along with the other high-impact sports are not recommended throughout your pregnancy.
Pressure on the uterus
Even if you’re an experienced horseback rider, the position that is typical in horseback riding may put too much pressure on your growing uterus. You may have noticed that sitting in a horseback riding position may result to pelvic pressure and pain, even before you became pregnant. Now that you’re pregnant, your body will be a lot more sensitive, and too much pressure can be risky for you and your baby’s health.
The jerky, up and down movements may not be ideal for pregnant women, especially when constantly experienced in an activity like horseback riding. These bouncing movements may add up pressure in the pelvic and abdominal area that may interfere with the normal growth and development of the unborn baby. Constant rocky movements may also trigger premature contractions, which may put your pregnancy at risk.
Increased joint laxity
The hormonal changes brought about by pregnancy may also alter the joint conditions of a pregnant woman’s body. The hormone progesterone can cause joint laxity, or the loosening of the ligaments in the joints, to prepare the body for labor and delivery. However, joint laxity may also increase your risk of injury, especially when you are involved in high-risk activities such as horseback riding.
Safety considerations when riding a horse while pregnant
While it’s hard to give up such an enjoyable activity, it is best to avoid horseback riding while pregnant. If you do decide to ride a horse however, here are some safety considerations to acknowledge:
Seek consent from your doctor.
Before you actually jump on a horse and ride, it is essential to seek advice from your obstetrician. Your doctor will check you and your baby’s health status to make sure that you are not in a high-risk pregnancy before engaging in any sport or activity.
Make sure that your mind and body is in good shape before horseback riding.
Pregnancy can be accompanied with various signs and symptoms that may affect your usual activities. Take note that dizziness, fatigue, and nausea are common for pregnant women, particularly, during the first trimester of pregnancy. These signs may affect the way you ride the horse and may further increase your risk of fall and injuries.
Make sure that your mind is alert, focused and clear, and that your body is perfectly feeling healthy before horseback riding to prevent undesirable events from occuring.
Do not ride a horse that is new to you.
Horses need to get acquainted with people before they would trust a person to ride on them. Riding on a new horse too quickly may increase the possibility that the horse will have an unlikely reaction and result to injuries on your part.
Let the sports authorities know that you are pregnant.
If you’re joining a horseback riding competition, informing the proper authorities about your pregnancy is a must. Never hide your pregnancy just to join a sports activity or competition. After disclosing the right information, the final verdict whether you can still join or not will be left for the proper authorities to decide. Accept their decision willingly, especially if it is for you and your baby’s health and wellbeing.
When To Immediately Stop
Horseback riding may be a part of your normal routine, and it is best to avoid the activity completely.
If you do ride your horse, always be vigilant of the following warning signs to stop horseback riding and seek medical help immediately:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pelvic or abdominal pain
- Uterine contractions
- Difficulty in breathing
- Chest pain
- Reduced activity of your baby
- Calf swelling and pain
- Leaking amniotic fluid
- Severe headache
- Severe dizziness or fainting
Along with other high-impact or risky sports, horseback riding should be avoided until after your baby is born. Should you need to ride a horse while pregnant, make sure that you seek advice from your obstetrician for an appropriate health evaluation and guidance.