You can ride a horse while pregnant, but with consideration and caution. Riding a horse can be an exercise that you need. But The International Federation for Equestrian Sports has some warnings.
The federation would like to remind pregnant women about the specifics of pregnancy. The physical changes include hypermobility and joint laxity. They can affect your riding ability.
The fetus gains protection from the mother’s pelvic in 12 weeks of pregnancy. But the mother is prone to trauma that can lead to miscarriage. This effect can be disastrous if the horse ride doesn’t go well.
You still have to consider these things even though you’re an experienced horse rider. Apart from these concerns, learn more about horse riding while pregnant. These things will help you plan questions when seeking advice from your obstetrician.
Is it Safe to Ride a Horse While Pregnant?
It’s safe to ride a horse while pregnant if you have excellent physical fitness. But close monitoring is still essential. A secure seat can also ensure safety as it won’t shake the baby inside the womb.
To make the ride safe, don’t choose young and wilder horses. This statement doesn’t need further explanation. A pregnant woman can fall off from the excessive movements of a restless horse.
Also, pregnant equestrians can go for dressage on the court. It’s better than tricky cross-country riding or show jumping.
Benefits of Horse Riding While Pregnant
Given favorable circumstances, you can gain benefits from horse riding while pregnant. It’s not only for you but for your baby as well.
You may not have thought of it, but horse riding can help you develop muscles. It’s the result of the energy that you spend on riding. Muscle mass gives way to more strength.
The strength from these muscles will help a pregnant woman during labor. You should know that your pelvic muscles gain more power when riding a horse. This enhancement can assist you when carrying your baby’s weight.
This extra strength can reduce back pain, too, since you can manage to carry your baby’s weight. You can avoid more pain and injuries during delivery as well.
Body Coordination and Flexibility
Body coordination is an essential factor that you have to work on as your baby grows inside you. A horse ride can help you achieve this goal. When this happens, you can manage to bear your baby’s weight with no problem.
When riding a horse, you deal with many movements. So, you can adapt with ease when the fetus starts to move.
Flexibility is essential to maintain a good posture. While maintaining a good posture, you must balance yourself when at the back of the horse. It’s a vital step to train your pelvic and lower back areas.
Ideal posture and balance make you flexible even with a fetus inside you. It’s most beneficial for pregnant women who are in the second trimester.
A study shows that exercising has many health benefits for pregnant women. It lowers the chances of operative vaginal delivery, caesarean, and postpartum recovery period. Physical activity can stop depressive disorders during postpartum.
It’s crucial to be active during pregnancy, like riding a horse, because it can lower glucose levels. Pregnant women won’t be at risk of gestational hypertension and disorders. They won’t also suffer preeclampsia.
Relieve Stress and Anxiety
The changes during pregnancy can affect the mood of a pregnant woman. Riding a horse is one of the activities that can reverse a bad mood. Most people who spend time with animals become happier.
When you’re at the back of the horse, there’s a release of serotonin which is a mood enhancer. Riding a horse is like any other type of exercise. It can relax and ease tension in your body.
When you sit on a horse, it’s like taking a rest. But your muscles still move when the animal is in motion. The combination of these things promotes relaxation.
The bounce while the horse moves is like getting a massage. It improves your blood flow which is for relaxation. When you’re free of stress, you can have peace of mind which is vital for pregnant women.
Horse Riding During Pregnancy Should Be Done With Caution
Behind the benefits of riding a horse, there are possible dangers to it during pregnancy. There are three trimesters of pregnancy. As the baby continues to thrive every semester, there are changes in the mother’s body.
The risk of falling can cause an unhappy ending to a pregnancy. But it’s also crucial to see what happens in every trimester. Learn in this part whether it’s safe or not to ride a horse during the first, second, and third trimesters.
Horse Riding When Pregnant First Trimester
The first trimester is the start of pregnancy from day one to the third month. As the fetus thrives, the mother experiences change too. Her uterus and muscles become bigger. There’s also an increase in blood vessels.
Riding a horse can make your muscles more robust, so it’s beneficial. During the first semester, the bony pelvic girdle protects the fetus. In the event of a fall, the baby is safe, but you put yourself at risk when you don’t have a helmet on.
Horse Riding When Pregnant Second Trimester
Depending on your lifestyle, the baby grows faster at this point. The growth of the fetus means more weight to carry. You must get used to it because balance is essential when riding a horse.
In the second trimester, the hormone called ‘relaxin’ is dominant. It happens to make your hip joints and pelvic muscles loosen. These changes will assist in pushing your baby out in a few months.
Again, balance is essential to ride a horse well. You have to be flexible in carrying your body with the bump. If not, you’ll end up falling off the horse.
You have the last say if you can balance yourself on the horse’s back. Due to the issue of balance, think about outdoor elements too. As you tread on the pathway, mud, snow, and rough terrain can challenge your balance.
These elements are other challenges. We don’t wish for mishaps, but you can have an accident when you lose your balance before mounting the horse.
Horse Riding When Pregnant Third Trimester
Riding a horse is not advisable this trimester, and an obstetrician will tell you so. There’s an increase in all the possible risks, like falling and injuring your baby. But it doesn’t mean you must stop bonding with your horse.
Refrain from riding, but there are other ways to spend time with your horse. You can groom the animal, and you’ll feel relaxed. Doing liberty training, trick training, and long-reigning in the last trimester is safe. As for the necessary exercise, you can do yoga or find other safer options than riding a horse.
Tips For Horseback Riding While Pregnant
If you still need more information so you can decide whether you can ride a horse or not, here are more tips.
Wearing PPEs During Horseback Riding
PPEs are first on the list for obvious reasons. Australia and New Zealand have standards on the appropriate clothing for horseback riding. They are long-sleeved tops and pants with the proper fit. Wearing jewelry is not necessary for horseback riding.
It’s also good if you wear gloves. Remove rings from your fingers if you wear some, as they can get caught in the horse’s mane.
Comfortable on the Saddle
There’s a risk that you may fall off the horse. To avoid the thing, make sure you’re seated in a comfortable and secure way.
There’s no study or research to prove riding a horse can cause miscarriage. It’s even considered a myth that causes a miscarriage. This information is from the University of California San Diego Health. But you still have to be careful.
What if you fall off the horse’s back? You can hurt the fetus and put your baby’s health at risk. Don’t ride a horse if you reach the third trimester.
Your mindset should be the same as other activities that pose risks. Remember that you can still have an accident no matter how good you are at horseback riding.
Selecting the Right Horse to Ride
You should know the personality and temperament of the horse that you’ll ride. It’s best not to select the wild one or the horse that spooks even with little things. The bottom line is that you only ride a horse that you know.
Don’t Learn Horseback Riding
Experienced horse riders need to be careful. How much more if you’re a novice? So, never think about learning how to ride a horse while you’re pregnant. You can do it again as you’re more prone to falling off the horse.
With Doctor’s Permit
There’s no harm if you talk to your doctor and ask permission for horseback riding. Do it so nothing wrong will happen to you and your baby.
Warning Signs to Stop Horse Riding While Pregnant
If you see or experience these signs, contact your obstetrician right away.
- Vaginal bleeding
- Leaking amniotic fluid
- Abdominal pain
- Pain or swelling on the calf
- Preterm labor or painful uterine contraction
- Abnormal shortness of breath
- Palpitation or chest pain
- Excessive fatigue
- Dizziness and fainting
- Pelvic girdle pain
- Breathless before exercise
- Reduction of fetal movements
You can ride a horse in the first and second trimesters. The risk increases in the third trimester, so it’s a big no for pregnant women to ride a horse. You may also discuss this matter with your obstetrician for your safety and the baby’s.
When riding a horse while pregnant, wear the proper clothing. Only ride a horse that you know well. Be particular about the warning signs mentioned above. Call your doctor with no delay if you experience them.