Can I go white water rafting when pregnant?

White water rafting is a fantastic, adrenaline-pumping sport an increasing number of people are doing, especially as relief from soaring temperatures. And it's even more interesting to see that quite a few pregnant women are interested to know if they too can experience the adrenaline rush!

It's lovely seeing ladies aren't afraid to get so active when pregnant. It's especially great knowing many women are fit and active even when expecting. But it doesn't mean they can partake in any group sports. They have to choose to perform activities and exercises considered safe for both the mother and growing baby.

white water rafting when pregnant

Is white water rafting safe for pregnancy?

Maybe, because it all depends.

It's not exactly safe to go river rafting while pregnant.


Well, there's a massive chance of your being jostled around, attacked if the raft breaks, and even the risk of ending up thrown to hit the rocks, making it all the more dangerous.

You also risk increased nausea, damage to joints, injuries, and worse yet: a miscarriage. Looking at all this, it just doesn't seem worth taking the risk of going on a white water rafting trip when expecting.

The most important thing is to choose a safe environment for you and your baby and avoid rafting until after you have your baby.

What Is Whitewater Rafting and Water Rapids?

White water rafting involves riding down a rapidly moving river on a raft. It's when the turbulent river water becomes bubbly and white, that 'whitewater rapids' happen. However, no one can control the rapid river waters. And the entire concept of whitewater rafting exists only because of dangerous waters.

While moderate exercise is always advised while trying to conceive and during pregnancy, white water rafting and water rapids are not safe. It's mainly because the activities come with a high risk of a fall or undergoing abdominal trauma if thrown off the raft and hurled into rocks.

Besides, the reduced agility and reflex actions as your growing body adjust to movements are difficult. So it's better to avoid the whitewater rapids during pregnancy. Here's a rundown on the possible consequences of whitewater rafting at the different semesters of a pregnancy.

White Water Rafting at 4 weeks pregnant

You may wonder if it's ever safe to go on a whitewater rapids trip when pregnant. Some think that it's safe in the early weeks along with their pregnancies.

However, things aren't so straightforward.

Keep in mind that most people claim rafting is safe at 4 weeks because they would not even know they are pregnant. They end up joining a trip while declaring to the guide that they aren't pregnant. Many women thus end up spending a day in the tumbling waters and camping, and later say that their pregnancy turned out to be okay.

However, the effect of high energy and high-stress activities like rafting during the first four weeks of pregnancy is risky because it can lead to:

  • Nausea or morning sickness, which may last through the day, and not only in the morning. While it changes between ladies, nausea usually starts in the first few weeks of pregnancy. That's because even though it's early in your pregnancy, your body is still growing and changing. And can have a severe impact on your everyday activities. So you can imagine how rolling down whitewater rapids can make pregnancy-induced nausea all the worse.
  • Extreme fatigue, which is another common sign of early pregnancy because the body uses so much energy. And when you suffer from extreme fatigue, it's very likely that you won't have the stamina or reaction time to stay safe in a white water raft.

But, if you feel you can endure these side effects, and IF you still think you can go rafting, it's better first to consult your doctor. And most importantly, follow your doctor's recommendations and advice.

White Water Rafting at eight weeks pregnant

At two months, you most probably know you are pregnant and would have started taking steps to modify your lifestyle to suit the growing baby. Your doctor may have advised you to stop certain physical activities, and white water rafting would be one of them.

Besides nausea and fatigue, there are other reasons for pregnant ladies to avoid rafting like:

  • Loose joints and ligaments. Pregnancy hormones tend to loosen the joints and ligaments in a woman. So it's advised to avoid any jerks and high-impact motion to prevent any possible permanent damage to the joints. And as a whitewater rapids adventure can be jerky, bouncy, and high-impact, it's better to avoid them in pregnancy.
  • The need for more oxygen. Doctors advise pregnant women to avoid strenuous activities when pregnant for safety reasons. It is because the exercise redirects oxygen to the muscles and not to organs. And as the body needs more oxygen while pregnant, a high-stress activity like white water rafting is risky.
  • Injuring your growing body because the tiny fetus in your body grows every day. The increased size increases the risks of physical harm while engaged in something high-impact like white water rafting.

Rafting in white water after 12 weeks pregnant

You should practically forget whitewater rafting once you are no longer in the first trimester.


Well, it's because any form of contact sports puts your baby at risk. And yes, white water is considered a contact sport with as friends paddle beside each other.

There's the risk of rapids jostling and rattling you against one another or even throwing you off the raft. So sorry. There's a high possibility of rafting causing a direct hit and trauma on your new baby bump.

Besides, the extra weight on your abdomen leads to a change in your body's center of gravity, thus increasing the risk of losing balance. You thus find it challenging to stay balanced in a white water raft, and this increases the chances of falling out of the raft.

Pregnancy takes its course in different ways in different women. So while one woman may feel better after the first trimester, another may still experience nausea and fatigue in their 12th week. You definitely won't want to get sick and feel tired in the raft with your grown stomach.

So if you want to cool down in the calm lake waters while pregnant, it's better to go for a relaxing swim. Leave the whitewater rapids trip for after your baby's birth.

White water rafting at 20 weeks

it's not advisable to go white water rafting at 20 weeks. A reputable rental company won't even oblige with it. Your baby bump has grown and throws you off your center of gravity, making you lose your balance and fall.

You also end up unsteady on your feet and fall. So for safety reasons, be extra careful while getting in and out of the raft.

Besides, the paddling can cause muscle soreness, and you don't want to end up hanging onto the raft ropes the whole time as your body is jerked and thrown around! And pregnancy fatigue tends to return in the third trimester. So don't exert yourself too much.

Can you go on a float trip while pregnant?

Maybe. It all depends on what you mean and expect by a float trip.

It's relatively safe to go floating on a slow-moving, calm, lazy river while pregnant. However, it is not safe being pulled by a speeding ski boat or whitewater raft. The boats' speed is a considerable risk, where you may end up toppling or falling off the raft.

Whether or not you can go on a float trip depends on where you are in your pregnancy and your pregnancy history. That's why it's better to consult your doctor to find out if they consider it to be safe before going on one.

Is it OK to swim in river water while pregnant?

Swimming is no doubt a great way to relax and exercise your body, even during pregnancy. It burns calories and offers multiple benefits like easing sciatic pain, reducing morning sickness, and improving blood circulation, muscle tone, stamina, and endurance.

However, all this would apply to swimming in a swimming pool. Swimming in lakes, rivers, and oceans is something different.

No one treats these natural waters to remove infectious bacteria and germs like Shigella, E. coli, and norovirus. It makes you wonder how safe it is for pregnant women to go swimming in these untreated waters.

The germs in the untreated waters can cause gastrointestinal illnesses like vomiting and nausea. There's also the risk of some infections passing onto others with minimal personal contact. The risk of contracting germs in untreated water is high for pregnant women because of their poor immunity.

Unfortunately, the symptoms of some infections may be associated to be pregnancy symptoms and remain untreated. While some women would be able to naturally fight off mild infections, others may need antibiotics and possible hospitalization with severe illnesses. Severe disease can also lead to death if untreated.

If you are pregnant and still want to go swimming in the river, then do not swallow any water or let water enter your mouth. Take a shower before entering the water, and shower after swimming to remove any germs on the skin. And in case you come in contact with infected water, then consult your physician for treating and possible treatment as soon as possible.

Safer alternatives To Water Rapids

If you want to experience the thrill of the water rapids, but don't want whitewater rafting, then you could consider a fun visit to the water park. There are quite a few more controlled rides here, with less chaotic highs and lows.

However, don't forget that there is always the possibility of the smaller rides stirring a bout of nausea, especially if you have been suffering from it lately.

You would also consider going for a float and not river rafting.

In this case, it's only the guide who has oars, so there's no fear of someone hurting you while paddling. All you have to do is relax and enjoy the calming ride and beautiful scenery. There may be a point or two where you go over white water and meet some mild jerks. However, you won't feel like you have lost your grip or worry about falling out of the raft.

Ask Your Doctor

As your pregnancy is a delicate and valuable phase of life, it is always better to consult your doctor before doing anything risky. It's not that expecting women should stop participating in sports and recreational activities while pregnant.

However, it is always better to be on the safer side and consult your doctor before trying out any exercise, sport, or training. Especially if it's something as threatening as white river rafting.

Is white water rafting safe?

About whether you can go white water river rafting when pregnant depends solely on the level of rafting you intend to do. You could go rafting down a river where there aren't any real challenging rapids to encounter. You could perhaps call it going for a float, which is better than going for something complex or demanding like the rapids.

Remember, you could end up doing irreparable harm to your newborn baby because you wanted to experience the adrenaline rush of whitewater rafting. Just because someone went rafting and had no complications doesn't mean you should consider going on a trip.

Keep in mind; each body is different, and so are the pregnancies.

It's instead better to relax and to enjoy your moment. Remember that there are plenty of fun White Water rapid summer camping and rafting trips waiting for you to explore after your baby's arrival. And consult your doctor. We will never advise you to go against their advice, nor tell you it is safe to go rafting when you are pregnant.

This article is solely informational. Do not substitute the information here for professional medical advice and treatment.