For the faithful followers of this blog (and on Twitter), it’s no surprise that we are expecting a new edition in 2013. I plan to share my experiences with staying active through pregnancy as well as the challenges, so I might help encourage others who hope to maintain their outdoor activities while pregnant.
The average person seems to believe that rock climbing and pregnancy don’t belong together in the same sentence. With the upcoming release of the Mountain Mama & Mad Rock pregnancy harness this topic has been covered by the non-climbing media (see sampling of stories here, here, and here). I had many friends and acquaintances assume I would no longer be climbing now that I’m pregnant. With my last pregnancy (not knowing any better) I had succumbed to the popular belief that pregnant women are fragile. This was during my pre-climbing days, and I’ve not usually been one to sustain regular exercise, so I became more and more inactive and suffered the consequences: weak back muscles and increasing pains as my small frame was not prepared to support my increased weight.
Now, as a climber (if I can call myself that!) I’ve been determined to keep my activity level up and prepare my body for the journey ahead. Before I began to show with my pregnancy, climbing was not an issue. I noticed that I was a bit more breathless towards the top of my climbs, so I listened to my body and took more breaks as I needed to. I kept nausea at bay by eating constantly, and I did my best to press through tiredness to maintain being active.
However, I began to show around week 9 or 10, and with the change in my body it affected my mentality towards climbing. I began to get nervous and lost confidence for sending. The following week I used one of my husband’s larger harnesses and positioned the waist above my bump. which was more comfortable. I was able to climb at my normal pre-pregnancy levels (which is a 5.8, like I said, I’m still a new climber!)
Local outdoor retailers that carry climbing gear looked at me quizzically when I inquired about adult full body harnesses. There don’t seem to be many pregnant women darkening the doors of the climbing gym. It’s been a challenge trying to find a harness that will work, which is why I’m thankful that Mountain Mama and Mad Rock are answering this need with the release of the harness in January 2013. I just don’t want to take 3 months off from climbing to wait for it! I just received my new harness (pictured at left), the Magic II from C.A.M.P. which I will be trying out today.
There are some inspirational women that have showed me that it is possible to climb and maintain an outdoor lifestyle while pregnant. I’m thankful for examples such as Carrie Cooper, Erica Lineberry, and Teresa Delphin of Mountain Mama. I’m happy to have found the inspiration and support online that I lack locally.
We are also continuing to chip away at our family goal of hiking 100 miles together during 2012. Before pregnancy, I was always leading the family down the trail, setting the pace. With pregnancy breathlessness combined with allergies, I found myself falling behind, especially when going up hill.