The fact that I’m three months pregnant doesn’t change anything.”
– Catherine Destiville,preparing to solo the Old Man of Hoy seastack.
There are few sports that you can start after pregnancy that you did not do before you became pregnant. However, if you were already rock climbing and you are not at risk with your pregnancy, there is a good chance you can continue rock-climbing during your pregnancy if you want to.
Of course, you should always consult your OB before any type of sport or exercise while pregnant to ensure that it is safe for you. Every woman and every pregnancy is different and you do not want to take any undue risk to you and your baby. That said, I was able to continue rock climbing, running, golfing and other activities in my pregnancies as were many other women.
Here are some tips for rock-climbing during pregnancy (if your doctor says it is ok):
Climb top rope only- You don’t want to risk taking falls at lead. The stress on your body is minimal and most of it is only in the butt.
Stop if something hurts- A good general rule of pregnancy is to stop any activity if you feel pain. Then ask your doctor about it before you continue.
Full body harness- A full body harness is recommended as it will give you the most support and will be the most comfortable. If the harness starts to dig into your sides or become uncomfortable, then it’s a good time to quit.
Relaxin will loosen you up- Keep in mind that the hormone relaxin will cause your tendons and ligaments to loosen and prepare for delivery. The closer you get to your due date, the more susceptible you may be to injury. In subsequent pregnancies, you may feel this looseness earlier in the pregnancy.
Balance and strength are affected- In pregnancy, your balance will be affected and your center of gravity will shift. Your strength can also be affected while pregnant so keep this in mind while climbing. You may need to make adjustments.
Never climb alone- While it is recommended that you never climb alone anyway, this is especially true when you are pregnant. If you did fall or run into some type of trouble, there would be no one else around to help you.
Alison Osius, an editor at Climbing magazine climbed into the eight month of each of her pregnancies. She had two, healthy 8-pound babies. While every pregnancy is different, there is a good chance that you will still be comfortable climbing in yours.
You should consider using an indoor climbing gym that is climate controlled, especially if you live in extreme temperatures and also as you get farther along because there will be a bathroom nearby. When the baby and your growing uterus start pressing on your bladder, combined with the harness and ropes, you will probably find you need to urinate more often. A gym also provides a more controlled environment in case something does go wrong. There will be help and a phone nearby.
Rock climbing during pregnancy with your doctor’s OK can be a great way to stay in shape, release stress and enjoy some time doing something you love while you await your new bundle of joy.