Balancing a pregnant body with a climbing mind
Hi Beth! I’ve followed you as a climber for a long time and recently came across your blog when I was looking for information about climbing while pregnant. As you know, there is hardly any! Thank you so much for sharing your experience and starting a dialogue about climbing and pregnancy.
I am around 4.5 months pregnant and have been able to keep climbing at least one or two days a week so far. My husband and I agreed I would only top-rope and we would climb primarily in the gym so the routes and terrain are safe and familiar.
I’ve stopped doing anything overhung since I felt the strain on my abs was too much. I know these precautions are smart for the baby but so much compromise has taken some of the satisfaction out of my climbing. I’m struggling with feeling like it’s all slipping away, the whole lifestyle of being outside and the approach to a great area and the community in general.
Yesterday I felt good enough to try something at my limit. It was vertical but pretty techy and though I did my best not to engage my abs I’m sure I did to some extent anyway.
After weeks of testing the waters on much easier climbs it felt so good to try hard again, like I was regaining some feeling of normalcy, but as much as I loved that feeling, in the back of my mind I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong. Maybe I’m being selfish? Did you struggle with this at all?
Were you able to keep climbing through your pregnancy? How many months were you able to keep climbing? Did you have to keep it easy or did you feel you could push your limits a bit? Were you able to at least maintain some of your strength and endurance?
I remember reading that you’d had a hard time coming back after being pregnant, do you feel like you’re back to full strength now? How long did it take you?
Thanks so much for anything you can tell me Beth. I don’t really know anyone else who has gone through this so it’s really nice to know someone as strong and badass as you has been there and made it through to the other side!
Hi Brenna! Thanks so much for your message and congrats on your pregnancy!
I’m so glad that my blog has helped a bit, but I TOTALLY understand that feeling of everything slipping away and having to let go of something that means so much to you and is a defining part of you. I definitely struggled a TON with this, from the beginning all the way through postpartum, and to be honest even now when Theo is two. Pregnancy and becoming a mom has been a transformation for me, in learning to balance my own wants and desires with those of my family, husband and now this little boy that we brought into the world. Every woman and family is different, but for me it was hard to let go of my body and own goals and inspirations. However, it didn’t mean letting go of them completely, just temporarily. I still climb now, just less time and at a lesser intensity than before. That’s due to both my body and having Theo. I want to give him the time he deserves, but also need to maintain some of my own identity as well.
I’m the farthest thing from a medical professional, but I would venture a guess that climbing how you did is totally fine. I fell flat on my stomach on ice when I was about 5 months pregnant and had cramps, etc. and got an ultrasound to make sure the baby was okay, and it was a-ok! It’s so hard to know when/how to trust your body when it doesn’t feel like your body anymore, but listen to yourself and know that you are doing the best thing possible by giving your little kiddo a great home for now and eventual awesome life in the world. It’s going to change no doubt, and it will be harder in some ways and easier in others. I’m constantly amazed with how much I learn from Theo, which sounds cliche, but it’s true.
And go easy on yourself if your body takes some time to heal. I was on one side of the spectrum, not feeling like I could really push my body until 2 years postpartum, even then I still question my abs, but there are others that are climbing/running within a few weeks. It was hard for me, tons of emotional ups and downs, but being where I am now, I can see that it was blessing in disguise, having that time to bond with Theo and learn how to become a family with Randy.
This was a long winded response, but I hope it helps a little. Just know that you aren’t alone in all of your thoughts and questions, I’ve received hundreds of messages just like this. I think that the more it’s talked about, the better. I know that I would have been very thankful if I could have had this info when I was pregnant. It’s a learning curve, just like everything else in life.
Best of luck in the rest of your pregnancy and please feel free to reach out again! Sorry if I’m a bit delayed…just running around after a two year old 🙂
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