My travels have been a bit quieter lately. That’s because I got pregnant. That doesn’t mean I stopped climbing or exercising…
When I got pregnant, I scoured the web for resources on other climbing ladies who continued climbing while pregnant. The resources weren’t that much, and a lot of the forums had men just saying it was a stupid idea with no scientific reasoning. One of the few resources that I found was quite helpful was Beth Rodden’s post and a blogger website called Patchwork and Pebbles where she breakdown what she did for each trimester. I will write about my own experiences in the hopes that maybe it can help some confused lady climbers.
I found I was pregnant quite early on. I was lucky in that I didn’t experience terrible nausea and was just really exhausted a lot of the time. Prior to 8 weeks pregnant, I was definitely still climbing and leading at my limit although I tried to limit my falls . In fact, it was during my early weeks that I felt the strongest and sent quite a few harder routes. During this time, I went to Bangkok and Yangshuo to climb.
After week 7 or 8, exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks and I literally spent a couple of weeks just sleeping 12 hour days. During this time, I decided to stop bouldering at my limit and to stop moonboarding. Being short, moonboarding and bouldering hard requires a lot of cutting feet and flying off the route and landing hard. Since there are no rope gyms where I am; I switched to boring circuit climbing or doing routes below my level. Since it was pretty boring and I was exhausted/ nauseous, I only bouldered 1x a week instead of 2x. I was still lead climbing every weekend at my limit until week 12 and was trying to project some climbs.
At the end of week 12, I went to Switzerland to climb. I had booked this shortly after I found out I was pregnant because I wanted to do long multi-pitch alpine climbs and thought this would be my last chance for some time to do long routes after I have young kids in tow or get super pregnant. I had also decided early on, that I would not lead climb after Switzerland. So I spent a wonderful week lead climbing alpine and sports routes, some of which were climbing at my limit or were very sparsely bolted (but I was extra cautious). On my last day, I took a pretty sketchy lead fall so I decided that was definitely the end of my leading days.
During this period, I was still wearing my regular XS Black Diamond harness because I read the fetus is still protected by your pelvis.
On weightlifting/ regular gym
I have a habit of going to the gym before work around 3-4x a week and maybe hot yoga 1x a week. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I stopped hot yoga. I would have replaced this with normal yoga but the schedule didn’t work out.
Prior to pregnancy, I had started mixing bodyweight fitness (i.e. front lever progression, handstands, skin the cat, etc) with weightlifting and a bit of cardio (running on treadmill). Prior to 10 weeks, I had some issues with cramping, etc when I lifted heavy or exerted myself too much. My baby doctor is very well meaning , but old school so she told me to do nothing during pregnancy but rest. That would have driven me crazy and I disagreed with her about no exercise. But I did cut back a lot on exertion, cardio and weights. I started using much lighter weights (i.e. deadlifting 60 lbs instead of 130lbs) and focused on more reps and less weight. I stopped body weight fitness because there was a lot of core, jumping, etc and did the elliptical machine instead of treadmill. I still did 10 min core work from a Youtube video as I didn’t really have a belly or anything. These changes stopped my cramping issue and I continued with just taking it easy and just doing some easy lifting and weights during the first trimester.
I was pretty exhausted just walking up a flight of stairs during 1st trimester and had mild nausea in the mornings so I only made it to the gym 2-3x a week during this period.
There is a misconception that says when you are pregnant you can eat anything you want. Sure you can, if you want to gain 50lb for your pregnancy!
During the first trimester, I was lucky to only have mild nausea, and no specific food aversions or cravings. Around weeks 7-9, I was famished 24/7 and constantly thought about food (especially cheese!). But I would have nausea if I ate too much. So I ended up snacking on soda crackers a lot. I tried to eat healthy but I did allow myself a cheat meal on Friday and had pizza, Mexican food, etc. Prior to pregnancy, I always had cheat meals of beers, burgers, etc anyways so it was no different from my regular diet.
Before pregnancy, I really loved my IPA beer and red wine. When I found out I was pregnant, I allowed myself 1 last pint of IPA. Afterwards, I still drank but only took little sips here and there . My Italian friends tell it its totally normal for pregnant women to drink 1-2 glasses of wine each week as they don’t even consider it alcohol.Funny enough, I don’t really crave it now but I am sure looking forward to drinking wine again after the birth! Another thing I don’t crave or want anymore is coke zero or pop, which I used to drink at least a few cans a week of.