Staying active outside: Pregnancy

Chatting with a friend who is pregnant, I realized that I’m starting to forget all the little details about what it was like being pregnant.  All the miserable parts are getting foggier (thank goodness!) and the fun parts are what is standing out.  I guess this is how women getting around to having a second baby? In any case I thought I would write down what I could recollect about staying active while I still remember.  Before finding out I was pregnant I was very active as you can probably tell by checking out the rest of my blog.  Here is a brief rundown of what I was able to do or didn’t do during those 9 months and how I made it work.   I’m hoping to get a little series going with suggestions for the 0-3, 3-6, and 6-9 month phases of having a baby.

Activities

Hiking

This was my #1 go to activity until the snow started flying.  To better enjoy my hikes I did a few things:

  • Tone down the elevation gain. I tried to stay <500m of elevation gain over 10-12 km.  If the trail was shorter I’d pick something with even less elevation.
  • Bring lots of water.
  • Have someone else (hubby) carry lunch, water and clothes. From early on I wasn’t able to use backpack waist belts comfortably and I hate using a pack without them as it hurts my shoulders.
  • Bring extra warm clothes.  I would get hot easily while hiking so once we stopped it was good to have a sweater or pants to throw on.
  • Wear a hip support belt.  There are specific ones made for pregnancy, I used this one which I bought from Coop Home Health (if you’re in Calgary) and it was covered by my insurance.
  • Bring appropriate food. See below.

A few of the hikes I enjoyed doing were:

  • Chester Lake (Kananaskis)
  • Eiffel Lake (Lake Louise)
  • Ptarmigan Cirque (Highwood Pass)
  • Bear’s Hump & Bertha Lakes (Waterton)
  • Maligne Canyon & Whistler’s Mountain from the gondola (Jasper)
Almost at the lake! You can see Wenkchemna Pass on the left side and just over the pass is Lake O'Hara.

Hiking in to Eiffel Lake

Running

I ran until I was 5 months pregnant at which point the impact of running was more than my poor body could handle.  When I did run, I always wore a waist belt that carried small water bottles as was more thirsty than usual.

Camping

I car camped a few times over the summer and it was ok but the frequency of my trips to the bathroom made it much less enjoyable than usual.

View of Waterton from Bear's Hump. We camped in town and discovered where half of Alberta goes to on long weekends.

View of Waterton from Bear’s Hump. We camped in town and discovered where half of Alberta goes to on long weekends.

Climbing

In my first trimester I climbed indoors on whatever I felt like, but didn’t lead anything.  I did a very easy 5.7 multi-pitch in Chamonix when I was 3 months pregnant which felt really good.  I didn’t climb again after that mostly due to a lack of climbing partners.

Yoga

I took a prenatal yoga class during my last trimester and was impressed with how much it helped me out.  I was initially worried it would be heavy on the “meditation and visualization” side but it turned out to be just perfect and left me feeling stretched out and relaxed.  I highly recommend the prenatal classes at Yoga Mandala in Calgary (Sara is a great teacher!).

Biking

I biked a little during during my 1st and 2nd trimesters (they fell during the summer).  Loading a bike into my trunk was difficult and resulted in not much biking and the purchase of a bike rack.  I did enjoy biking at Glenbow Ranch though I had to walk some of the hills. I’d recommend padded bike shorts.

Watching the CP rail trains go by.

Watching the CP rail trains go by.

Swimming

My last trimester fell during winter and an aquasize class was just what I needed to feel active without having to bundle up for outdoors.  You don’t need to take a prenatal one, I attended a drop in class at the YMCA. Bonus – you get a solid 45 min of feeling semi-weightless!

Skiing

Nope.  Did not do any skiing.  I wasn’t pregnant during downhill season and I’m not a cross country skier – yet!

Snowshoeing

I loved loved loved this during my last trimester.  I was starting to get shoulder season cabin fever and snowshoeing was the cure.  Here are some tips for getting out:

  • Buy good snowshoes! Ever heard the saying a pound on the foot is worth 5 on the back? This is all the more true when you’re already carrying extra weight.
  • Bending over to adjust snowshoes is difficult so give it a try at home before doing it at the trailhead with bare (and cold!) fingers.
  • Wear a hip support belt.
  • Wear good quality, comfortable clothes (see below).

Here are some trails I was loving:

  • Elbow Lake (HIGHLY recommend this.  It’s gorgeous!)
  • Hogarth Lakes
  • Paddy’s Flat (nice because it’s close to the city)
  • Bragg Creek’s Snowshoe Hare trail (this one is a bit long so perhaps so take are not to go further than you’re willing to walk back)
  • Fish Creek. If you stick to what are “dirt” trails in the summer, you can easily snowshoe several kilometres in the park

Enjoying the jacket panel on a cold day while snowshoeing at Bragg Creek

Snowshoeing in Bragg Creek with my jacket panel

Plain ‘ol walking

Most evenings I went for a stroll around the block just to get some fresh air and stretch the legs.

Notes

Food

I took a prenatal class and they recommended eating around 80 g of protein a day as a goal.  On days when I wasn’t active, I found I was happy eating under this but on days I was very active, I ate WAY more than that.  I’m not a dietician but I think it’s good to keep your protein intake in mind when packing lunches and snacks for active days.

Clothes

Activewear really becomes an issue if when you’re hitting your last stages of pregnancy over the winter.  Here is how I handled it:

  • Borrow, borrow, borrow.  A good friend loaned me some fantastic Mountain Mama maternity clothes which I loved.  I also snagged a pair of my dad’s long john’s.
  • Buy select pieces. In particular I’d recommend the Make My Belly Fit panel which allowed me to wear my technical jackets.
  • Improvise.  Cold bum while snowshoeing because your jacket doesn’t go down far enough? Wrap a fleece scarf around yourself to make a faux skirt :)

Hope this helps someone out! If you’d like to read other blogs about staying active during pregnancy I’d recommend the three below.

If anyone has any other tips or good sites I’d loves to hear!

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2 Comments

  1. Chantelle

     /  July 11, 2015

    Hi! I just found your blog and am loving it, I am also super active outdoorsy and was a bit curious at what I could couldn’t do – I normally mountain bike, trail run & mountaineer (I’m from Edmonton, hi!) and was curious about the bumpiness of mtn biking & the harness implications in mtneering. Also, you mentioned not wearing the waist belt of your pack, was that preference or is it contraindicated? Not assuming you’re a doctor, just looking for an outdoorsy opinion. Thanks!!!

    Reply
    • Hi Chantelle!

      Sorry for the late reply … vacation :) Glad you found the blog and liked it! I biked during my first and second trimester and mostly stuck to paved trails or gentle dirt trails. It was winter by my third trimester so that ended biking. As for harnesses, once your belly pops out enough, it’s probably best to switch to a full body harness. Whenever I hiked, my husband was more than happy to carry a bigger backpack so I could hike without one. I found that the extra weight slowed me down more than usual but that was the main reason I went without. The waist belt shouldn’t be an issue as long as you can clip it beneath your belly.

      Thank for reading and I hope this answered your questions!

      Reply

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