/ ARTICLE: Climbing for Two - Pregnancy and Climbing

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UKC Articles - on 23 Nov 2016
At the wall - 3rd trimester, 3 kbDr Keri Wallace sheds some light on a rarely discussed topic - climbing during pregnancy.

When it came to climbing in pregnancy, I felt pretty ludicrous standing at the base of the crag in a full body harness, awkwardly trying to tie the laces of my rock shoes - which I couldn't actually see. I had expected criticism from onlookers who might disapprove, but in the end I found that comments generally fell into two categories; either 'get down from there immediately young lady' (thanks mum), or 'you're only pregnant not ILL, so get on with it' (thanks husband)! In reality the truth is somewhere in between.



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iccle_bully - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Brilliant to see a balanced, non knee jerk reaction article on this subject that has a bit of reading behind it and is written by someone who has been there. Thanks.
nutme - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

How's falling when you are pregnant? I would imagine it to be a major barrier on performance, am I wrong?
Hardonicus - on 23 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

The climbing career is over anyway once the bloody nipper pops out...
In reply to nutme:

Have you read the article? The following line answers your question quite succinctly:

"It is a personal decision which type of climbing you do when pregnant, but it is worth considering the different levels of risk involved, the likelihood of falling and how to mitigate this. The shearing forces from taking or belaying a big fall in the second or third trimester could, in theory, rip the developing placenta from the wall of the uterus (placental abruption) and in a worst case scenario result in miscarriage"
heleno - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

The challenges of climbing while pregnant are nothing compared to the challenges of climbing with young children. Go for it (within reason) while you still can!

I climbed up to about 5 months in both my pregnancies, and like to think that an in utero ascent of Dream of White Horses is what made my (now adult) son a very committed and strong climber.
deacondeacon - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Hardonicus:

> The climbing career is over anyway once the bloody nipper pops out...

Well if you let it yes. But it certainly doesn't have to.
sheffbabe - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article!

I climbed up to about 6 months into both my pregnancies and took a similar approach to Keri - i.e. only seconded, used a full body harness and bouldered only what I could climb down

Something not mentioned in the article is the production of the hormone Relaxin, whch occurs during and after pregnancy. This results in a range of physical changes - the most important of which for climbing is the softening of ligaments. From personal experience, I become more bendy in wrists, elbow, hips, knees, ankles etc - which was sometimes useful on a climb! However I did find I had to tape my wrists to prevent hyper-extension - and for a good 6 months after childbirth

Also, morning sickness is something else to contend with - I had it quite bad in both pregnancies, but found I could climb during the times I wasn't feeling sick, as long as my heart rate was not raised. As soon as this happened, I began to feel sick again. In fact I did chuck up at Froggatt after seconding a strenuous crack!
greg_may_ - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Excellent piece, thanks for that. Passed it on to a few friends.
kdr001 - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Why, other than an unfortunate attitude to women, would you dislike this article?
ChrisBrooke - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Suicide Wall is hard enough. Kudos for seconding it pregnant!!
nutme - on 24 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
> Have you read the article? The following line answers your question quite succinctly:

I did. But was curios not of the question to fall or not to fall, but the effect of fall.
I remember climbing after I had both arms broken at same time. It took me quite a few months to convince myself to assist with arms on falls again. My subconsciousness would rather have me hit the rock with a stupid head!

So I am curious how body behaves when you have a baby inside during the fall.
Post edited at 23:16
jsmcfarland - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:

Find it quite odd that people are generally disliking the thread..
Irk the Purist - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to kdr001:

I haven't disliked it, but for some pregnancy is an incredibly difficult time, either emotionally or physically or both.

There is a lot of stuff in the article about how you should stay active as it's better for baby. It's written by someone who has clearly found pregnancy a doddle (good for them) and is saying go for it. Someone finding pregnancy a little harder than the author may find that a bit hard to stomach.

It's not deliberate but articles like this can be guilty of making some women think they're failing at being pregnant for not being out there, running and climbing and being carefree and glowing. They aren't, they're just different.

I'd suggest that if such a person had read it, they might exercise the dislike button because it's quicker than writing all that.

Or it could be someone thinking, for goodness sake I lost my baby in the 2nd trimester, why the hell would you risk that? But didn't feel like sharing that with the world?

Anything really.

My thoughts were that it's a well written piece but the scientific evidence came across as weak.




Alun - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Irk the Purist:
> It's not deliberate but articles like this can be guilty of making some women think they're failing at being pregnant for not being out there, running and climbing and being carefree and glowing. They aren't, they're just different.
> ...
> Or it could be someone thinking, for goodness sake I lost my baby in the 2nd trimester, why the hell would you risk that? But didn't feel like sharing that with the world?

Thank you for expressing what I've been trying to put into words myself since reading this article (and having read previous discussions on UKC and elsewhere on the topic).


Keri - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Irk the Purist:

Hi there, as the author of this piece I just wanted to respond here and say that it was not my intention to make anyone feel guilty or that they are failing! Apologies if this has been the case. I certainly did NOT find either of my pregnancies a doddle (and in fact also suffered a traumatic miscarriage at `12 weeks with my very first pregnancy). I wanted to find a cause to blame for this outcome, but was informed by several medical professionals that exercise is not generally considered to be a risk-factor for miscarriage and that, on the contrary, a great deal of scientific evidence supports the beneficial effect of exercise on pregnancy (for mum and baby).

Climbing in pregnancy is certainly not for everyone, nor should it be, and this article is not a 'recommendation' or a 'prescription'! Some will feel far too sick to climb and others may lose their climbing mojo altogether. In fact, there is likely to be a wide range of reasons that a pregnant woman might not want to continue climbing, and that is of course fine (and these decisions should be respected). Once I fell pregnant again, after my miscarriage, I did absolutely no exercise until after my 12 week scan (despite the doctors' reassurances). Only after this time did I feel confident to start exercising again. Decisions like this are highly personal and people will (and should) vary greatly in what feels appropriate to them.

However, if a woman feels up to climbing (and many do), then this article will, I hope, provide some guidance. When I first got pregnant, I found it difficult to find relevant and useful information about exercising in pregnancy - particularly with regards climbing. All the 'science' here is based on published scientific papers, rather than my opinion per se.

Cheers, Keri

Irk the Purist - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Keri:

Hi Keri. Sorry to hear of your experience.

Of course pregnancy is personal and the article was clearly about your experience of climbing in pregnancy. Nothing wrong with that at all.

I was merely trying to explain why some people may have pushed dislike without being woman haters, as was suggested.

I've clearly not managed it in a non confrontational way, but such is life!



Irk the Purist - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Keri:

I wanted this to be separate to my other post.

Do you feel the science is settled, or that you found some papers that agreed with you enough to put in the article?

My feeling is that there is woefully little climbing specific evidence either way. Certainly not enough evidence to make a case for the safety of climbing and to encourage others to do so.

Irk the Purist - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Alun:

Well thanks for the thanks, at least one person agrees with me!
Andy Hardy on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to sheffbabe:

Pretty sure relaxin gets a namecheck in the article, along with a warning about it's effects possibly leading to increased chances of sprains etc - although you could just as easy turn an ankle walking to the shops!
astley007 - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to Rob Greenwood - UKClimbing:
Hi Rob and nutme:
I did some research about 3yrs ago, which I presented at the BMC injury symposium 2yrs ago on impact forces during pregnancy and trying to relate it to falling( and placental abuption)
It is very complicated, and I compared impact forces the best I could to well established data used every day..car seat belt impact data.
In a nutshell
5* NCAP car (Mini) at 30mph ...2.4Kn impact force
using data as similar as possibel
10m of rope out 4m fall impact force approx 2.4Kn*
The point I was trying to make, was that you speak to most midwife/obs Dr, is that they will tell you not to climb as it is dangerous, but wont tell you not to be in a moving car during pregancy.

* disclaimer, lots of variables to be taken into account!!!
Hope this helps to muddy the unbroken waters??
Cheers
Nick
ps happy to discuss further if required
Heike - on 25 Nov 2016
In reply to UKC Articles:
Hi, I wrote an article on this subject a few years ago on ukc (i.e. 7 years - when my son was born) and I completely agree with your comments and analysis. I have also since been interviewed by various people (lots of them people not necessarily from climbing but other areas were they are feeling that women and sports in pregnancy are highly criticised. Frankly, I think, there are so many people who would like to prevent pregnant women from doing all sorts. Women are so aware of what they are doing when they are pregnant, i.e. they KNOW they are pregnant and what it involves and they are the best to look after their unborn children, but that does not mean you have to hide away in a cupboard. Sports are part and parcel of good health, particularly of feeling good and being in shape for birth and looking after kids.
I really endorse and like your article.
Best wishes
Heike
PS I climbed til two weeks before birth with modifications of course and have climbed lots since. Son, now age 7 did 6a+ last week at the wall and seems generally to be fine ;-)
Post edited at 23:31
Shortarse.Crowley - on 28 Nov 2016
In reply to nutme:

Never lead and always make sure there's no slack rope. Therefore if you do fall you only bounce on the rope. I climbed well into my third trimester. It's nice to see a write up on this topic
sheffbabe - on 21:55 Mon
In reply to Andy Hardy:

Whoops yes it was mentioned.
I agree - easy to twist an ankle etc - in fact I had to tape my wrists in the end for day to day tasks - lifting a full kettle for example!



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Lemony - on 22:15 Mon
In reply to UKC Articles:
I've only skim read the article so sorry if it's referenced but I thought Katie from Eden Rock wrote a very balanced blog post on the challenges and benefits of climbing whilst (and post) carrying:
http://www.betaclimbingdesigns.com/news/2016-01-07---katie-mundy-before-and-after.html
Post edited at 22:17

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