UKC

NEW ARTICLE: Climbing When Pregnant - A Personal Experience

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 UKC Articles 04 Sep 2009
[Sport climbing in Thailand @ 12 weeks, 2 kb]UKC User Heike has recently had quite an adventure... Was it a big sea cliff? A mixed route on the Ben? Multi Pitch Sport? Well... not quite... She's had a baby! (Congratulations from the UKC Team!).

Not only has she given birth to a new belayer, Heike has also penned an article sharing her experiences of climbing while pregnant. So if you were wondering what it feels like to climb with a bump - read on.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/articles/page.php?id=2080

 SonyaD 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: Congrats again! And great article and pics.
 fimm 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Indeed, great article! (And one to point the man who always turns up on the "climbing while pregnant" threads to say that it is far too dangerous and you must stop at once at.)
I love the "climbing is so tiring" picture.
 fimm 04 Sep 2009
Oh, and congratulations!
 prawn 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

great article and congratulations! Oh and fantastic pics.... specially the cute one with baby at the crag!
 muppetfilter 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: I would be interested in how you justified the risk to your unborn child, i remember the articles at the time of Alsion Hargreaves climbing and the attitudes taken to her as a mother and her responsibilities.
1
In reply to muppetfilter: What risk? Do you have the franchise to sell bubblewrap or something?
 ClimberEd 04 Sep 2009
In reply to muppetfilter:

Justified the risk to who? You sound very sanctimonious. It's her choice and she doesn't have to justify it anyone, except perhaps the father.
 winhill 04 Sep 2009
In reply to ClimberEd:
> (In reply to muppetfilter)
>
> Justified the risk to who? You sound very sanctimonious. It's her choice and she doesn't have to justify it anyone, except perhaps the father.

What about when she starts the school run?
 muppetfilter 04 Sep 2009
In reply to ClimberEd: Not sanctimonious Ed, In a sport so full of choice and decisions of personal safety and the safety of your climbing partner. Both willing participants i hasten to add. I was interested how you would deal with making choices for a foetus that can be harmed. Climbing isnt totally safe after all you know.
In reply to ClimberEd:
and the baby....

Interesting my wife took exactly the opposite view . On finding out she was pregnant she stopped climbing all together, deciding that it was just not worth the risk and that she now had a " little " person to take care of.

At the time I found it deeply frustrating, with time I now understood where she was coming from.

Each to their own....
 ClimberEd 04 Sep 2009
In reply to neilh:

You don't have to justify it to the baby, the baby isn't born yet...
In reply to ClimberEd:
I think you are missing something..alright ..the unborn baby ..does that keep you happy..
 Toby S 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article. A great example to all would be mothers and parents. It just goes to show that climbing doesn't have to stop when kids arrive. And to those wandering about the risk, think upon all those mums who insist on drinking, smoking and taking drugs throughout their pregnancy... those are the ones I'd be concerned about.
 AlisonS 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Good article.

Re risk. If you are an experienced climber you get so used to managing risk that you can pitch the level to keep risk to a minimum within your personal threshold. For some women the need for controlled excercise during pregnancy is overwhelming and its better to stick to an activity your body is used to doing than trying to take up a new one. Climbing can be highly controlled if you want it to be and the movements are smooth and predictable.
Far more traumatic are more "normal" things like travelling in the city in the rush hour.
In reply to UKC Articles: 'a very stretchy climbing top'

I think I could use one of those now, and I'm male.......AND not pregnant (incase anyone was wondering)
 Nick_Scots 04 Sep 2009
So what about the risk the 700 Manchester parents took not using seatbelts with their kids ?

Nick

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1134514_parents_put_kids_at_risk_over_seatbelts
cathoshea 04 Sep 2009
Hi Heike

I really enjoyed reading your informative and humorous article. Thanks for taking the time to record your experiences. It's inspiring to see that the possibility exists to keep climbing and hill walking during pregnancy and beyond. : )
 karinbradbury 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: Definitely each to her own. I remember being pregnant with my eldest (now 14...) and asking my gp what I could still do. He was a climber and skier, and said 'If you feel comfortable doing it, do it.' Now I didn't climb much at that point, so I stopped when the harness wouldn't comfortably do up, but I am a skier, and skied when 5 months pregnant. I was perfectly happy with my skiing, but we avoided busy areas because I was worried about other people colliding with me. The bit that really got me was it being so hard to walk up hills (we lived in The Lakes)- we went on one walk with friends, the dads led with the kids on their shoulders, I followed with my bump, and my rather large friend brought up the rear. I remember thinking 'If she finds it this hard to walk up hills all the time, no wonder she hates it!' I stopped doing stuff when I wasn't comfortable with it any more; it's your body, you know what feels right, and if it doesn't feel right you don't enjoy it, so you stop. The downside to all this fitness was that tight muscles didn't make the birth very easy!
 Wonrek 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: Fantastic article Heike and what a refreshing change to hear of parents that realise life doesn't end once there's a wee one on the way. I climbed throughout my pregnancy as well (although nothing as grand as you!) and as you say it's about managing and minimising the risks. Continuing climbing was something my partner and I both agreed on and as he is my main climbing partner we both knew what we were doing and had a concensus that we were doing the right thing for us as a family.

My small person is now 2.5 and the challenge is getting out to climb which we do thanks to good friends who share their children and childminding abilities with us.

Cx
 csw 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article - thanx for sharing - and congratulations
 Babika 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

An inspirational article Heike!

And I love your sport climbing in Thailand photo - what a great montage you'll have to share. My son is always fascinated by routes that we did "together".

But I wish I'd thought of the chest harness. I asked my consultant whether pulling the waist harness around me would be damaging at all and he nearly had a heart attack on the spot. His next response was "what does your sports governing body say?"


Bet the BMC haven't been asked that one yet.
kamon 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Far too sensible comments and discussion here.

Now for what all the Beavis and Butthead males like me are thinking...

.... BJ?!

Snigger snigger
 flaneur 04 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Great article Heike, thank you very much.
 Wee Davie 05 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Congrats Heike! Ignore the doomsayers. Their armchairs are too comfy to leave!
In reply to UKC Articles: A good read Heike, well done in both senses!

I think the full body harness sounds a good idea - I've climbed with two pregnant friends in the last few years and both had uncomfortable moments holding people whilst belaying in a normal harnesses with the weight of the belayed person being pulled up through the belay device/loop and pushing against "lump".

Me and my five year old are about to head out climbing. My three year old is staying home though because he told me climbing is "boring".
 Tris 05 Sep 2009
In reply to TobyA:
> My three year old is staying home though because he told me climbing is "boring".

Brilliant

 loz01 05 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Sorry to 'hijack' but where is Carn Gorag? It looks great in the pics, but i can only find a Carn Goraig in the database which is described as sandstone, which doesn't add up?

P.S. Great article and congrats to Heike.

Cheers, Loz.
 nikinko 05 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Congratulations! Hope you're all well (sounds like it from your writing) and nice one on the article sharing your experiences.

Nikki
 hwackerhage 06 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Congratulations Heike. Good luck with pushing the pram to Beinn a Bhuird this winter!
 climberuk 07 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Has the wean got its logbook up on UKC yet?
 Zygoticgema 07 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: What a fantastic article. I loved it and it gives me hope that have kiddies won't mean the end of my climbing career.
In reply to UKC Articles:
Congratulations Heike.

To those talking about risks - you can't eliminate risk, just manage it and decide what level is acceptable to you. There's risk in all activities, and there's also serious risk in inactivity. Driving to get the shopping's a fairly big risk, but people don't seem to get criticised for daring to do it while pregnant.
It can only be up to the parents to decide what they're happy with; it seems odd to see climbers, of all people, suggesting otherwise.
Derek Ashford 07 Sep 2009
Hi Heike,
Enjoyed your article. My partner Joce also climbed throughout when pregnant with both our sons. In fact with the first 'Ben' she was climbing 6a+ overhangs at Warrington Wall 3 hours before going into labour. We had joking asked the team there if we would get free sessions if her water broke whilst climbing. Joce never had any problems at any poiont she also used a full body harness and she stopped lead climbing later towards the later months. We also meet Gary Gibson whilst he was setting up some new routes at Harper Hill and he kindly named a bunch of routes in honour of Joces condition and commitment. Harper Hill - The Santurary Area.
1. By Caesarian (5),
2. New Arrivals (6a),
3. Expecting (5),
4. Induction Program(5)
6. Premature (6a)
for link and picture go to
http://www.sportsclimbs.co.uk/mainpages/peak/Harpur%20Hill%20The%20Sanctuary.htm

kind regards,

Derek
 Heike 08 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Cheers everyone for all your comments and congratulations. I hope I can continue climbing to a fairly high level - although I am currently definitely having a bit of a heavy gravity phase

The little one is doing great and has very long strong fingers - must be a good sign.

loz1, It's Carn Goraig, sorry, I spelt it wrong - it is in the NW Highlands near Loch Tollaidh and it's Gneiss - great place, very quiet - 6km on the bike, followed by a quick, but wet approach across a river and bog! Check out the the new SMC guide for info.
Etak 08 Sep 2009
In reply to Heike: looks like you got more done pregnant that most folks get done at all!! - how you finding getting back to climbing post baby? had my baby in April - not done much climbing since more to do with weather / distracted by lots of running and the logisitics of climbing with the baby - all ready trying to put together complex plans involving variouse parents and some scottish mountains - i think a Hymilaian expedition might take less organisation
 Twisty 08 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

I climb with a bump every weekend.... a different kind of bump though! :-p

Infact- just thinking of climbing gives me a bump...
In reply to UKC Articles:

Heike,

I really admire you.

"Lynda, you think I'm selfish going away, leaving the boys, I know this woman who climbed right up to her baby was born!"

Stuart
 simes303 08 Sep 2009
You called your baby "BJ"?!!
 Chad123 14 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles:

Hi Heike,

Excellent article - very impressive, especially getting up Shibboleth so late on in pregnancy! Great route huh? Which holidays will we both be going on this year? We seem to go to the same places most years....

Have another favour to ask, a good friend of mine called Jo who came to Sicily and is on most of my trips is 7 months pregnant and also enjoyed your article. She was wondering if she could borrow or rent your full body harness or if you could give her some tips on where to get one as she hasn't managed to get one and wants to keep climbing for the next few months.

Cheers,

Chad
 Heike 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Chad123:

Hi Chad,
no problem at all. She is welcome to borrow the harness anytime. Mail me.

Cheers,

Heike
 The Pylon King 14 Sep 2009
In reply to fimm:
> (In reply to UKC Articles)
>
> Indeed, great article! (And one to point the man who always turns up on the "climbing while pregnant" threads to say that it is far too dangerous and you must stop at once at.)


Bollox

If you get the permission from the unborn child to climb then its fine. If not, you are being a selfish tw*t.
1
loopyone 14 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: I suppose it's each to their own i suppose what women have to think about is are the risks of climbing while pregnant worth it to keep climbing. I know i would have found it hard to forgive my wife (and she never would have forgiven herself) if she'd fallen while climbing and lost or damaged the baby. We decided the risks just weren't worth it. I think thats the question all women should ask before climbing while pregnant - Am i prepared to lose this baby just to carry on climbing -
 Tall Clare 14 Sep 2009
In reply to The Pylon King:

You never answered the question on other threads about whether you elected to stop climbing for the duration of your wife's pregnancy, out of respect for her, and whether you've since curtailed your climbing activity in order to reduce the risk of your child ending up fatherless...?

 Erik B 14 Sep 2009
In reply to UKC Articles: well done Heike! A long remote grade VI and 8 weeks pregnant, now that is impressive! only a small percentage of climbing men do that, let alone women or pregnant women!

for someone of your ability and experience continuing winter climbing is no more risky than sitting in the car on the long drive home, so well done. when i was in my mums womb I was taken hill walking and skiing and to excellent places, when I was born this continued and for that I will always be grateful.
 Heike 14 Sep 2009
In reply to Erik B:
Cheers, I hope the wee man grows up to enjoy the outdoors, too. Like your parents mine have taken me hillwalking in the Alps from an early age - and it's been great!

Hope I can get some good winter routes in this season, too!
 Chris F 17 Sep 2009
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
>
> You never answered the question on other threads about whether you elected to stop climbing for the duration of your wife's pregnancy, out of respect for her, and whether you've since curtailed your climbing activity in order to reduce the risk of your child ending up fatherless...?

Bit of Deja vu here Clare?

 Tall Clare 17 Sep 2009
In reply to Chris F:

hence the 'you never answered the question on other threads'
 Chris F 17 Sep 2009
In reply to Tall Clare: Indeed.
 Scomuir 17 Sep 2009
In reply to The Pylon King:

I don't believe that you can get the permission to do anything from an unborn child, whether that be to go climbing, drive a car, get in a plane, cross the road when the lights aren't red, etc, etc. I take it the mother of your child didn't leave the house when she was pregnant?
 muppetfilter 17 Sep 2009
In reply to Scomuir: There is a terrible amount of grief and self blame a miscarriage brings, just imagine for one second how devastated you would feel if you suffered such a loss after doing something reckless?
 Tall Clare 17 Sep 2009
In reply to muppetfilter:

Best stay at home with your feet up, I reckon. With your equally committed and selfless husband staying at home by your side.
 Scomuir 17 Sep 2009
In reply to muppetfilter:

I am not disputing that for one second. What I was challenging was where the line is drawn between what one person defines as "reckless", as you put it, and another doesn't. Some normal socially accepted activities, such as those I mention (driving/flying) could be viewed as "reckless" given that the chances of having an accident are more likely taking part in them than not. It's where you draw the line. Someone lowering there grade to well within their limits, and possibly only seconding minimises the risk.

 Monk 17 Sep 2009
In reply to muppetfilter:

> (In reply to Scomuir) There is a terrible amount of grief and self blame a miscarriage brings, just imagine for one second how devastated you would feel if you suffered such a loss after doing something reckless?

But what constitutes reckless? For example, an E1 leader pottering up VDiffs is like going for a walk for most people. Being in a car crash, wearing a seatbelt, will cause far more trauma than you will expereince in an average climbing fall, yet women aren't advised not to drive anywhere. My other half did lay off the climbing after about 12 weeks (severe 'morning' sickness had a lot to do with it though - she would have climbed longer otherwise), but we had the odd session top-roping in a full body harness on very easy climbs until she was 7 months pregnant, as the lack of activity was driving her mad.

I think you have a valid point that should perhaps be considered by a pregnant woman as she makes her decisions, but I think a woman has the absolute right to do as she sees fit.
 tlm 17 Sep 2009
In reply to The Pylon King:

> If you get the permission from the unborn child to climb then its fine. If not, you are being a selfish tw*t.

Do you also need to ask your unborn child if it is OK to slob about on the sofa?

You have to make all sorts of decisions in your life when pregnant, and decisions about how you bring up a child once you have them, and it wouldn't really work getting a child to make all of those decisions for you, would it? Especially before they can talk!

By getting out and excercising, you are caring for the vessel which is carrying your baby...



 tlm 17 Sep 2009
In reply to Scomuir:
> (In reply to The Pylon King)
>
> I take it the mother of your child didn't leave the house when she was pregnant?

Did she check with the unborn child that it was OK to not leave the house though? After all, most accidents happen in the home.


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