Walking the line of pregnancy and fitness (Guest post)

I am super excited to run our very first guest post, written by my good friend Alice. I invited Alice to write this post because my own exercising tastes run far more mainstream (I heart pre-natal Yoga) and this is a very important topic for pregnancy. So without further ado, take it away Alice…

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Everyone will tell you that exercise during pregnancy is great! Wonderful! Essential! Walking, swimming, and prenatal yoga are the best! But if you're pregnant and want to get exercise in a less orthodox way, it can be difficult to sort the fear mongering from the science. Before I got pregnant I lifted weights, played ultimate frisbee, biked, and went rock climbing. I didn't want to stop all of those activities as soon as I got a positive pregnancy test. Since the scientific research is minimal to nonexistent, I relied largely on other people's stories and on listening to my body to decide what was safe. (I, of course, discussed all of this with my doctor and got her OK. My pregnancy was low risk and I picked a data oriented doctor who is on the relaxed end of the spectrum.)

According to my doctor, contact sports are a risk after the first trimester. She explained that since the uterus moves up out of the pelvis at that point, serious impact trauma can harm the fetus. Because of this, I didn’t play Frisbee after 12 weeks, though I know some women who played in low key games all the way through their pregnancies. Some ab exercises are likely to be a problem. Everything else, however, still seems to be up for debate.

Surprisingly, the exercise that I found most comfortable and kept up most consistently during my pregnancy was climbing. People hear climbing and think of mount Everest, which is far cry from what I do, pregnant or not. The place I went was my local friendly climbing gym, complete with comfy plastic holds, a readily accessible bathroom, and even the occasional other pregnant lady to commiserate with. Top roping with a pregnancy harness from Mountain Mama felt safe and (relatively) comfortable into week 39, and I trusted my partner to give me a tight belay, so I wouldn't have any big falls.

So maybe heights aren't your thing, but if crossfit or archery or tennis are - don't let anyone's knee jerk reaction keep you from doing what you love. And, of course, take everything you read with a grain of salt. In searching for rock climbing resources I found several sites that told me to avoid climbing stairs while pregnant. I’m curious what those people would suggest to those of us whose apartments are on the second floor. It's pretty hard to get more fear mongering and less practical than that!

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Alice is a software engineer, mom, and obsessive gym climber. She lives in Boston with her husband and son, in a small apartment increasingly overflowing with toddler paraphernalia. To talk about sports and pregnancy, or to chat about the local climbing scene, find her at alice@acrossb.com.
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