Belaying while Pregnant

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ClimbingMama
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Belaying while Pregnant

Post by ClimbingMama » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:50 pm

Hi,

My husband and I have been climbing for the past three years or so. We just found out we're pregnant! (I'm currently at 5 weeks). I've read lots of articles online that say I can climb pretty much as long as I still want to - just top rope instead of lead and don't try difficult stuff. That suits me fine since that's what I like anyway. What I can't find anywhere is when do I need to stop lead belaying? Ladies with kids - when did you stop catching falls?

My husband likes to try hard and he falls a lot. We went out last weekend and I was super nervous about catching him - I don't know if that's rational fear or irrational paranoia. We usually just climb together without anyone else so I'm thinking maybe we need to make some climbing friends so he can have someone else belay him.

Anyway, I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by Ascentionist » Sun Aug 23, 2015 9:17 pm

I'm pretty sure my wife stopped all roped activities when we found out, though it was a local KY dr and I'd guess they were erring on the side of caution when they told her no climbing/rappelling, etc.

My inexpert opinion would be don't take a chance with lead belaying. Or have your husband rein it in and not fall as much. I wouldn't think top roping would hurt as long as you were mindful of routes and the situations you were outting yourself into.

Again, I have no authority/expertise/much experience with this. But as a long time climber it just seems like the forces on your body generated while top roping and lowering are far less than lead falling and belaying.

And the right answer is: if you're not sure don't take a chance.

Better to take a few months off than to have something bad happen. I'm no fear monger, but its the life of your child. Maintain perspective.
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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by veela-valoom » Mon Aug 24, 2015 9:29 am

Have you read any of Beth Rodden's blog? She had a whole series about climbing while pregnant. I know nothing about it from personal experience but saw the blog around and thought it might have some information for you http://blog.bethrodden.com/.

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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by chandler » Mon Aug 24, 2015 11:24 am

Some friends shared a wall with a very pregnant belayer a few years ago. Looking pale and exhausted, the belayer began stating she felt light headed. My friends yelled at the climber to go direct into a bolt while they swapped out belays. She sat in the shade sipping water for a while before feeling well enough to stand again. So, if feeling less than 100%, maybe belay with others around and use an autolocking device?

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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by ClimbingMama » Wed Aug 26, 2015 9:00 am

I read Beth's blog and actually contacted her about this first. She stopped belaying at 5 months - but even before her husband was climbing easy stuff where he couldn't fall. I think I'm just going to give up belaying right now - I'm sure we can find other people at the gym who might want to climb and with the current heat/humidity I"m done after 2 pitches anyways! I just know there's a lot of other climbing mama's out there and thought they might have some experience with this.

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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by Foster » Thu Sep 24, 2015 3:03 pm

My wife and I just had our first child 4 months ago

When she was pregnant, I just toned it down. You are technically supposed to completely stop lead-climbing and lead-belaying, but we rolled the dice. I didn't lead-climb anything where I thought I might fall, and I didn't push myself into any situations/movements where I was uncertain of the outcome. If I wanted to try harder routes I would either find a different belayer (i.e. friend at the gym) or I would top-rope. Top-rope falls are safer for the expecting ladies. My wife also wore a pregnancy harness from about week 20 onwards, which is important whether you lead or top-rope. Once you start showing, you really should be wearing one.

She stopped leading almost immediately after we found out (about week 7) but continued to top-rope well into the 3rd trimester. She was able to push herself just like before until the middle of the 2nd trimester (about week 18) after which she would slowly take it more and more easy as the weeks progressed. She finally stopped climbing altogether around Week 36 because it was a little too tiring to be enjoyable, and because her belly had gotten so big that it just wasn't fun for her anymore.

But I think it's great that we were still able to climb to Week 36 and neither of us is a superstar. We both climbed a lot pre-pregnancy, mostly about 5.11 with occasional forays into harder ground. During pregnancy, I would do a lot of volume on easier routes, and when I felt like trying something harder, I'd find a friend. If no one was around, I would just top-rope a harder climb. Even then, I would select a route with a maximum failure possibility of 1-2 takes, not some hangdog disaster that was way out of my league. I was also perfectly happy to just do the volume on easier routes, it gave me a good workout and it wasn't like "sending hard" was as important as keeping baby safe. I was just happy to still be climbing!

So, if you are feeling okay physically, you can safely belay pretty far into pregnancy, but this is just one couples experience, at the very least I hope it helps give you some guidelines.

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Re: Belaying while Pregnant

Post by Josephine » Wed Oct 28, 2015 7:52 pm

Thanks everyone - now that I'm out of the first trimester I can come out of the closet so to speak :-)

Just in case others google this thread - I stopped belaying at 5 weeks and I also stopped leading. I switched to a full body harness around 13 weeks since I was showing. I borrowed a Petzl A2 - but it'll probably be too small for me soon. Even though it's "fully adjustable" the leg loops only get so big. Apparently a curvy woman with thighs was not their intended user of this harness! So if anyone has one they'd be willing to sell/loan me, please message me! :-D
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