Once a woman becomes pregnant, she often thinks she has to stop bouldering or rock climbing in general until she has given birth and recovered from the birth. However, this isn’t really the case. It is possible to go for bouldering while pregnant, though there are some things to watch out for. Depending on the risks they are taking, some women boulder throughout the entire pregnancy. Many of these women have done their research in advance, though, so they’re able to have the safest climb possible. To now about bouldering for toddler, check out this article.
What do you think about bouldering while pregnant? There is a difference between bouldering and top rope climbing – if you fall while bouldering, you will slam into the mat, which will cause more problems for your unborn foetus than hanging from a rope. Generally, high impact exercise in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage, so if you’re going bouldering, focus on technique while climbing with low intensity. When in doubt, climb down and don’t take any chances.
Bouncing is usually okay during the first trimester, but falling is still a cause for concern. Because there is less risk of falling, it is recommended that you climb easier routes and lower grades. During the first 10-12 weeks of pregnancy, some women stop bouldering entirely because they are at risk of falling and injuring the unborn baby. While many women choose to continue bouldering during pregnancy, this is against scientific advice, so it really depends on how comfortable you feel about being on a bouldering wall as you progress through your pregnancy.
While considering the safety of the fetus is important, we should also mention that pregnancy may cause shortness of breath, nausea, loose joints, and other physical symptoms to a woman’s body, which could affect how she climbs and cause her to fall more often than normal.
For additional information on bouldering and rock climbing when pregnant, continue reading.
Risks of Falling While Pregnant
A fall while pregnant can cause miscarriage, so it is very important that you take all the necessary precautions before you climb. Depending on what stage of pregnancy you are, you are more likely to miscarry if you fall. Additionally, it depends on the amount of trauma you have caused to your unborn child. Your baby may not even be affected by falling from a height of 2 meters onto a spongy mat.
Women’s bodies are actually designed to withstand some impact to their uterus when pregnant. In some cases, there can be a miscarriage or stillbirth as a result of certain circumstances.
During the First Trimester
The chances of a miscarriage due to falling are reduced during the first trimester. For this reason, pregnant women tend to climb for the first 10-12 weeks without too much concern. First trimester is when the uterus is relatively low and protected by the pelvic bones. As a result, if a fall occurs during this time, the uterus and embryo are unlikely to be damaged unless the trauma is quite large. If your uterus collides with a large climbing hold at a high speed, a miscarriage may result.
Second and third trimesters
During the second and third trimester, miscarriages are more likely to occur due to falling. During pregnancy, if you were to fall off a bouldering wall, the risk of harming your baby increases with every week. The uterus grows noticeably larger over time after the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, which increases the risk of trauma to the fetus or placenta from falling. Damaged placentas may prevent the baby from receiving useful nutrients, resulting in miscarriage.
When bouldering after the first trimester, there is more risk of injury due to falls, but the foetus is still well protected by the amniotic sac and other parts of the mother’s body. A baby’s amniotic sac protects them against shock caused by a fall. Apart from amniotic fluid, muscles, fat, bones, etc., are also involved in protecting the baby.
As you climb during pregnancy, you release a hormone called relaxin, which can make you feel a bit wobbly and unstable. This obviously affects your climbing ability and increases your chances of falling. The purpose of relaxin, although it has its negative effects as mentioned above, is to loosen your pelvic muscles and joints to prepare your body to grow the baby and to help you deliver it when the time comes.
If you do fall off the climbing wall and feel like you may have fallen quite hard or affected your baby, it is advised you see a doctor or midwife as soon as possible so they can assess if there has been any damage caused.
Does Science Say Anything About Climbing and Exercise When Pregnant?
According to some scientific studies, we intend to provide you with an understanding of whether or not you should boulder during pregnancy. At the end, we will summarize each study and explain how it all relates.
During pregnancy, contact sports and sports associated with a risk of falling should be avoided
A study published in 2012 revealed that aerobic and strength-training exercises are beneficial during pregnancy and after childbirth. Nevertheless, it goes on to state, “it is prudent to adjust exercise regimes as needed to avoid potential harm.”. Sports related to contact should be avoided, as well as sports that pose a fall risk.”. This obviously casts bouldering in a bad light during pregnancy.
In spite of the fact that many women practice bouldering, the study suggests they shouldn’t. Since you will be attached to ropes while top-roping or lead climbing, it is less likely for you to fall and according to climber Beth Rodden, who climbed throughout her pregnancy, the Petzl 8003 full body harness can be worn 18 weeks into the pregnancy.
A variety of aerobic exercise can be recommended during pregnancy, according to the study. Exercises such as fast walking and stationary cycling are among the suggestions. Climbing and swimming are both great full body workouts that work similar muscles. However, you will need to keep your finger strength up if you wish to return to bouldering after pregnancy.
The growth of a fetus doesn’t seem to be affected by climbing
A study published in 1997 investigated the effects of standing, lifting, climbing, and working long hours on fetal growth. According to the study, climbing does not affect fetal growth, which is obviously a plus for pregnant women who want to continue bouldering.
In addition, the study continues by stating that working long hours reduces fetal growth. Think about cutting your work hours down to part-time if you’re trying to keep your baby healthy. This is particularly true if you have a physically demanding job.
Exercises with high impact during early pregnancy increase the risk of miscarriage
A study published in 2007 examined whether leisure time physical exercise during pregnancy may increase the risk of miscarriage in more than 92000 pregnant women in Denmark throughout the period of six years.
An increased risk of miscarriage was found to be associated with high-impact exercise, 7 hours or more per week in early pregnancy. Up through 18 weeks is considered early pregnancy. There was no association between general exercise and miscarriage after 18 weeks of gestation.
Bouldering during early pregnancy should only be done with low intensity or you increase the risk of miscarriage.
Preeclampsia can be prevented by regular physical activity during pregnancy
A study published in 2003 found that women who exercised regularly during early pregnancy had a 35% reduced risk of preeclampsia compared with inactive women. Pre-eclampsia, an occurrence during pregnancy and after the birth of the baby, causes high blood pressure and can result in severe health problems if left untreated.
According to this study, bouldering is a great way to increase your heart rate and get a full-body workout, and it may also reduce your chances of developing preeclampsia.
Gestational diabetes mellitus is less likely to develop in women who perform physical activity in their first trimester
A study published in 2011 investigated the relationship between physical activity before and after pregnancy and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). If untreated, GDM can lead to serious problems for both mother and child. It is a condition in which a pregnant woman develops diabetes-like symptoms during pregnancy.
The study of 2011 ended by concluding that higher levels of physical activity before pregnancy or during early pregnancy are associated with a significantly lower risk of developing GDM.
Thus, bouldering is a good thing to do if you are trying to reduce your risk of developing GDM.
An increase in exercise effort is particularly evident when climbing in late pregnancy
A study published in 1985 examined how exercising during pregnancy affected both the mother and the fetus. Since the foetus is quite large during late pregnancy, exercise during that period is a lot harder, such as walking or running, since there is so much additional weight.
Conclusions of Scientific Studies
For the sake of your own health and that of your unborn child, it is wise to exercise during early pregnancy. If you plan to do high impact exercise during early pregnancy, you might think about lead/top rope climbing or taking up some other form of exercise other than bouldering.
Limiting Yourself while Pregnant
You should set yourself some limits for each trimester if you decide to climb while pregnant. It depends, of course, on whether you want to climb in all three trimesters. The first trimester is the safest time for you and your baby, and as time goes on, the risks increase.
Climbing during the first trimester should be done on lower grades until you see how you feel. There’s a good chance your pregnancy won’t affect your grades or that you won’t feel like you’ll hurt your baby. Obviously, if your grades are too high, you can climb easier climbs. Ten to twelve weeks after conception, some women stop climbing to avoid harming their unborn child.
The second and third trimesters
Most women decide to limit their climbing during the second trimester. After weighing your options, if you still desire to climb, you can set a lot of boundaries that will help to reduce the risk of damage to your baby. Here are some of them:
- You should climb lower grades. By climbing lower grades, your chances of falling decrease because these climbs will be easier to handle. Unless you climb technically, you are not only capable of maintaining your form, but also improving it. Climbers with advanced skills often climb lower grades with perfect technique to improve without worrying about finishing the climb. Your joints will also be less likely to be injured thanks to pregnancy loosening them.
- Use more technique and less strength when climbing. This can result in stress for your baby if you are using more strength than technique on a climb. The rule should be followed especially during climbs that require more core strength because pregnant women have a higher risk of tearing their abdominal muscles.
- It is best to climb lead instead. While lead climbing may not be as fun and there are still risks involved, it is safer because there is less risk of falling to the ground. Most harnesses used for lead climbing are not suitable for pregnant women. Pregnant women can buy lead climbing harnesses specifically designed for them. There are full body harnesses which offer more support than lead harnesses. Climbing with a lead harness, however, still poses some risks to pregnant women.
- Pay attention to your body. You should listen to your body if it doesn’t feel right or if you don’t feel like climbing on a certain day due to fatigue. Do not go climbing just because you think you should. It could be dangerous for you and your baby.
Pregnancy symptoms that can affect your climbing session
Relaxin (and other hormones involved in pregnancy) loosens the joints, as was stated in a sub-heading above. Your joints will be more stressed if you climb a hard route.
As you climb, nausea can get worse, but it can also strike at any time during the day. Your motivation and how you feel can be negatively affected. Whenever you feel nauseated, you may just want to stay at home and rest – and that’s fine! Just don’t overdo it if you are feeling under the weather.
Shortness of Breath
Even if you don’t believe it, climbing works the heart and pregnancy affects breathing. As a result, you may find it difficult to breathe when you’re up on the wall. As well as feeling dizzy, detour from your attempt if you start to get dizzy. Most of the time, you should take a break before feeling light-headed.
You’ve probably experienced swollen feet in climbing shoes during warmer weather, and let’s be honest – it’s painful. Imagine experiencing this all the time in pregnancy. With your current climbing shoes, your feet may swell up and you may feel a lot of pain. As well as ignoring the pain, there’s another option: buy a pair of comfortable shoes that are made specifically for pregnancy climbs. If they have a neutral sole, like the La Sportiva Mythos – a model known in the climbing world specifically for its exceptional comfort — then they don’t need to be anything expensive.
Any time during your pregnancy, you may experience fatigue. When you get home, you just want to lie down and shut the world away while you either sleep or watch endless amounts of television to get through the day. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t feel motivated to climb. Being pregnant involves a significant amount of energy expenditure through pregnancy. This is why a woman feels tired throughout her pregnancy. Because of this, it’s really not a good idea to climb when you’re feeling this way. Of course, you have the choice.
Increase in Weight
If you climb the climbing wall during your pregnancy, you will probably be surprised at the increase in weight you will experience. Climbing is a natural activity because most of us are used to our own bodies, we know how to use them, and we know where our center of gravity is. It is likely that you will be unaccustomed to the new weight you carry once you become pregnant. Therefore, you are more likely to fall.
In addition to loosening joints, relaxin also cause you to be unsteady on your feet. In addition to hormones responsible for making you lose motivation, feel happier, or be more upset, etc. Due to your hormones, you may find that you do not like to climb simply because of them.
Your belly keeps on hitting different grades of holds now that you’ve got a baby in your uterus, so it’s harder to move up the wall to certain holds. While it’s annoying when this happens with other parts of your body, you might find it even more annoying now that you’re pregnant. Size increases are similar, but not identical to weight gains. As you are unfamiliar with your new size, you may have difficulty climbing.
Pregnant women’s climbing activities and exercises
There are ways to keep your grip strength and skills on the climbing wall even if you have decided not to climb after a certain period. When you return to bouldering after having a baby, they’ll guide you and make sure you’re comfortable. Some of the methods listed below may not be suitable for women with extremely loose joints.
Hanging from a fingerboard
When you’re pregnant, hanging on a fingerboard may be more difficult than before because you’re heavier. In any case, it’s a great way to keep your fingers strong and your shoulder/back muscles ready for your return to climbing.
Circuit board training
You can always take the advantage of the lowest part of the circuit board to make fun climbs for yourself without actually being that high off the ground; this will minimize the risk of harm to your baby should you fall off. If you feel that climbing too high is unsafe, do not do it.
You don’t want to injure yourself as you do these exercises. When you return from your vacation, pull-ups can be beneficial because they increase your back and shoulder muscles. These muscles are used for climbing. If you find pull-ups to be challenging when you aren’t pregnant, it may be impossible to do them when you’re pregnant, and that’s fine – you may not need this exercise. Over your doormantle, pull up bars can be purchased that can be easily removed. Check out this one on Amazon.
Climbing After Having a Baby
339 women participated in a survey produced by Beth Rodden of RockAndIce.com which found that most women return to climbing around 3.5 months after giving birth.
You may find it easy or hard to climb again after having given birth, depending on your situation. It could be due to various problems such as post-natal depression, breastfeeding infections also known as mastitis, or lack of motivation.
You shouldn’t rush your body or mind if you aren’t ready to climb after giving birth because of a particular problem. If you return to climbing or any other form of exercise too quickly, you could hurt yourself. This is another reason why you shouldn’t rush back into climbing too soon after pregnancy. Your joints may remain loose for months or even over a year following pregnancy.
Hanging on a fingerboard can be a great way to prepare your joints and muscles for a climbing return. Your fingers and forearms will be strengthened, and your shoulders and back will be activated.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Can climbing cause miscarriage?
During your first three months of pregnancy you should be on complete bed rest – False! You should not be resting at all during these three months. Strenuous activity will not cause a miscarriage if the pregnancy has formed normally.
What activities should be avoided during pregnancy?
Activities which should be avoided during pregnancy are as follows:
High Impact aerobics
Lying on belly.
Which of the following should a pregnant woman avoid during exercise?
The exercise that involves jarring motions, rapid changes in direction, or any activity that can cause even mild abdominal trauma. Jumping, hopping, skipping, and bouncing activities that require a lot of movement. You should bend your knees deeply, try sit-ups, do double leg raises, and touch your toes straight-legged. Bouncing while stretching is also helpful.
When should I start wearing a pregnancy harness?
You should switch to a full-body harness once your bump appears in the second trimester. The full-body harness crosses below the belly, like a seatbelt, instead of across the waist.
Can rock climbing cause miscarriage?
There is no truth in this statement. Performing strenuous activities following a normal conception will not result in a miscarriage. So you can do rock climbing without thinking much about miscarriage.