Climbing Pregnant | Haley Graham

“Please do not confuse your google search with my medical degree.”

These framed words hung in my OB’s office and was something I read every visit. It took time but they finally struck a cord with me. During my pregnacy, I would ask my OB every visit if I could keep climbing and he always had the same answer “don’t fall to your death, and listen to your body.” This wasn’t good enough for me. I googled and I saw many pictures of pregnant women at 25 plus weeks climbing in full body harnesses and I wanted to be like them. I didn’t want to listen to my aching body. I wanted to be that very pregnant woman still climbing, but something I didn’t realize prior to pregnancy is that a woman’s body goes through so much during pregnancy and everyone has a different experience.

Google, Instagram and magazines were pressuring me to climb but my body was telling me to stop for so many reasons. The relaxin hormone your body produces made me feel as if my hip and knee would pop at any moment, so toeing down and heel hooks were out. My knee actually did pop. My SI joints ached to the point that getting out of bed in the morning almost always started with crawling or limping with tears. My tendons in my fingers couldn’t handle the extra 30 plus pounds. I was scared to make my diastasis recti/umbilical hernia even worse. My chiropractor told me that my breeched baby had a higher chance of getting in birthing position if I decreased my physical activity. A breeched baby meant a cesarean section, a major abdominal surgery, something that’s not appealing to climbers.

At 20 weeks, I listened to my doctor’s advice which also meant listening to my body. Today, six months, a split in my abs, and unfortunately a cesarean section later, I got released to climb and be physically active again. This may sound terrible but on the bright side, I don’t have pulled tendons or injured knees or hips. Also, as the OB put it, I didn’t fall to my death which was a huge possibility with the 35 pounds I gained. Getting back to where I was before getting pregnant will be a very difficult and long journey. It will require low expectations and lots of patience, but I’m ready. I have a precious little boy who needs a healthy and active mom. One day, he may even be interested in climbing. If so, this mom will be ready.

Haley Graham