From Climber Chick to Mountain Mama

Reader Stories

Submitted by Erica Lineberry

I am currently quite pregnant – 38 weeks and 1 day to be exact (but who’s counting!) My husband and I are avid rock climbers, and when I found out I was pregnant, it only made sense to continue with our active lifestyle, with a few changes for safety reasons, of course.

The past 38 weeks have been a lesson in listening to my body, adjusting to physical changes, and preparing for our family of 2 expanding to 3. Knowing the massive benefits exercise can bring for both mom and baby — easier labor/delivery, increased placental blood flow, less complications during pregnancy, etc. — I didn’t think twice about staying as active as I could, for as long as I could.

With lots of careful research and safety precautions, this included climbing as far into my pregnancy as I could. I stopped lead climbing and bouldering early on and stuck with toproping so as to avoid any risk of abdominal trauma, and once I started showing I switched over to a full-body harness to take pressure off of my abdomen.

My goal was to keep track of my progress – I figured at first that I would see how many weeks into my pregnancy I could still climb routes at a 5.11 or higher grade, assuming that at some point I wouldn’t be able to do it anymore. From that point, I would keep track of how many weeks into my pregnancy I could still climb 5.10, then 5.9, etc.

Eventually I figured that at some point in my third trimester climbing would become too uncomfortable to be fun anymore, and that I would put away my rock shoes for those last few weeks until after the little guy had arrived. But much to my surprise, I’ve been able to continue to climb fairly hard throughout my entire (almost – fingers crossed) pregnancy!

Sure certain styles of routes and certain types of moves aren’t really feasible anymore – really steep, overhanging routes are super difficult, as are rockovers onto a really high step – but I’ve been able to do at least one clean 5.11 route for every week of my pregnancy thus far! We climbed outside whenever we could, but the weather and our schedules weren’t always as cooperative of my experiment as I wanted, so some weeks the indoor climbing gym was our only option. But nevertheless, here I am, full term with a belly the size of a large watermelon, still cranking as hard as I can, and still having a blast doing it!

The little guy has been quite cooperative (hardly any morning sickness, not draining too much of my energy) which I’m hoping is a sign that he’ll be just as excited about exploring creation and having fun outside as both of his parents do! We can’t wait for him to enter the world so we can share the rest of our lives with him – which I’m sure will be our biggest adventure yet!

Ed. Footnote: Erica tells us that Canaan Ray Lineberry arrived on March 21st, two weeks early and just one day after submitting this story.

Erica works as a gear tester for Mountain Mama, a technical maternity wear company.  Check out Erica’s blog at:

Last modified: July 24, 2010

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