Confessions of a Pregnant Outdoor Mom

Pregnancy.  The Outdoors.  Being a Mom.  Can the three all mix?

If you followed me on social media over my recent pregnancy, you know I stayed active outdoors throughout my entire pregnancy. I loved all the encouragement from everyone from the social media world and people on the trail but....

Rock scrambling anyone? 20 weeks pregnant
I'm not going to lie, it was difficult at times to even get out the door.  With two kids in tow already, an ever growing pregnant belly and the fact that I just wanted to sleep, heading outdoors didn't seem as enticing.  As usual the rewards of heading outdoors, especially during pregnancy always made me better and I can honestly say I never came back saying "Well I wish I hadn't gone outdoors!".  Yet here are a few pregnancy confessions this outdoor mom would love to share with you.

NOTE: I am not a medical health professional but these are my own personal observations and suggestions based on my three HEALTHY pregnancies with the approval of my personal doctor.

Confession #1: Staying Active Outdoors ~ I Don't Want To

Before I became pregnant I was hiking, running, biking and lifting weights, but as my pregnancy progressed I slowly had to stop doing certain activities or reduce the intensity of these activities.  By the end of my pregnancy I was left with light hiking and walking but I vowed that I was going to stay active, especially in the outdoors.

In my first trimester biking with the kids.
My confession is that once the pregnancy hormones hit the fan, I just wanted to take a nap but there was always a force driving outdoors.  Most of the time it was my kids needing to go outside so they could run around like wild animals or the fact that I needed fresh air because every smell in my house made me want to vomit.  Whatever the reason even though I just wanted to nap, staying active outdoors was one of the best things I did in this pregnancy.

I had stopped hiking around 36 weeks but I continued walking EVERY day between 1-2 miles.  For more details about hiking while pregnant, please visit my post on Backpacker Magazine, "Bun in the Oven: Pregnant Hiking".

Confession #2: The Aches and Pain ~ Everything Hurts!

Everything hurts more when you are pregnant, so when you mix an outdoor activity it is hard to admit but every little joint hurts more than normal! Plus it takes longer to recover even from short  hikes due to the "wonderful" ligament laxity that is produced during pregnancy.  Whether I stayed home or headed outdoors everything still hurt, so Tylenol was my best friend.

36 weeks ~ I was trying to hike the baby out. [Photo by Daniel Barrantes]
Early in my pregnancy I continued road biking, but as my belly got larger different areas of my body started hurting more than I could take and sadly I had to stop biking in my second trimester.  Oddly enough, hiking and walking helped minimize the swelling in my hands, feet and other areas of my body.  Even though it took me longer to recover, I felt the "good" soreness of a workout and swelling was almost a non-issue in my last pregnancy.

Confession #3: Emotional "Stuff" ~ I Just Want to Cry

I'm not a really emotional person, but pregnancy changes everything.  It's those pregnancy hormones that make you worse than a Bridezilla.  Just kidding.  But only sort of.  I just wanted to cry some days, whether it was because of a stupid sappy commercial, my kids driving me insane, or simply the fact I couldn't see my feet anymore.

The outdoors helped regain my emotional stability on days when pregnancy, motherhood, and just plain life seemed like a big blur.  Personally, the outdoors is my time I spend talking with God, my husband and kids.  It sets the scene so my emotional status can get in check.  So on days when I felt like crying, I headed outdoors to get perspective on things and I always came back with a smile on my face.

Confession #4: Labor & Delivery Day ~ It Was Easy, Sort of...

I gave birth outdoors...just kidding!  But have you seen those ladies who do? It's a little much for me but there's a movement out there.  I can't directly say the outdoors made my labor easy, but I was active in the outdoors much longer than in  my previous pregnancies and the labor compared to my others were "easy".  Anyways, for those who are interested here's my "Labor Story":

5 minutes before birth!
Giving birth for the third time was easy, like to the point where the baby practically fell out of my body.   Waiting for the labor to actually start on the other hand was not easy.  I was 38 weeks pregnant and just miserable, everything took four times as long to do and I was constantly scared of peeing my pants in public.  Whether because I was actually going to pee my pants or afraid that water was going to break.  I was to the point where people just stared at my huge belly...I was "scary" pregnant.

My husband had decided that it was too much for me already to deal with our two kids and life so he decided to stay home until after I gave birth.  I remember a few hours before I went into labor, we were driving home from my son's preschool, I cried and prayed to God that I'd go into labor that night.

As usual, I had fake contractions the rest of the afternoon, but I distracted myself with housework due to the ferocious "nesting" stage I was in.  I was cleaning the house....I even had this urge to clean the windows on the outside of the house.  I just needed to do something, I wanted to go for a run but I just physically could not.

The "fake contractions" continued even through a video conference call I had for Latino Outdoors and we joked about that I might be in labor.

Later that night, after the kids went to bed, my husband and I were watching TV re-runs, when I finally admitted to my husband I thought I was in labor because things were getting a little painful.  I stretched, laid down a towel on the couch (thank goodness) before I decided to spend the rest of the night on the couch. I sat down on the couch and immediately my water broke.

After that it was kind of a blur, but the women from my familia came over (and my dad) and we headed over to the hospital.  Our beautiful baby boy was born before sunrise!

But for those who want to know....
  1. Medicine: I went into labor naturally but I didn't want to feel ANY pain so I had an epidural and the lowest amount of pitocin to get things rolling.
  2. Labor: I pushed the baby out in ONE push.  It took longer to prepare the room than to get the baby out.
  3. Recovery: My recovery has been amazing.  More to come on this but I was released early from the hospital and it's been a faster and better recovery than my previous births.
I confess, I'm so glad I'm done being pregnant but I will always cherish the lovely outdoor memories and adventures I had with this pregnancy.  The love of the outdoors starts from the womb and I know this little guy already loves it.

Confessions are good for the soul, especially pregnancy confessions! Leave a comment below with your pregnancy outdoor confession.

Related Posts and Links:
  1. Confessions of an Outdoor Mom
  2. The Family of Four Hikers is Growing to FIVE!
  3. Backpacker Magazine ~ Bun in the Oven: Pregnant Hiking
  4. "Sleeping Under the Stars" Family Project Completed!

Check out these other outdoor parents and their tips on staying active during pregnancy:

  1. Staying active outside: Pregnancy by Rockies Girl

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