Pregnant Momma's Guide to Backpacking
Let's face it, pregnancy can put quite the damper on your adventure time. In fact, while I was pregnant, I was on bed rest for 5 months! Needless to say, when the doctor gave me the go ahead, I started off on the Appalachian Trail ("AT") trying to catch up on months of lost time. Having never been pregnant before and being out of shape from months of downing coffee cake and donuts every morning, it put quite the strain on the trip. I learned quite a few important lessons while being pregnant, one being that your stomach kinda helps balance your pack out! Think of the positives of having a bowling ball strapped to your stomach at all times! In all honesty, I think I had one of the best hikes while being pregnant. I somehow had more energy and realized that this was going to be my last opportunity for a while to be out without a nugget alongside.
We headed off on the AT in the middle of November, which was the perfect time of year for a sweating pregnant lady to be exercising. The cool weather helped balance the oven I had constantly offering a heating pad on my stomach. We decided on a 13-mile loop, some off of the AT looping back to our car. Being in November, our packs were naturally heavier, making sure we would be comfortable in the chilly nights. My husband packed most of our gear, which gave me extra room to smuggle a few extra snacks into my pack, because I was eating for what seemed five (see image of me shoving my face to left)! We took frequent breaks to make sure I was staying hydrated and getting enough carbs to keep up with the amount of exercise. When planning our trip, we made sure that we had wiggle room each day so we would not be rushed. When planning make sure you are near a water source, preferably where you set up camp.
At nights I slept on my Therm-A-Rest NeoAir, which gave me the back support that I needed to stay comfortable and warm. At only 8oz, it was able to help keep me warm and roll up tight so that I could have extra room for snacks!
I found that my greatest struggle was at night and having to pee every thirty minutes (you think I'm kidding, I'm most certainly not). Having to get out of the tent after bundling up and finally warming back up was very rough. I packed hot hands for my hands, feet, and even put one in my hat. This offered some comfort while my butt was getting wind burn in the middle of the night.
A struggle that most pregnant women can relate with is swollen feet. Especially after hiking miles a day, my feet really took a beating. I packed my Chaco's and wore thick socks under them to be able to let them breathe. They offer the required support while hiking, and the ability to get your feet into something that won't constrict them while they are swelling.
If medically able to, I suggest getting out and trying to adventure before the arrival of your little blessing! I always needed something to take my mind off of the dragging 9 months of pregnancy. There's nothing like an adventure to prepare you for the biggest adventure of your life!
A once top heavy,
Back Country Momma