A Pregnancy Guide to Outdoor Gear

When we first found out we were expecting, I had no idea how pregnancy was going to work in regards to outdoor playtime. Admittedly, I first thought, “No big deal! I’ll be able to hike right up until labor!”

Ahaha, not so much.

That said, I was able to stay pretty active until the 32-33 week mark before things got really uncomfortable. However, I did need to change up some gear along the way and find substitutes for tried-and-tested items that had served me well over the years. What do you mean my favorite Fjallraven pants don’t fit me anymore?!

Are all of these perfect solutions? Not at all, but they worked for me so I thought maybe they would work for your pregnancy too!

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Note: Links below may be affiliate links. This means I earn a small commission if you purchase anything but it does not affect the cost to you. As always, I appreciate your support!

Oofos Sandals

I honestly don’t care how flipping ugly these sandals are; Oofos flip-flops have become my favorites over the last couple of months!

Designed as recovery sandals, there is a boat load of cushioning under the sole to theoretically help your feet recover. For me, that excess cushioning has worked wonders in keeping my 45-pound-heavier frame from damn near imploding. As I get farther along, my feet hurt more and more which isn’t super helpful with the uptick of PT-designated dog walks for Tals. Are they absolutely the ugliest thing I own? Sure enough. But man, I really don’t care considering how comfy they are!

Mountain Hardwear Dynama Pants

I knew finding a pair of hiking pants was going to be tough when I put out a Facebook plea to friends and everyone said the same thing:

Yoga pants.

Yoga pants.

Yoga pants.

But what happens if I don’t want to wear yoga pants?! Not only are they not durable, but they have zero tech abilities and I knew that I would annihilate them the first time I tried to hike through a tundra full of scruffy shrubs. Was there seriously no better option?!

{To be fair, a few friends suggested I wear my normal hiking pants unbuttoned with a belly band over the top, but I’m pretty sure their hips didn’t widen near as much as mine! I haven’t been able to pull my normal pants past mid-thigh since early May!}

Finally, I had a thought: I love my Dynama pants {referenced here} thanks to their stretchiness and yoga pant-inspired waist band. Would they work?

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PC: Will Rochfort

As it turns out, they did! My normal ones were too small so I headed to REI to snag a pair in a size larger than my norm. They were perfect! The stretchy legs allowed me to comfortably hike and I could easily push the yoga-style waistband down below my baby belly. Plus, they have UPF and are water repellent, which means they are a better option than the good ol’ yoga pants. I’ve used them all summer and they were the perfect solution for me.

REI Tech Capris

Of course, I didn’t want to wear a single pair of hiking pants everywhere I went, so I also added two pairs of REI Tech Capris into the mix. Like with the MHW Dynama pants, I had to buy them in a size larger than normal to accommodate my overall bigger size, but they worked great. They also have UPF 50 which was great while in the sun, and the fabric wicked sweat away from my skin which worked well in the summer heat.

The one downside to these capris is that they are made from a slightly thicker material, so they did get a bit toasty on really hot days. But, they fit and moved well, so I made ’em work.

Carpal Tunnel Wrist Braces

Apparently this is a common ailment for pregnant women but I managed to score the lottery since my carpal tunnel is hands down the worst I’ve ever seen in a preggo lady. {Insert sarcasm here.}

These days, the excess fluid in my body is wreaking havoc on my hands to the point where typing is excruciating {so forgive me if blog posts are few and far between!} and driving may or may not become impossible in the next week or two. I’ve tried everything from Tylenol to acupuncture to lemon compresses and wrapping cabbage leaves around my wrists {seriously} but  nothing is working. It looks like I will just have to wait till I pop this kid out and dump the fluids, but in the meantime, I had to come up with a Plan B.

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All the wrist braces!

I first noticed the symptoms when we were camping in California; I had shooting pain in my hands every time I rolled onto my side. Then, when I hit up the CrossFit gym back home for coaching or working out, I started to realize I couldn’t adequately grip a heavy barbell. These days, I can barely hold the leash to walk Tals!

There isn’t much I can do at this point, so braces have become an everyday staple. I have two day braces that I wear for driving, typing, working, etc. They’re awkward and cumbersome but they stave off the pain and numbness just a bit. I have two separate overnight braces that I sleep in and honestly, they are the only reason I’m catching any zzzz’s!

Mountain Hardwear Breeze AC Tank

The Breeze AC tank was a happy accident! Somehow, we had been sent a PR sample in a size medium which is usually bigger than my normal size. Will had sent it on to a tester who sent it back to us because it didn’t fit her. This all happened as my belly was getting bigger, so I decided to try it on again to see if it fit.

Voila!

It’s not a slim-fitting workout tank like so many are, and it actually has some elastic around the bottom hem. This elastic combined with the flowy belly area means that I am still able to fit into a size medium now that I’m at 35 weeks pregnant. Plus, the fabric is mesh-like so it’s fantastic on hot days….or now that I’m *always* overheating!

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Pangea Organics

To be fair, my facial cleanser doesn’t exactly fall into the outdoor gear category, but it smells like the forest, so that’s close enough?

Ridiculous or not, once I got pregnant I started considering how to cut more chemicals out of my daily routine and my face soap was one of the first to go. Previously, I had used Murad which I was very happy with, but there are quite a few weird-ass products in the ingredient list! I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to switch to when a happy little PR package showed up at our door.

It was from the folks at Pangea Organics and their timing was impeccable. They sent me an entire skincare routine including the Australian Wild Plum & Willow cleanser, the Italian Green Mandarin with Sweet Lime toner, and the Moroccan Argan with Willow and Rosemary moisturizer. I immediately noticed the packaging– all glass bottles– and decided to give the lineup a shot.

Turns out, I *love* the cleanser and the toner! The toner is a facial mist and because it uses such delightful ingredients, it’s like a mini aromatherapy session overtime I spray it on my face. Weird as it sounds, I find myself a little excited to wash and tone my face because I love the smells that much! {Note: unfortunately I didn’t love the moisturizer since it left my skin feeling really tight, so that is one of their products that wasn’t for me.}

BodyGlide

Man, oh man. I’m using this stuff like it’s going out of style!

While most of my baby weight is going directly to my belly, I’ve definitely put on some extra pounds in my thighs. And because Mother Nature is full of cruel jokes, this has led to some seriously painful thigh rub!

Of course, this only happens if I wear a dress or shorts, but with the warm weather and excess sweating, the thigh rub is very real. I ordered a tube of the BodyGlide for Her after using all of my existing running stash, and it definitely helps. Of course, capris offer the most protection while hiking but if it’s so darn hot that I absolutely need to wear shorts, you better believe I’m packing this stuff.

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Mother’s Special Blend Skin Toning Oil

I read about this waaaaaay back early in my pregnancy as a method to potentially minimize stretch marks. I’m not entirely sure I believe that creams or oils can control them, but I bought a bottle just to see what I thought.

Survey says?

Still not sure that I buy the stretch mark thing, but it IS extra moisturizing. Since I am perpetually sweating and dehydrated, I tend to get really dry skin after spending a day outside. Lotion works a fair bit but I’ve had the best luck with using this Special Blend toning oil all over my body as a means to control both post-outdoor dry skin *and* stretch marks.

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Mamas or mamas-to-be: What would you add to the list?

 

4 Comments

  • Reply Carol Chi August 29, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    Are you still pregnant? If not, congratulations on a new chapter! You’ve had great training up until now with all that you do so rock it momma! When I was pregnant (not as brave as you and stopped hiking at beginning of third trimester) the hardest thing was finding a coat to cover my belly (and not spend $200 or so on a new winter coat. They sell coat extensions but I always thought there should be a better option. I ended up buying a cheaper coat (not that warm) that was larger and wore layers underneath. Second on yoga pants and like fleece lined leggings. I guess it could have been worse if I was in the third trimester during the other seasons! It took awhile to get back into hiking with a newborn
    But back at it (with baby and dog!) and loving our adventures – we are a lot slower and now on easy-moderate trails but at least we are getting out!

  • Reply rachel September 2, 2017 at 11:10 pm

    thanks for the list! having followed your blog for awhile and also expecting, i was selfishly thrilled with the timing of your pregnancy. funny coincidence – i also got pregnant after an extended adventure in new zealand – although we left the mountaineering / hiking for another trip, and toured the south island with our bikes / tent for 6 weeks (after visiting my family in new plymouth on the north island). anyway, your ponderings and tips, always from a place of a month-ish more experience, have been fun to read.
    anyway – hiking pants have been a nightmare. i wore too-big bouldering pants, unbuttoned and tied shut with string under my bump. it sucked and i don’t recommend it. honestly, as it got progressively harder to breath anyway, i just got a bit less adventurous (for the short-term), and wore running shorts with an elastic waistband, lots of sunscreen, and tackled mostly well-groomed swiss hiking trails (luckily you can get fantastically deep into the mountains in switzerland without having to blaze your own way – fabulous trail infrastructure).
    jackets were annoying. i think i permanently destroyed the zipper on my permaloft.
    i wish i’d discovered your skincare solutions earlier. i personally took all the pregnancy “advice” (a.k.a. fear-mongering, thinly-veiled judgment and lack of trust for women’s intelligence and a fetus’ resilience in the womb) too seriously. i looked at all the things in standard cosmetics i was supposed to be avoiding, and then promptly discovered there were also herbs and essential oils to stay away from. i literally found nothing without *something* on the no-go list after spending substantial time on the floors of natural food stores and pharmacies reading labels, and ultimately gave up.
    the most frustrating product for me was deoderant. in the dead of summer and working an office job in which i routinely interact with clients and have to wear nice clothes, i wasn’t willing to be the smelly pregnant lady every day of my life. after looking at all the stuff i was supposed to be avoiding in the natural options as well, i went standard rexona.
    what was your solution here?

    • Reply Heather September 5, 2017 at 4:50 pm

      Honestly, I haven’t changed anything with my deodorant; still the usual stuff from the grocery store. Sorry I’m not more help there!

  • Reply Bella Lemke September 6, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Carpel tunnel is no joke while pregnant! Mine was terrible and I tried everything. I was ready to have my baby girl and get some relief. But then I got “Mommy’s thumb” and that was worst!! Just when I thought I’d get relief, I literally couldn’t pick up my baby girl without worrying that I would drop her. Again I tried everything and nothing worked until I finally got a steroid shot on both hands. For a while I thought I was going to have to have surgery but the steroid shot helped tremendously! Had to make a few adjustments on repetitive motions when breast feeding, picking up my baby and gripping pretty much anything. I tell you this because if you get to this painful point, really look into the shots. With time everything got back to normal. Really hope you don’t go thru this but feel I needed to share just in case.
    Congratulations and excited to read about your adventures with your lil one.
    BTW, thank you for writing abiut pregnancy gear!!

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