Adventuring With a Pregnant Wife: "Taking it Easier Than Normal"

There I was in the Uintas Mountains in the middle of the night and my wife Chelsea, 16-weeks pregnant, is leaning out of the tent for her fifth bout of morning sickness. We had decided to head out on a short backpacking trip to see how she handled it before we took off for a planned trip to Havasupai in the Grand Canyon the next week.

“This is awful!” she bellowed out as she pulled her head back inside the tent. And with that we cancelled our trip.

We decided that most scenarios would have ended with a miserable or dangerous experience in one of the prettiest places in the Grand Canyon. There'd be other chances. 

My wife and I recently welcomed our daughter into the world, and spending time adventuring played a huge role in making the pregnancy run smooth. Our doctor gave us the go ahead to continue with our outdoor activities, with the caveat of, “you’re pregnant, take it easier than normal.”


Throughout the pregnancy we kept trying to do small bits of outdoor excursions. Because, why not? We loaded up our Deuter packs for a few more backpacking treks into the Uintas – and thank God for those mountains in northern Utah. They offered an escape from the heat of the summer, short distances to amazing landscape views, and so close to our home in Salt Lake City.

Keith Howells and his wife Chelsea

After the morning sickness wore off, at about 22 weeks, we took our backpacking journeys a bit further. The best was a canyoneering trip we did during the second trimester: a few canyons in the North Wash area of Utah and a few in the Marble Canyon area of Arizona.

At about 32 weeks we decided that we needed to be within an hour drive of a hospital, so the next few adventures were closer to home. Luckily winter started to set in the Wasatch Front and we were able to enjoy some snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the trails around town.


The plain and simple of our experience with getting outdoors while pregnant is that it is possible, it is safe, and it seemed helpful – when it came time to head to the hospital for labor, the baby had dropped so low and into the perfect position that the actually delivery was short (I blame the XC skiing). We just had to scale things back a bit and remember what our doctor told us, “you’re pregnant, take it easier than normal.”

Now we have a 1-month old. We’ve taken her hiking and began that interesting experience: outdoor excursions with a newborn.

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