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Walking While Pregnant

Sumin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#1
Hi all,

Last March I walked my first Camino from Burgos to Santiago. As a woman travelling alone I was nervous, but this forum provided the encouragement I needed to bite the bullet and I'm glad I did as I loved every minute! Since then, I've been itching to finish the French route from SJPP to Burgos but we got pregnant earlier than expected! I was hoping to start walking in late March, by which time I'll be 16 weeks pregnant (this is my first pregnancy).

My husband is supportive and my Obgyn, whilst not elated about the idea, has said if I have a healthy pregnancy, its doable. (I am a pretty active/fit 34 year old, although I don't walk 25kms each day!) His main concern is understandably what would happen in an emergency if I needed urgent treatment.

I've seen a couple of threads on this, but any further guidance or thoughts on walking the Camino alone whilst pregnant would be appreciated! Some specific questions I have are:
- Will Orisson likely to be open in late March if I want to take the first day easy and not walk to Roscenvalles?
- Any caution against starting in SJPP and crossing the Pyrenees?
- I'd have two weeks - would this be sufficient to walk from SJPP to Burgos whilst pregnant?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Sumin
 

Momonne

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primtivo, Portuguese, VDLP
#2
Orisson has no reason to be open in March since the Napoleon route is closed at the very least until April 1st.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Some but not all, and other routes too.
#3
If you could stretch you time to 3 maybe 4 days over the two weeks then I'd say you should make Burgos easily. As mentioned above the Napoleon route will be closed but you could break up the first day and stay the first night in Valcarlos, off up to it go right through to Roncenvalles. You need also to bare in mind the time of year you are going, the weather can be inclement.

Buen Camino
 

Peter Fransiscus

Do good and good will come to you.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
#4
Hi all,

Last March I walked my first Camino from Burgos to Santiago. As a woman travelling alone I was nervous, but this forum provided the encouragement I needed to bite the bullet and I'm glad I did as I loved every minute! Since then, I've been itching to finish the French route from SJPP to Burgos but we got pregnant earlier than expected! I was hoping to start walking in late March, by which time I'll be 16 weeks pregnant (this is my first pregnancy).

My husband is supportive and my Obgyn, whilst not elated about the idea, has said if I have a healthy pregnancy, its doable. (I am a pretty active/fit 34 year old, although I don't walk 25kms each day!) His main concern is understandably what would happen in an emergency if I needed urgent treatment.

I've seen a couple of threads on this, but any further guidance or thoughts on walking the Camino alone whilst pregnant would be appreciated! Some specific questions I have are:
- Will Orisson likely to be open in late March if I want to take the first day easy and not walk to Roscenvalles?
- Any caution against starting in SJPP and crossing the Pyrenees?
- I'd have two weeks - would this be sufficient to walk from SJPP to Burgos whilst pregnant?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Sumin
Hi Sumin, it's almost 300km. to Burgos.

As stated is the Napoleon route closed till atleast the end of March.
Instead you can walk the Valcarlos route and this route is very nice to.
You can check the following website,
www.Gronze.com

Wish you a wonderful time and a Buen Camino,Peter.
 
Camino(s) past & future
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean 2017.
#5
Hola, @Sumin & congrats on the baby news.
Now for the Camino, your previous experience will stand you in good stead as to how far to walk each day. Even if Orisson / Napoleon route was open I would recommend the Valcarlos alternate - with an overnight stop at Valcarlos. I would also recommend taking 5 days to reach Pamplona. From there you can pick your stopping points that suit your body changes. Cheers
 

Kurt5280

Crazy Enough To Try It Again!
Camino(s) past & future
Frances: SJPDP to Finisterre & Muxia 9/15 (MTB) - Norte: Bayonne to Muxia & Finisterre 9/18 (MTB)
#6
My advise is take a taxi from SJPdP to Roncenvaux...then start your Camino from Roncenvaux...recommend Express Bourricot for transportation from both Biarritz Airport to SJPdP and again to Roncenvaux..."From St Jean Pied De Port to Roncesvalles: Every day at 09:30am or 10:00am, the prices are lower because we integrate the transport of passengers during the transport of luggage, 12€ per person"...a 12 Euro taxi ride it is not worth getting hurt hiking over the Pyrenees Mountains and getting hurt is the end of some Pilgrims Caminos before it ever really starts...and I am including some maps to help you on your Camino. (Enclosures)
 

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Sumin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#7
Thank you everyone for your replies. I hadn't realised it would be closed in late March so sounds like the Varcalos route is the way!

Any other suggestions for walking in your second trimester from experienced hikers would be most welcome!

Thanks!
Sumin
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Inglés, Fisterra/Muxia, Baztanés x2, Primitivo, Norte, Portugués & hopefully many more.
#9
Hi Sumin, I second @Kiwi-family's advice. I don't see any reason not to hike during a healthy pregnancy, especially in the second trimester when you should (in theory) have loads of energy. Late March seems like a good choice as it shouldn't be too hot.

Keep your pack as light as possible and be prepared to adapt your plans if they feel harder than you expected. There's no shame in using a bus or a taxi if you need to.

You might want also want to check if your travel insurance covers medical treatment or repatriation for pregnancy-related matters.

Buen Camino to you and your precious cargo!
 
Camino(s) past & future
September - October 2016 Camino Frances
#10
Hi Sumin and congratulations! We met and walked for several days on the CF in September 2016 with a beautiful young lady in her first trimester (about 11 weeks). It was quite hot and the only obvious decision she made was to have her pack transported from place to place (oh...and no partaking of the vino or cerveza of course). She was fit and took a small daypack and walked with poles. I am not experienced enough to offer advice regarding medical assistance if required - you may want to be prepared with "allowable medications" to cover a few scenarios as I imagine you are fairly limited in what you can use. Best wishes!
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata.
#11
@Sumin what wonderful news - congratulations!

If you go through Valcarlos, be aware that last half of that walk is even steeper than the Napoleon. It is tough.

If it were me, and I was pregnant (20 years ago) I would not start at SJPDP but instead at Roncesvalles. The traditional starting place for the Spanish pilgrims.

Starting at Roncesvalles is lovely - you can attend the mass and receive the pilgrim blessing - and it gives you lots of options as to how far you walk the first few days. I'd be following @Kiwi-family's advice - don't fight what your body is telling you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Several alone and with children
#12
Hi all,

Last March I walked my first Camino from Burgos to Santiago. As a woman travelling alone I was nervous, but this forum provided the encouragement I needed to bite the bullet and I'm glad I did as I loved every minute! Since then, I've been itching to finish the French route from SJPP to Burgos but we got pregnant earlier than expected! I was hoping to start walking in late March, by which time I'll be 16 weeks pregnant (this is my first pregnancy).

My husband is supportive and my Obgyn, whilst not elated about the idea, has said if I have a healthy pregnancy, its doable. (I am a pretty active/fit 34 year old, although I don't walk 25kms each day!) His main concern is understandably what would happen in an emergency if I needed urgent treatment.

I've seen a couple of threads on this, but any further guidance or thoughts on walking the Camino alone whilst pregnant would be appreciated! Some specific questions I have are:
- Will Orisson likely to be open in late March if I want to take the first day easy and not walk to Roscenvalles?
- Any caution against starting in SJPP and crossing the Pyrenees?
- I'd have two weeks - would this be sufficient to walk from SJPP to Burgos whilst pregnant?

Many thanks in advance for your help!
Sumin
Unless you have complications (pre walk) you can absolutely walk the Camino while pregnant!
Keep hydrated.
 

natefaith

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Sarria-Santiago (2009)
León-Ponferrada (2014)
Camino Inglés (2017)
#13
Congratulations @Sumin !! And yes, do keep hydrated. You may have read on some of the other pregnancy threads here that I almost lost my first son at 20 weeks in utero because I overextended myself while we moved from one house to another (not on the Camino). I was extremely dehydrated but didn't know it, and started going into premature labor. Thankfully we were able to get to the hospital and they gave IV meds to stop the contractions and re-hydrate. So, lessons learned for subsequent pregnancies were to proactively drink lots of water, listen to my body and stop whatever I was doing if I started feeling light-headed/ weird, and set reasonable, wise goals for what I wanted to accomplish in any given time period.

Since you've already walked a good part of the Camino Frances you definitely have an advantage in that you know what to expect in the daily rhythms of the Camino. I'll just say - get plenty of rest and have a plan for what you'll do in case something happens.
Take care!
Faith
 

Marbe2

Active member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJPD to Burgos
2017 Leon to Santiago
Pamplona to Santiago Mar. 2018
Burgos - SCDC (Oct 18)
#14
I do not know where you are from..but I know many travel insurance companies in US do not cover medical costs for pregnancies/deliveries.
 
Camino(s) past & future
.
#15
Just to say - I walked much of my first camino Frances with a 38-year old peregrina who was 12 weeks pregnant at the start (Roncesvalles). By the time we reached Galicia she was getting quite a lot of swelling in her legs/ankles, so we slowed a lot in the afternoons, but we still managed Brierley stages (and it was December by then). She carried her pack all the way. I don't think she had any other issues. And in the middle of the next year the little one popped out, in good health and spirits and having completed her first camino very early in life.
 

Sumin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#16
Hello all! Thanks very much for your replies, encouragement and guidance.

I wanted to share with you that I completed the 300km to Burgos and returned home last week. It was the most wonderful experience, and I'm so glad I did it and wasn't dissuaded by the pregnancy. In fact it was a lovely bonding experience and I even made a little voice recording for the baby each day, recounting what I could see and experience whilst I was hiking :)

I took on board all the various advice above. Started in SJPP and found the Varcalos way tiring but beautiful. Kept my pack light but carried it with me, stayed hydrated, and mainly stayed positive and enjoyed every moment. I think the previous Camino definitely did help prepare me mentally and physically - even for hiking in 3 days of snow! For future inspiration, I was lucky enough to meet a lovely American family doing the entire French route with their 6 year old girl and 9 year old boy in tow - motivation for when bub is on the other side!

Back in Singapore now and baby healthy and hopefully happy - so thank you again for all of your support.

Sumin
 
Camino(s) past & future
There are many different Pilgrim Routes and Caminos in life.
#18
Lovely to hear that you are doing great and that you had a good time walking. Thanks for the update. :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
Hopeful (Nov. 2018)
#19
@Sumin & All,

This is helpful as I was planning to walk the Camino this fall/winter with my husband and sister from SJPP (even left my job to do so), but God had other plans and my husband and I are now expecting a little one next spring. I would LOVE any tips you have for what helped you get over the fear (and judgement) of considering to do the Camino during pregnancy. I think it would be an amazing experience but want to make sure I'm not just moving forward with it just because I was so looking forward to it. I'm pretty healthy and active and very accustomed to hiking and the bodily strains that come with it, but want to make sure I'm putting the baby first.

Any thoughts?

Thank you!
Bee
 

RedRuby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (Sept 2017)
Via Podiensis - Chemin du Puy-en-Velay (May 2019)
#21
@Sumin & All,

This is helpful as I was planning to walk the Camino this fall/winter with my husband and sister from SJPP (even left my job to do so), but God had other plans and my husband and I are now expecting a little one next spring. I would LOVE any tips you have for what helped you get over the fear (and judgement) of considering to do the Camino during pregnancy. I think it would be an amazing experience but want to make sure I'm not just moving forward with it just because I was so looking forward to it. I'm pretty healthy and active and very accustomed to hiking and the bodily strains that come with it, but want to make sure I'm putting the baby first.

Any thoughts?

Thank you!
Bee
Hi BeePerigrino,
Just some gentle recommendations and suggestions,

You didn't say if it was your first pregnancy or how many weeks pregnant you will be when you travel and when you start your Camino? This makes a difference to the wellness and safety of you and your unborn baby.
Be mindful that your hormones are loosening up ligaments and muscles regardless of how fit you are in preparation for the birth to come. What this means is that joints eg knees, hips, shoulders and ankles are also affected and you need to be mindful of this and listen to you body. Also, the changes and growing unborn baby puts pressure on our bladder. This means we need to empty our bladder a lot. So be prepared for that. It's very important that you drink to your thirst, keep hydrated but don't over do it. Drink to your thirst. Don't hold on to a full bladder. Holding to a full bladder when we are pregnant is very uncomfortable and increases the risk of urinary tract infections. Urinary tract infections put you at high risk for miscarriage and premature labour.
Always carry copies of your Antenatal record, Antenatal bloods, and your most recent blood tests. Have the name, telephone contact and email address of your doctor/obstetrican/midwife in your home country. Tell them what you are planning.
Ensure you have travel and health insurance that will cover pregnancy and a medical lift back to your home country.
Check with the airlines you are flying with to make sure you can fly; this depends on how many weeks pregnant you are, in particular when you finish you Camino.
These are some of the basics, if you want more info please let me know.
Buen Camino
 

Sumin

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
None
#22
Hi Bee
Congratulations on the pregnancy! Everyone will have different views on this topic, but here are some thoughts on what I personally experienced:

- I had a really easy first trimester which meant that by the time I started the camino, I was fit as I'd been exercising a lot throughout my first 12 weeks. This definitely helped as I suspect it would be harder if you've come out of a tough 1st trimester.

- The peeing thing is a consideration for sure! I started walking at 14 weeks and was 16 weeks by the time I ended. I wasn't showing at all so had no issues with carrying a pack or peeing much, but I remember a bump developing soon after returning home and definitely needing to go to the bathroom more which would have been a paid if I was on the Camino. Especially if you are staying in albergues where it's sometimes a mission to get out of bed, find your torch, the bathroom etc, whilst trying to stay quiet.

- I only did the first 300km of the trail (SJPP to Burgos), as I had completed the last 500km last year. This also made a big difference as: (i) I felt 2 weeks of walking was very manageable from a mental and physical perspective (compared to walking the whole trail), and (ii) I knew what to expect from last year which helped a lot (in terms of packing, morning routines, fitness etc). I think this was a really big factor for me.

- Season wise, I think it's great that you're avoiding summer - I went in March (Spring) and it was perfect. We had snow and rain, but I still enjoyed how peaceful the trail felt and how cool the weather was.

- I cleared this with my Obgyn first which I think is a must. He wasn't over the moon about it, but said as I was healthy and had no pregnancy complications, I wouldn't be harming the baby. His only concern was that I could be far from a hospital if there was an emergency. I was walking alone, so had a frank chat with my husband about this and we both felt comfortable with taking on this risk as we felt it was low - but again, a very personal decision and not one that I can comment on as each person's thresholds /comfort level is different.

- I carried a lighter pack than last time - 8kg and probably another 1-2 kg for food. Otherwise, I made no other adjustments. But I have heard of people using porter services etc. It really helped that I had broken in my boots from last year - comfortable feet will make a huge difference!

- The other thing I promised with my husband was to go with no expectations and to listen to my body. I.e. we discussed that if on day 2, I felt it was too much or I just didn't feel comfortable with what I was committing myself to - that I would allow myself to change plans, jump on a bus, or get off the trail and have a holiday in Spain etc. It felt good knowing that I always had the choice to leave and was under no pressure to "prove anything".

- Finally, I think a big thing depends on your attitude and how relaxed you are. I am not adverse to taking risks and luckily have had a risk free pregnancy to date which allows me to be reasonably lackadaisical. I knew that a huge part of the camino for me was being able to enjoy good food and wine, so I ate all the chorizo, iberico ham I wanted, and a glass of wine every so often (no judgements please). I also got some bad cramping at one stage which went on for a few days - but allowed myself not to worry about it. If I was the type of person who constantly stressing about these things harming the baby, I don't think I would have enjoyed walking the Camino to be honest.

In saying all this, walking whilst pregnant was one of the BEST things I ever did! I would say, if it feels right for you and you've weighed up all the risks and considerations and still feel like you want to do it, you shouldn't let fear hold you back :) It was a wonderful bonding experienced for me and I loved every minute of walking with the baby. Looking back on it, it was such a special thing to do and I felt so glad that I took the plunge. I think it's also good that you have company - just having someone to talk to about any concerns, and help carry more weight etc will be hugely helpful.

Good luck!
Sumin
 

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