In 2012 (at least I think that’s when it was) Mad Rock worked with Mountain Mama to come out with a climbing harness made specifically for PREGNANT women to continue top-rope climbing. Though there have been other full-body harness alternatives used by pregnant women, specifically Petzl’s, this was the first geared specifically for pregnancy. I’ve now used it for two of my pregnancies and while it is not perfect, it has been worth it and I would still recommend it. However, let me give you a better understanding of what you are getting yourself into.
This is a major question out there I’m sure but let’s be honest here – is anything really comfortable when your pregnant!!?! No, I didn’t think so. With that in mind, let me try to answer. Though I should say the answer of comfort really does change depending on the day of your pregnancy and how you’ve adjusted the harness. Alright, clearly I’m being to noncommittal.
What is definitely not comfortable are the buckles on your collarbones by your neck. You can put a pad cover yourself but it really would be nice if it came done for you.
In all, the harness is comfortable but only if it’s adjusted correctly. You need to readjust this harness every time you put it on for two reasons: (1) Your body is constantly changing; (2) The quick release buckles loosen over time requiring readjustment.
Tip: It is helpful to sit in the harness before doing a complete route so you know how it will feel when you’re being lowered and then readjust accordingly to find the right fit. It’s hard to know if you have it synched correctly when you are standing with the straps falling loose rather than sitting in it with the straps being pulled upward. That might be a reason that it is uncomfortable.
Practical in that it gets the job done and you get to keep climbing.
NOT practical with only ONE gear loop. First, this gear loop is near the front and on only one side, which can make for some awkward cleanup of routes. Second, one gear loop is nowhere near enough when cleaning a route. I’ve truly come off some routes looking like a pregnant Rambo, clipping gear everywhere and anywhere on the harness since they can’t fit on my one little tiny loop.
Annoying is the loose extra section of the straps when the harness is synched tight that get in your way. I’ve used Velcro to clean it up and strap them down to avoid the annoyance myself.
Also, rappelling and belaying a lead climber can be a little rough because the device ends up right at face level because it is a full-body harness and you connect in on a left and right loop pulled together over your chest
$120.00 (last I checked) is definitely pricier than other harnesses but it does seem to currently be the best option out there. Still, with that price tag you would think they could include buckle covers for comfort, more gear loops, and clips to hold the excess strap. There are definitely improvements that should be made and I must say that I’m a little disappointed that it hasn’t happened in these past years. I’m waiting for an upgrade.
Nonetheless, it was worth it for me. I started using it going into my second trimester of two pregnancies and used it while full term, basically just days before delivery. It’s still in great shape and I will use it for my future pregnancies as well.
Something to keep in mind is that it can be HARD TO GET. I was on a waiting list for months before I got mine because they don’t always seem to be in stock. So if you want it, act fast.