I got fussed at recently by a male hunter who read a piece I'd written about hunting when pregnant. According to him, I had needlessly risked the health of my unborn baby by continuing to turkey hunt while pregnant. For many, hunting and pregnancy don’t seem to jive. For this reason, you won’t find any stores selling maternity hunting clothing, and you’ll find very little written advice when it comes to hitting the woods with a bun in the oven.
A friend of mine recently expressed her concerns about hunting when/if she became pregnant. As an avid hunter and outdoorswoman, she is worried about her limitations. I completely understand. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I actually cried. Not because I didn’t want the baby, but because I worried that my outdoor pursuits would have to cease while I incubated my baby.
I felt certain my doctor would make me cancel my pending turkey hunts. Much to my surprise, she not only diminished my fears, but encouraged me to continue with my hunts. She explained that I’d be in my second trimester, which is a safe time to travel and hunt. She explained that as long as I used common sense and was careful not to fall or overexert myself, there was no reason not to go hunting. And she explained that the baby is so well insulated within the womb that a few gunshots wouldn’t affect its hearing.
Despite my doc’s go-ahead, I got some flak from friends, family and even strangers for continuing with my planned hunts. I appreciated their concern, but felt I would be just fine if I followed my doc’s advice. I ended up hunting more during that pregnancy and during my second pregnancy four years later than I did when I wasn’t pregnant, and I had more success to boot. In fact, one of my most memorable hunts involved killing a four-bearded gobbler during a freak snowstorm when I was four months pregnant.
My third pregnancy was a different story. At my six-week ultrasound, my jaws dropped when the ultrasound tech told my husband and me that we were having twins. After speaking with my doc about what was now considered a high-risk pregnancy, we both agreed that I should stay out of the woods for the duration of the pregnancy. In a sense, it was my original nightmare-come-true. But, by that time, I understood that the following months would fly by, and I would be out in the woods again in no time. The twin pregnancy was uneventful until my 30th week. I went into pre-term labor and ended up on hospital and home bed rest for an entire month before delivering my babies at 34 weeks gestation. They were both healthy and required little time in the NICU.
So, I’ve made it through three pregnancies – two low-risk, which allowed me to continue to pursue game and one high-risk pregnancy, which kept me home bound and hoping for healthy babies.
So, have any of you ladies hunted when pregnant? Have any good pregnant hunting stories to share? Anyone try to convince you not to go hunting? Men, do you have any problem with your wife hunting when she’s pregnant?