By Melody Lauer, reprinted with permission
These days, due to advanced sensitivity in home pregnancy tests, women are finding out earlier than ever that they are pregnant.
I found out I was pregnant with my first at about 3 1/2 weeks which was the same for this pregnancy.
At that early in the pregnancy there is usually very few, if any, symptoms. Perhaps a little breast tenderness, bloating or nausea but in general the symptoms are usually very mild and almost nothing needs to change in the way of dress and carry.
If you are not new to carrying and have already decided to carry a gun during your pregnancy and if you carry around the waist (which is the most popular place to carry) and find yourself to be feeling especially bloated and uncomfortable feel free to unbutton that top button on your jeans and loosen a notch on your belt. A cautionary note would be to make sure your holster is providing proper retention if the belt or waist-band is loosened and that it's not to loose to the point where you can't draw your firearm smoothly and effectively.
If applicable, you may also want to invest in a pair of pants that are one size larger than what you would normally wear. Let's face it, you aren't going to be getting any skinnier in the next 36 weeks so you might as well spend as much time as you can being comfortable and you may find that that one-size-up pair of pants will be your best friend post postpartum (at least until you get back to your pre-pregnancy size and weight). A better fitting pair of pants will also be easier to carry in.
Switching to another method of carry is also an option, if only temporarily. Ankle carry, fanny pack, shoulder or even purses are all options for the pregnant mother provided care is taken to make sure your firearm is secure against unauthorized persons gaining access to said firearm.
It's also a good idea to keep track of what is developing with your baby each week. Pay close attention to any ultrasounds you receive and ask lots of questions. Knowing the exact stage of development for your unborn child can help you better gauge when noise may become a factor in stopping shooting or training.
Right now, according to babycenter.com there is a lot going on in your uterus during this time including fertilization, implantation and the development of everything from the placenta, amniotic sac and the organs that will eventually be your baby. Hormones are churning. This is a delicate time for you and your little one and getting enough rest and making sure emotions remained control are crucial for everyone much less those who carry firearms. Being able to keep a cool head and think with a clearly are important. Sometimes the increased fatigue and changes in the body can cause dizziness, forgetfulness or extreme mood swings which can have devastating results when firearms are involved. Be sure to talk to your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe as they could be related to much deeper problems that he or she might be able to help you stabilize. As your body goes through these changes keep evaluating yourself and your decision to be armed and your physical and emotional ability to carry a gun.
If you feel you need to put the guns away until you feel more stable, don't let anyone tell you that you are making the wrong decision. If that is your decision, however, remember that pregnancy is a vulnerable time for a woman and consider replacing your firearm with some other tool of self defense such as pepper spray or even a stun gun.
You may have just found out your pregnant. You may have also just started to "feel" pregnant or have symptoms of your pregnancy such as morning sickness, extreme fatigue, breast tenderness, etc.
Whether you are experiencing these things or not, if you have decided to continue to carry a firearm throughout your pregnancy this is the perfect time to start thinking ahead to the next nine months and what it might mean for you.
Right now you may still be able to wear a belt and feel comfortable doing so. You may even carry in a shoulder holster, a thigh holster or ankle holster and feel confident in your choice, but now is the time to recognize that these things are going to change. There is going to come a time when a belt is no longer an option, when a thigh holster (especially a good one which is kept from sliding down the leg via a garter around the weight) is inaccessible and an ankle holster is unreachable. Even thunderwear holsters that are hung around the waist below the belly are going to be extremely hard to access around your protruding belly.
It's safe to assume that everything from the waist down is going to be uncomfortable or inaccessible (especially in the immediate time frame you are going to need it if needed for self defense). It's time to think of alternate options and try them out while you still have the means to carry in the method that you trust and are comfortable with...
Your best options are going to be carry methods utilized above the waist or off body carry methods. A few to consider are as follows:
Research the options and consider what might work best for you. Since some of these holster options might take some time to order and arrive you may want to consider purchasing that holster option for later down the road (keeping in mind your growing body) and try it out so that when it comes to the time when you HAVE to carry in that new method you are already comfortable with it and don't have readjust. Who knows, you might even find something you love even when not pregnant!