Pregnant and want to hike through those same woods for your exercise, health and overall wellbeing? Not so much.
A viral thread from a U.S. mom-to-be about the lack of maternity outdoor wear has highlighted a very-real issue: active-wear for pregnant people mostly consists of yoga pants better suited for a leisurely neighbourhood stroll or popping into the gym. Those looking for actual outdoor gear are mostly SOL.
And, as Kasie Hunt so eloquently puts it: "This is an absolute joke."
Hunt, an MSNBC News anchor, tweeted Tuesday that she was looking for some "basic maternity outdoor clothes" for an upcoming trip, and was extremely disappointed with what she found.
"Turns out, most outdoor retailers try to carefully maintain a rugged, masculine image. Pregnancy is apparently not part of that," Hunt said.
WATCH: Pregnant exercise tips. Story continues below.
In the thread, she added that her searches at several prominent outdoor gear stores such as Patagonia and REI came up short.
"There are a few small companies — like @MountainMama — that get it," Hunt said. "But otherwise it's pretty obviously: Dudes are making outdoor clothes for other dudes. Thanks, but no thanks."
Are things any different here in Canada, where we value exploring our rugged landscape as much as our maple syrup?
We couldn't find anything for maternity or pregnancy on the MEC website. Online searches for maternity or pregnancy-wear at SAIL, the "outdoor equipment superstore," also came up short. Ditto at Mountain Warehouse, Atmosphere, Altitude Sports, Cabela's and Sporting Life.
A search through the active-wear lines at Thyme Maternity, Motherhood Maternity, Gap, and Old Navy will keep a pregnant woman in all the leggings, sweatshirts, and yoga pants she needs, but there are very few options for any moms-to-be looking for base layers, hiking-appropriate jackets, or who might want to try some cross-country skiing.
The best option we could find for outdoorsy preggos in Canada? The "make my belly fit" jacket extender.
The global maternity apparel market is expected to become a $7-billion industry by 2023, according to Report Buyer. And there's an increased demand for activewear, the report adds. Meanwhile, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada recommend most pregnant women get about 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
So where is the outdoor gear for pregnant folks who want to hit the trails?
Hunt's viral thread isn't the first time this question has been asked. "This is a massive issue," Outside Magazine online managing editor Abigail Wise tweeted Tuesday.
In March, the magazine published an article that called on gear manufacturers to "tap into the growing market of high-performance maternity apparel."
"An active outdoor lifestyle doesn't end with pregnancy," the article notes.
And in 2018, Amy Montemerlo Roberts published a story in Fortune where she called out outdoor clothing manufacturers for all the options they have for base layers, wind shells, and hiking pants — for men.
"Here's a newsflash for industry reps: pregnant and nursing outdoorswomen like to do those things too. We're not fragile creatures, we can do pretty much everything we did before we got pregnant, and we shouldn't have to cobble together outfits of ill-fitting clothes for months on end," Roberts wrote.
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