One of the things that most people love about escape rooms is the black box of mystery – will there be multiple rooms? Actors? Plot twists? You just don’t know what you’ll encounter!
When playing escape rooms while pregnant, you’ll need to sacrifice a little bit of that mystery for your own safety. And that’s completely okay. What you trade in surprises, you make up for in peace of mind. You’ll need to be your own advocate in order to book escape rooms that are a good fit for you.
I played more than 60 escape rooms while pregnant – some during each trimester. While there was no consistent formula for having a good time, here are my tips for planning, preparing, and playing escape games while you’re pregnant.
If I hadn’t taken these notes, I would not have recalled most of these points because, well, life shifted back to normal remarkably quickly after having the baby. For most people, these physical quirks that you experience fade away and are quickly forgotten. For those of you still in the thick of it…
You Need Medical Clearance
I am not a doctor. Make sure to check-in with your doctor about your ability to play escape rooms. Open the conversation with what an escape room is, and ensure that your doctor understands that these games can be more involved than just one room with some locked cabinets.
Discuss moving, shaking, climbing, crawling, darkness, standing for long periods of time (and anything else you can think of) alongside your potential limitations.
Planning an Escape Room
It’s always a good idea to chat with the escape room employees before entering the escape room, whether you call in advance of booking or arrive a bit early to the booking to discuss limitations.
Always Ask About Motion & Shaking
One thing that more and more escape rooms use for an element of surprise is unexpected movement, shaking, or vibration in a room. Now, it may be minimal or it may be earth-shattering lurches, but be your own advocate.
Warning signs of movement include themes with movement (trains, planes), or changes in the set, like a step up to enter, where a mechanism might easily be under the floor.
Ask the staff if there is something like this that you will encounter in the experience, and ask how you can avoid that segment or step out. If they hesitate with how to answer the question, tell them that you are okay with spoilers if you could just see a demonstration of it when you arrive. Err on the side of caution for this one especially!
If the staff insist on being coy about these things, that probably means that they aren’t telling you about something important. This happened to me and I was both lucky and glad that I didn’t back down.
Not Every Escape Room is For You
Whether it be for movement or shaking, or pure physical obstacles, there are escape rooms that simply may not be possible for you to participate in fully while pregnant. When asking about physical obstacles, I found it helpful to differentiate between “all players” and “one player.” For example, if one player has to crawl through a narrow passageway (but then they can open a door for everyone else), it was no big deal for someone else to do the crawling.
In one instance, we played a game that involved bending and manipulating your body (while restrained) through incredibly tight spaces and scaling an eight-foot tall wall. While I was able to participate in some aspects of puzzling, I had to opt out of a lot of the game. If you’re picking an escape room to go out and experience with friends, you may find more joy in one where you’re not forced to hang back.
Choose The Right Teammates
In short, try not to play escape rooms with jerks. Besides the crawling and climbing mentioned, things will pop up during an escape room that may make you need a bit more of your teammates’ support than normal, and it will be optimal if the individuals that you are playing with are understanding and supportive.
Communicate Limits & Requests To Your Teammates
There are a lot of actions that may be more challenging for you, such as bending over for long periods of time to input combinations into locks on the floor. Don’t hesitate to ask your teammates for support and take a moment before you begin to ask the people you’re playing with for a bit of grace if you need it. If possible, share this post with your teammates in advance of playing an escape room so that they know what you may be tackling.
Day Of Preparation
Dress For Comfort
Escape rooms in general aren’t an activity that tolerates dresses very well – you just don’t know what awaits you. However, when you’re pregnant, it’s not a terrible idea to dress like you would to attend Thanksgiving dinner… comfortable, loose-fitting, and forgiving clothes.
Nosebleeds Are A Thing
Even if you have never experienced them in your life before being pregnant, nosebleeds are an ever-present, annoying risk that strike when you least want them to (such as in the last ten minutes of a phenomenal escape room… speaking from experience). Do yourself a favor and throw some tissues in your pocket. If you don’t use them, you don’t use them, but the sudden, dawning realization that you need one and don’t have one is… unfortunate.
Clarify Exit Doors
You may have to step out of the escape room at some point – to use the restroom, for a nosebleed, or for whatever other purpose your body dreams up that day. Make sure you know in advance which door to exit out of.
Ask For A Chair
This probably will not be relevant until later in your pregnancy, if it is at all. Lower back pain and being on your feet for long periods of time may become uncomfortable for you as the hour stretches on.
If you think mobility may be an issue, ask the staff in advance if there are natural opportunities to sit in the room (perhaps there is a couch or chair already built into the experience). If there is not, ask that a chair be brought in for you to use as necessary. Staff will usually bring it in and place it in a location that they know will not impact game flow.
During the Escape Room
Beware of Darkness & Hazards
Your center-of-balance may be already off with a growing baby bump. Don’t make it worse by purposely stumbling through dark spaces. Watch out for uneven floors or props a teammate left out of place.
If a gamemaster leads you into a space blindfolded, it’s okay to peek and look down at your feet while you walk so you don’t fall, I promise.
Crawling & Climbing Are Someone Else’s Job
Some of the more physical aspects of escape rooms are often set up so that the entire team doesn’t have to complete them – just one or two brave souls. As mentioned above, let someone else step up to shimmy on their stomach underneath laser beams or clamber up onto a giant robot. And if there is way to walk around – don’t feel badly about taking it.
Listen To Your Body: Your Needs Will Change
As you progress throughout the nine months, or even day-to-day, what you’re able to do and feeling up for may change rapidly. Keep checking in with yourself and don’t be afraid to call it quits on escape rooms for a bit if you’re not up to the challenge. Personally, that point for me came with about a month and a half to go. I knew in my heart of hearts that I was tapped out after walking out of my last room.
Your Experience May Vary
My pregnancy experience isn’t the be all, end all… everyone is impacted differently. If you have other experiences or takeaways to share, please leave them in the comments.
Finally, and most importantly, always remember to first discuss this with your doctor. Go overboard on communication – with your doctor, teammates, and the staff. You are your strongest advocate.