Scotties Tournament of Hearts: Being pregnant doesn’t prevent Saskatchewan third from playing

In a field that includes some of Canada's best women curlers, Kara Johnston is being noticed, even though the third on the Saskatchewan rink has never before played at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts.

Johnston is pregnant. Not just a little pregnant. VERY pregnant. At over seven months her baby bump is more of a bulge.

The easy-going Johnston smiled when she was greeted by a crowd of media, mostly male, after her team defeated the NWT/Yukon 7-2 in Saturday's opening draw in Kingston, Ont. She shrugged when asked if she had any concerns about competing at the Scotties while in a family way.

"I've never been concerned," said the 36-year-old from Lloydminster. "My body has grown through the season. Everything has naturally progressed.

"I feel good out there. I feel better in a hack than tying shoes."

Learning your third is pregnant might cause some skips to shudder. But Saskatchewan skip Jill Shumay said she wasn't surprised when Johnston told her the news. The two women are cousins and Shumay also curled when she was pregnant.

"We're pregnant, not dying," said Shumay. It's all good.

"Your body slowly adjusts. It's not like you hop in the hack for the first time seven months pregnant."

Johnston already has girls aged eight and six, so she's gone this route before.

As a third, Johnston has to sweep but she hasn't noticed much difference even though she's carrying a passenger.

"I get looked at a little bit more," she said. "Once the game starts it's just like it has always been. You almost forget there is somebody else out there with you.

"As a rule the baby is very quiet during the game. I don't feel a whole lot of movement. I said the poor thing is either scared to death because I yell so loud or I have rocked it to sleep."

While she tries to keep things as normal as possible Johnston said curling pregnant does require some adjustments.

"I need to hit the washroom two or three times a game, that's probably one of the biggest challenges," she said.

"After the game I'm a little more hungry."

The major drawback? No beer after a game, as is one of curling's longest-standing customs.

"I'll just have water or milk," she said.

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