Should I Cycle While I Am Pregnant?
As people learn you are pregnant you will receive all kinds of advice, some good and lots bad. At the end of the day you have to do what is right for you, the golden rule: Listen To Your Body.
As long as you are able to stay safe, and avoid the risk of falling, then cycling can be a great exercise while pregnant.
Tips To Cycling While Pregnant
Instead of “Training” Think More “Fitness”
Your body is focused on growing a baby, it is not the time to increase training or even maintain previous training regimens; doing so will surely lead you to exhaustion and have a negative impact on the fetus. It is the time to focus on feeling happy and healthy. A general rule of thumb, bike as far as you feel like.
If you used to bike 60 miles in a day then 15 – 20 miles is reasonable. Make sure to decrease intensity along with the distance as well.
Be Careful Not To Fall
Take all the precautions you can in order to reduce the risk of falling! Mountain biking, unless on extremely flat and non-technical terrain, is not suggested especially during the first trimester as there is a higher risk of miscarriage. Road biking, commuting or riding a cruiser bike where the risk of falling is negligible is ok.
Take it slower than you are used to, unclip a second earlier than you may normally, don’t draft off anyone, stay away from the roads with the ridiculous amounts of potholes.
Listen to Your Body
Knowing when to not go for a ride or stopping early is even more important than knowing when to go for a ride. If you are exhausted or feel dizzy, or there is any other negative that is out of the norm why risk your baby for a simple ride?
Cycling Can Help With Morning Sickness
It is not a scientific fact, and each individual is different, but some women believe that cycling (or exercise in general) helps reduce morning sickness.
Bikefit While Pregnant
As your tummy grows, you will become more uncomfortable, that is just a fact; however, this is not something that needs to deter you from going for a ride. A bikefit when you are pregnant focuses on comfort first, and everything else last.
A few key areas to focus on are:
- Handle bars – raise them to get you in a more relaxed position and to reduce cramping
- New saddle – you may need a different saddle – think gel seats and wider platform
- New apparel – new shorts with added padding and larger waistline is advisable along with a new jersey.
Any Pain Stop
If there is any abnormal symptoms or pain at all stop immediately.
- Leg, chest or stomach pains
- Light headed or dizzy
- Have difficulty with balance
- Any vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
Benefits of Cycling While Pregnant
- Reduces tiredness, pains, aches, swelling, depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia.
- Makes you feel better about the changes that are happening in your body.
- Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
- Better prepares the body for the demands of labour.
- More likely to have a positive effect on overall mood.
Cycling in the Different Trimesters
During the first trimester you are likely very tired as you expend a lot of your energy into growing placenta. Try to go for a ride in the morning when you are likely more energetic, avoid long rides and know when to skip a day if you are exhausted.
The fetus is delicately attached to the womb, any violent falls would put your baby at great risk. You don’t want to fall at any time during the pregnancy; however, the first trimester is when you are at the highest risk of miscarriage. Follow the advice listed above that much more delicately.
You may have more energy in the second trimester, but make sure not to exhaust yourself by riding too much.
As you grow bigger, your organs will start to get compressed. Shortness of breath will be common, but make sure it does not get extreme. You will continually become more uncomfortable on (and off) the bike. A bikefit that is focused on comfort while you are pregnant is a must.
What Doctors Say
There are benefits to cycling while pregnant including: reducing tiredness, pains, aches, swelling, depression, anxiety, stress and insomnia. Major risks to reduce to ensure the fetus becomes a happy and healthy baby is that you take every care to reduce falling as well as to hydrate properly and not overheat. Reducing major stresses on your body should be your number one priority. If you experience any major dizziness, pain, shortness of breath or bleeding stop and consult a medical physician immediately.