If you’re a fan of exercise and consider yourself a “fit-babe” the prospect of slowing down your fitness routine during pregnancy can put a damper in your mood for the next nine months. But, biking or cycling when pregnant is an extremely personal decision and it doesn’t have to be either/or.
In fact, you can ride all throughout your pregnancy without experiencing any challenges or complications. Of course, you may need to change your routes and avoid doing anything extreme that’ll require you to overexert yourself.
As long as you feel safe and balanced, your doctor will be more than happy to sign off on you biking through your pregnancy.
Of course, other women might choose to stop biking after falling pregnant or switch to stationary cycling instead.
How to Bike While Pregnant
If you’d like to keep biking when pregnant, here are a few useful guidelines to help you along:
1. Check How You Feel
This is very important. Listen to how your body responds to every pedal and forget about your previous cycling speed and intensity. This is not the time to try and beat previous records. If you’re going to keep cycling when pregnant then you should pay attention to your body and adopt a new pace.
Keep in mind that with each trimester you’ll need to make adjustments depending on how you feel. You might feel exhausted and nauseous one time, and healthy, vibrant and energetic the next. The point is to listen to your body and slow down or stop when you need to.
2. Buy a New Bike or Adjust the Old One
Speaking of making smart choices, you should probably consider buying the best cruiser bike for women if the one you have doesn’t provide the right fit for your condition.
Or you can switch the racer setup with a swept-back handlebar instead, and get used to the saddle adjustments, because they’ll be very important to you in these coming months. Don’t use a budget folding bicycle though.
3. Don’t Wear Tight Clothes
Bicycling bib shorts are a game changer! They expand to adjust to your growing belly while providing added layers that’ll make it easier to adapt to temperature changes.
4. Drink a Lot of Water
You probably drank a lot of water before you were pregnant, but now is the time to double down on this healthy habit.
Yes, you’ll need to urinate more often, but that’s a small price to pay for being otherwise comfortable and keeping your electrolyte levels high in spite of all the sweating.
5. Don’t Get Too Hot
Keeping in mind that the whole process of gestation is centered around growing a little human means that you should pay closer attention to your body temperature than ever before.
Keep yourself cool while exercising by keeping a cool handkerchief around your neck or inside your bicycle pouch. Try to exercise in the cooler hours of the day, which is usually in the morning and early evening.
6. Plan for Bathroom Breaks
Since you’ll need the bathroom more often than usual, you should plan your rest spots and make sure they have access to restrooms before you start cycling.
Pregnancy is not the time to try and figure out how long you can hold it. Your pelvis is not what it used to be (and probably won’t be ever again) so deal with it and make smart choices.
7. Keep a Steady Pace
Experts suggest keeping a “conversational” pace instead of stressing out over max heart rates.
This means you should maintain a low cycling cadence that allows you to hold a discussion comfortably. If not, then you should dial it back a bit and make sure you get a bicycle bell as well.
8. Wear a Comfortable Bra
In addition to your tummy, the bust area will see some considerable growth in the coming months. That’s why you’ll need a supportive and comfy bra if you plan on biking when pregnant.
9. Start Slow After Giving Birth
Yes, you’ve delivered your baby, but this doesn’t mean that you should hit the toughest trail in town or increase cycling speed to make up for all the ‘sissy’ work you did while pregnant.
Give your postpartum body some time to tighten up loosened connective tissues and ligaments. Most importantly, do like we suggested in the beginning and listen to your body.
10. Don’t Have Any Expectations
You might go into this with all sorts of expectations and plans. But, we’re here to let you know that you might as well throw them all out the window.
When it comes to pregnancy and parenting, the best way to avoid frustration is to simply take things one day at a time and celebrate the small victories. Make sure you get the right bicycle accessories as well.
How to Cycle in Different Pregnancy Trimesters
Here’s what you should know:
The first 12 weeks of pregnancy is usually when the fetus is doing the most to establish its place inside the womb. That’s why this is considered a high-risk period for miscarriage.
You can still cycle during the first trimester but you should take it slow and listen to signs like morning sickness and fatigue that might require you to take a break.
Whatever you do, never cycle off-road while pregnant, due to the bumps and jolts involved which might cause injury and complications.
The second trimester carries the least risk for a miscarriage. Usually, the nausea and tiredness have gone too, which means you should have loads of energy to comfortably start cycling when pregnant.
Because cycling is a form of exercise, it’ll help you stay supple and limber, thus strengthening your ability to deal with the extra weight.
Just don’t overdo it because you have all this extra energy. The risk of falling and injury is still there if you fail to pay attention.
So, listen to your body and remember to keep that “conversational pace.”
The third trimester is your heaviest in terms of weight so it might be a bit difficult to stay as active as you were in your second. You’ll most likely experience a bit of shortness to breath and it’s harder to do simple things like leaning over the handlebar.
However, if you have a Dutch-style hybrid bike then you won’t have to lean over your stomach. You should also consider getting a two seater bike with a wider saddle especially if you have hemorrhoids.
Most importantly, if you don’t feel up to it for any reason, simply stop biking for the final trimester and take it up again a few weeks after giving birth.
Biking when pregnant shouldn’t be rocket science and it’s not necessarily dangerous either. Not unless you have a medical condition that prevents you from being active.
Otherwise, observing the right safety methods means you can keep cycling well into your third trimester to enjoy a fit and healthy pregnancy.