Cycling is a wonderful form of exercise, and you also get to explore the outdoors as you do so. However, can you ride a bike while pregnant?
Bike Riding While Pregnant - Is It Safe?
If you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, it's important that you don't overdo your activity levels.
That being said, research has shown that engaging in some exercise is good during pregnancy, as it has shown to alleviate some symptoms such as constipation, and leg cramps.
Should I Exercise During Pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women who are not currently exercising should start doing so at least 30 minutes per day 3 times a week.
This will help keep weight gain under control, reduce back pain, and increase energy levels.
The same goes for when you are pregnant, although it is important not to over-do it.
What Are Some Benefits Of Exercising While Pregnant?
Exercise helps with weight loss, which is great for both mom and baby.
Research shows that exercising during pregnancy may improve blood flow to the placenta, which could lead to less bleeding after delivery.
In addition, exercising during pregnancy can boost energy levels, decrease stress, and lower risk of gestational diabetes.
How To Stay Fit While Pregnant
It is recommended that pregnant women avoid high-impact activities like running, jumping, and lifting weights.
Instead, they should focus on low-impact exercises like walking, swimming, biking, and yoga.
The ACOG suggests that pregnant women try to walk briskly for 20 minutes three times a week. If you're feeling up to it, you can also work out with light weights or resistance bands.
What About Riding A Bike?
Research has shown that riding a bike is safe throughout pregnancy, but there are still things you need to be aware of.
For example, if you have any concerns about falling off your bicycle, you should consult your doctor before continuing to ride.
Also, if you feel dizzy when you stand up from sitting down, you should consider stopping until you feel better.
Is Biking Dangerous During Pregnancy?
Riding a bike isn’t dangerous for most people, but there are certain precautions that you should take, especially when you are pregnant.
Unfortunately, there is limited research on the topic, and while light cycling can be a good form of exercise for pregnant women, there is the risk of falling.
If you are an avid bike rider who is pregnant, and you don't want to give up your hobby, do not fear. As long as your doctor gives you the go ahead, you can continue to ride your bike.
Below are some extra precautions to think about, in order to ride your bike as safely as possible when pregnant.
Scale It Back
When you first become pregnant, your body undergoes many changes, including increased water retention.
Because of this, you might find yourself having trouble keeping up with your usual fitness routine.
Rather than trying to push through these changes, scale back your workout intensity by 10% or 15%.
If you are used to riding your bike for around 5 miles, then try scaling that back to around 1 or 2 miles when you are pregnant.
It is important to make sure you are comfortable when riding, and if you find your breathing is increasing a fair bit, then scale it back.
As you move further into your pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts forward. This normally happens after the first trimester.
This means that you will have more difficulty maintaining balance on your bike. If you notice that you are having trouble staying upright, you should stop and rest until you feel better.
Pregnant women, who were experienced riders beforehand, may not have too much of a problem.
However, if you find that your balance is not stable, it may be best to switch to a stationary bike or join a spin class.
Make Sure Your Seat Is Adjustable
Your seat height plays a big role in how much control you have over your bike. When you are pregnant, your pelvis expands, which makes it harder to sit comfortably.
To ensure you stay comfortable, adjust your seat so that it is at least two inches lower than its normal position.
You can also purchase a seat pad that helps support your bottom. Just remember to keep them clean!
Wear Proper Gear
You should always wear proper gear when you ride your bike. The main thing to look out for is whether your shoes fit properly.
Your feet are likely to swell during pregnancy, so it is best to size up on your cycling shoes when this happens.
The same goes for your baby bump. If your belly is growing so much that you are not comfortable on your regular bike, you can switch to a commuter bike or a mountain bike.
You could also adjust your handlebars, or switch to a bike that has handlebars that ensure you are more upright, rather than leaning forward.
Aside from these points, you should always wear a helmet and other protective gear such as elbow pads and shin pads when riding a bike, especially if you are pregnant.
Keep Yourself Hydrated
It is very easy to get dehydrated while exercising, especially when you are pregnant. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your workouts.
You can also take advantage of sports drinks to replenish any nutrients that you lose.
It is important to note that while you are pregnant, you will need more water than you normally would. This ensures that you and your baby are safe and healthy.
Make sure your bike has a drink holder with plenty of water, and be sure to plan your route with some stops where you can refill your bottle.
Ride With A Partner
Riding with a partner will ensure that if anything were to happen, there is something else there to help you out. This is especially the case when you are pregnant.
If you do not have anyone to help you out, consider joining a group ride.
These rides usually last between 30 minutes and an hour, and they give you the opportunity to talk to others about what you are going through.
They can also provide you with motivation to continue training.
If you are worried about falling off your bike, make sure that you wear a back protector. It is recommended that you buy one that fits snugly around your waist.
This way, if you fall, the impact will be absorbed by the protector instead of your body.
One of the most common problems that pregnant women face is overheating. As mentioned above, you need to drink more water to ensure that you do not become dehydrated.
But, you also want to avoid getting too hot.
To keep yourself cool, try wearing light-colored clothing, and use sunblock lotion. Also, make sure that you bring along a hat, sunglasses, and gloves.
Always make sure that you follow all safety precautions when riding a bike. For example, check the weather forecast before heading out, and dress in layers if it is going to be chilly.
Always check your bike is working properly before heading out.
In summary, cycling throughout your pregnancy is not only a great way to exercise outdoors, it is also good for your health, and the baby's health.
As long as you speak with your doctor beforehand, cycling while pregnant is perfectly safe.
However, this is only the case if you follow the appropriate safety precautions as we have mentioned in this article.