Is It Safe to Bike When You're Pregnant?

As a soon-to-be mother with an active lifestyle, giving up on your daily physical activities can be hard to give up. You have your legacy’s life in the palm of your hands, and putting an infant at risk of any sort of danger usually sets off a common sense alarm. If you plan to bike while you’re pregnant, consider your limits, how to pace yourself, the inevitable lack of balance, and an indoor cycling substitution.

Know Your Limits

When deciding how much exercise to engage in while pregnant, you have to assess how active you were prior to the pregnancy. However long or fast your rides were, this will give you a benchmark to trim down from, since you shouldn’t pursue any personal records while in a fragile state such as pregnancy. Generally, keeping your daily activity at a moderate level of effort is suggested to keep physical stress from adversely affecting your little human. This is what most doctors will suggest nowadays, instead of the old heart rate limits used in the past.

Pace Yourself Throughout Your Pregnancy

At the beginning of your pregnancy, the chaotic flurry of hormones may discourage you from taking your daily bike ride. Nausea, fatigue, and rough morning sickness is bound to keep you down and out, though many soon-to-be mothers have found the exercise freeing from those bothersome hormonal changes. Usually that energy level returns to normal as the trimesters pass by, so you can start with minimal exercise and increase to moderate levels every several weeks. However as your vitality returns, your belly will be growing, posing a separate challenge for pregnant bikers.

Prepare for a Less Balanced Ride

As your belly continues to grow, your breathing capacity is sure to drop significantly if not moderately. Taking deep breaths won’t come so easy, especially if your route has some steep inclines.  After all, your lungs don’t have as much room to expand with a newborn on its way. Your balance will feel less stable too with the weight gain seen during pregnancy, meaning it’ll be more difficult to stay steady while biking – sharp turns won’t be as easy, and it’ll take longer to get going on a green light or to come to a stop when needed. Imbalance is possibly the most common obstacle for pregnant bikers to hurdle, so being mindful of it at every stop, go, and turn will make your rides that much safer.

The Recorded Benefits of Exercising While Pregnant

Though it’s not specific to the activity of biking, the American College of Sports Medicine’s health and Fitness Journal actually promotes low to moderate physical activity for pregnant women. Their study concluded that around two and a half hours of “moderate exercise” per week can serve to lower the risk of pregnancy complications.

However, it’s the risk of biking while pregnant which is at play, not the physical benefits – and experts actually suggest that long-time riders who’ve been biking for a solid portion of their life should keep doing what they’re doing. Indoor cycling is an option that’s vastly popular for pregnant exercise, for the obvious absence of risk from traffic, faulty turns, or simply falling over.

The possibility of falling forward and harming your precious cargo is a huge risk to consider, but it all depends on your knowledge of your limits, whether you can cut down the effort, and how you can handle an unbalanced ride.

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