A positive pregnancy test doesn’t mean you have to hang up your bike. It’s probably not the time to sign up for a rigorous race or increase training time, but cautious riding is a healthy and reasonable for experienced riders. Ignore those folks who tell you “You shouldn’t be riding; it’s dangerous”. Sure, there’s danger— but as an experienced rider you already know that, so thanks for sharing folks. There’s danger in crossing the street and driving a car too, so pedal on. Exercising will keep you fit and supple, elevate your mood and help prepare you for childbirth. We’ve put together a few suggestions to keep you in the saddle during your pregnancy:
Talk to Your Doctor or Midwife
Have a conversation with your primary health caregiver. Be upfront about the frequency and duration of your riding schedule.
Listen to Your Body
Each trimester will place new challenges on your body. Your comfort and energy levels will tell you when you’ve had enough. Don’t push yourself and don’t overheat. If you’re experiencing morning sickness (and sometimes it lasts all day), you’ll need to pack the cycling in until it passes. Drink plenty of fluids because you’ll lose a lot through sweat and urination. Speaking of urination, know where the washrooms are along your routes because you’re going to need them as your pregnancy progresses.
Set Realistic Goals
Forget about how far you could ride last month and pay attention to what feels right today. You don’t need to keep up with anyone. You may have to say goodbye to group rides as your pregnancy progresses. Enjoy solo rides and setting your own pace.
Adjust Your Bike
As your tummy expands your internal organs get cramped and you’ll feel uncomfortable leaning forward. Adjust your handlebars to a more upright position and breathing will get a whole lot easier. You might want to relieve your sit bones by adjusting your saddle or getting a wider saddle for comfort.
Change up the Clothes
In your third trimester that hardest part of your ride might be getting dressed. Choose clothing that you can get off and on with ease. Other parts of your body are growing, too. A supportive sports bra will help you feel more balanced on the bike.
Labored breathing, fatigue, loss of balance, nausea, dizziness, pounding in your chest and headache signal it’s time to pack it in for the day. When cycling is making you feel worse or it’s too much like hard work and no fun—stop!