You love to ride bicycles during pregnancy, but you are now expecting a new member in your life who might also love to ride a bicycle.
Now, you’re in a dilemma about whether to continue or to give up your love and lose your fitness. No, you can be sure you don’t have to do that.
You can benefit immensely if you continue riding a bicycle during your pregnancy. Though most of you won’t be able to ride for the entire pregnancy, you probably will be able to for quite a long time, if you are already an avid cyclist.
But there are some issues, which you must take into consideration if you want to continue cycling during pregnancy. While it is okay to ride a bicycle during pregnancy, you need to know the following:
- Talk to your physician before starting
First of all, keep in mind that your body is now completely changed. You should always be cautious and it is better to consult your doctor if you need to.
It is safe and quite beneficial, but you need to take precautions before you kick-off. So, a gynecologist or midwife is in the right position to check you to determine if it best suits your condition.
For this reason, always remember before going for bicycle riding, it is better to consult your physician and ask for advice.
- Know the adequate calories during pregnancy
During pregnancy, you need to have an additional 300 calories every day. If you are riding even a short distance then you’ll need 500 calories for even a short ride.
In the first three months of pregnancy, the right amount of calories for pregnant women that weigh normal is 1,800 per day for the baby’s nutrition.
During the second trimester, which is at six months, 2,200 calories are required every day for normal-weight pregnant mothers; and then, the required daily calories during the third trimester is about 2,400 calories.
Therefore, moderate-intensity exercise like cycling will neither harm you nor your baby, but you need to ensure that you have adequate calories required for a pregnant woman.
- Your balance can be affected
Cycling is a wonderful low-impact aerobic exercise, but you will still need to take care if you are cycling while pregnant.
This is because your center of gravity will begin to shift starting around four months gestation, causing balance problems.
You might suffer from balance problems and “placenta brains” including forgetfulness and klutziness (clumsiness – a temporary pregnancy effect that causes a shift in the center of gravity, which normally throws pregnant women off balance).
As the bump keeps growing, so the balance of a pregnant woman begins to go off. At this time, you can stay off the bicycle to avoid tumbling on it to hurt the baby.
Therefore, from the very beginning, you should avoid sharp turns and always avoid staying too close to anybody’s wheels, if you are riding in a group.
- Avoid any kind of crash
Please don’t fall. But even if that crash happens normally the baby is not hurt unless your injury is bad.
To be on a safer side, it’s advisable to stick to wide paths while cycling or even terrain, and avoid descents or cycling as a group that can easily cause a crash.
Again, avoid clipless pedals so that it will be easy to get on and off the bike safely. You can choose to ride a hybrid with wide tires for greater stability.
But immediately consult a doctor if you experience a decrease in fetal movement, tender or painful uterus, uterine contractions, and fluid leaking, or bleeding.
It is always an intelligent step to avoid rough terrain. Better, ride on smoothly paved roads to avoid an accidental discharge that may cause complications.
- Don’t go cycling because pregnancy put you off shape
Don’t decide to learn cycling because you are not in shape, and want to exercise during pregnancy, because it requires balance, which lacks in pregnant women.
It is normal to feel clumsy, and go out of shape during pregnancy. So, it was never a good cyclist before getting pregnant, don’t just do so because you want to get in shape.
If you don’t know how to cycle, please do not try that during pregnancy to avoid hurting yourself or the baby. You will definitely get your shape back after pregnancy, instead of learning during pregnancy to get in shape.
Always have in mind that it is normal to go out of shape during pregnancy. It is healthy as well, so don’t hurt yourself or your baby.
- Always stay hydrated, even after cycling
You must remember one thing. You have to stay hydrated always while riding during pregnancy. This is because your body needs to make amniotic fluid for your baby, and that takes more water than you normally need.
Moreover, you tend to sweat more during pregnancy and thus lose fluids. Furthermore, even when you stop cycling, you need to stay very well hydrated so that you don’t let your levels of oxytocin get too high, causing contractions.
Normally, pregnant women need water more than the average people. Staying hydrated always helps pregnant women to form amniotic fluid for several purposes, such as building new tissues, producing extra blood, and carrying nutrients to other parts of the body.
- Carry a heart rate monitor
Carry a heart rate monitor while you’re riding. If your pulse rate exceeds 140 beats per minute, stop riding immediately.
You must also stop riding if you are out of breath from talking because that also proves you are tired and might have complications if you continue. Remember, if you are short of breath, so is your baby.
That is why you should track your heartbeat to ensure that it’s appropriate. Obstetricians recommend that the normal heart rate during pregnancy should be less than 140 beats per minute.
A personal heart rate monitoring device can help you achieve this. In this way, you can decipher how hard you are working out on the bike.
- To sit straight while riding, use raised handlebar stem
If you want to sit straight on the bicycle, then raise the handlebar stem up as far as possible. Try tilting the seat down a little to see if that will shift some of your weight to your arms and away from your pelvis.
If you feel too much strain on your back, you might even try using a longer stem. This will make you feel more comfortable on the bicycle.
Know that you can always adjust handlebar stem to suit you. You can lower it or raise it for your comfort to avoid straining any part of the body.
- Put on clothes that fit you
You might go for a bigger t-shirt and shorts that fit. If you find feet are swelling then stop wearing regular athletic shoes and switch to a platform pedal.
Find the best maternity cycling clothing suitable for cycling during pregnancy. Source for the best, supportive apparel that will give you conform while riding.
Some of the suitable clothing for cycling during pregnancy include: oceanlily insert waist short, proper cycling jersey made fit for bump belly, and other range of comfy clothing that can support your bump.
- Try a recumbent bicycle
You can also try the option of riding a recumbent bicycle, which would take some of the pressure off your pelvis, but starts to soften as the pregnancy progresses, possibly causing you pain.
A recumbent bicycle is a bicycle that places the rider in a laid-back reclining position.
Also, you could try riding on a stationary trainer to gain control over environmental factors. This will help to keep your heart rate down and you won’t crash!
- Take it stage by stage
Take the cycling exercise trimester by trimester to give yourself time and space. If you cycle during the first 3 months of pregnancy and notice complications, you can stop or get advice from the midwife.
You will keep noticing a sea of change and different feelings at each trimester. In some cases, you might feel pretty fine, on the other hand, you might not just feel like yourself.
99% of pregnant women usually feel nauseous and tired during the first trimester, and it can seem counterintuitive to go cycling at this stage. Do not get on the bike, if you just don’t feel like yourself.
While going for bicycle riding during pregnancy is good, it is extremely perfect to do that in the first three months of your pregnancy. However, the points mentioned above will guide you through your cycling adventure to avert all kinds of complications.