bike riding when pregnant? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Any articles linked would be appreciated! How safe is it to ride a bike when pregnant? My dp "just" fixed mine, and the mw wants me to exercise, but what if I fall? I know in some countries this is the main source of transport, so I assume that pregnant women there ride their bikes for some time in pregnancy, but I still am nervous about it?
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#2 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 02:29 PM
 
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I never found any articles about the safety, but I decided to do what felt safe to me. I used to commute to work by bike, but stopped when I got pregnant because the route was too high-traffic for me to feel like I wasn't putting the baby in danger (In my commuting days, I had some near-misses with cars that caused me to literally *jump off my bike* to avoid getting hit). I also switched from drop bars to a more upright position because it is more comfy with my growing belly.

But I am still biking. I'm using residential streets with few cars, the sort you could let a 10 year old bike alone on. I'm not worried about falling, yet. If I find my balance is starting to go, I'll stop biking. My midwife advised me that for all types of exercise I should avoid getting winded-- like if I can't speak normally while pedaling, I need to stop and let my heart-rate go back down. If I sound like I'm working out, it is too hard.

So, yes, there are pregnant women biking, but I think you have to decide what you feel comfortable with. If there is a different kind of exercise that you think you'd feel better about, do that. Not doing any exercise at all is probably the most dangerous option.

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#3 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If there is a different kind of exercise that you think you'd feel better about, do that. Not doing any exercise at all is probably the most dangerous option.
At this point I am swimming and playing badminton. I don't like jogging at all, so was looking for some other safer options.
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#4 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 02:49 PM
 
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I bike. I am 23 weeks and haven't been on my bike for a week and a half or so, but I have been pulling my 2yo dd in her trailer on my bike. I will do it until it becomes uncomfortable or I am worried about my balance. I definitely get winded/tired legs more easily, but I just take it easy.

I haven't been told to avoid getting winded, so I don't worry about that too much, but I do make sure not to push it too much whether I'm working, walking, biking, playing with my two-year-old, or swimming.

As far as other safe exercise goes, walking at least a mile is great for strengthening your pelvic floor and keeping in shape. I used to jog some because I like it, but it's been quite a while since i stopped because the baby was squishing my bladder too much with every step!

You could also consider tai chi or yoga as safe, gentle exercise options.
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#5 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 04:10 PM
 
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I'm biking as well at 23 weeks.

The way I see it, I'm more likely to trip and fall walking than to fall off my bike (I'm awful bad at walking and trip over my own two feet quite often), and the distance to the ground is the same in both instances. That baby's got a lot of cushion around it.

I always stay off the busy roads and try to stay on bike trails if possible. And as always, wear a properly fitted helmet.

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#6 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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I'm nearly 37 weeks and my belly is pretty big, and today I rode with my kids to the playground. I've been riding here and there the entire time, sometimes with the bike trailer. I haven't noticed my balance being any different.

I avoid roads with traffic, we take quiet roads or bike paths. I think the danger of being hit (pg or not pg) is higher than me losing my balance.
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#7 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 09:09 PM
 
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I biked to work to the end of all my pregnancies (40 weeks), including in icy conditions in the winter. I never had a doctor say anything negative about it, they were thrilled I was getting regular exercise (AMA was my only risk condition). I did have to raise the handlebars at the end to make my seating more upright to have space for my stomach. It was easier than walking! All the normal rules applied: stick to roads you feel comfortable, wear reflective clothing and make sure your brakes work well (but then, these are things you want to do anytime ).
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#8 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 09:15 PM
 
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I rode mine a few times in the beginning of this pregnancy and swore I'd keep it up but I haven't been on it since sometime in early April. Now there's no way I'd attempt it.

Proud *single* mom to 3 amazing kiddos
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#9 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 09:18 PM - Thread Starter
 
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AMA was my only risk condition
I don't know what AMA stands for
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#10 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 09:34 PM
 
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"Advanced Maternal Age" ? I think

Kaya (29) + Laume (31) = ds Kanoa (8) and dd Zia (2)

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#11 of 21 Old 06-26-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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I was told to stop bicycling with my first pregnancy, but I consider that bad advice. Too bad I followed it At the time, I was biking 150+ miles a week and I dropped to zero. They cited changes in balance and a risk to the baby if there is a fall (placental abruption, etc). I was sufficently scared. A rotten 1st trimester encouraged the end too. But, I was also not biking at a very leisurely pace so a sudden stop/fall might have had actual consequences. Nevermind I only stopped abruptly once in the 1,000 miles I rode that summer. Bah.

With this pregnancy, I would bike off streets as we have a lot of trails around here. But there are a lot of car/bike accidents on roads in this town. I am NOT willing to take that risk.
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#12 of 21 Old 06-27-2009, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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"Advanced Maternal Age" ? I think
Oh gotcha! I am 33, so I don't qualify for that yet, except you should have heard the OB explaining WHY I ovulate so late.. she made me feel like I was 80!
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#13 of 21 Old 06-27-2009, 01:32 AM
 
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I grew up in an area with tons of bicycling (where you'd routinely see 9-mos pregnant ladies with a toddler in the bike seat) so the idea that cycling isn't safe for pregnant women strikes me as sort of odd. BUT, I imagine that it has a lot to do with your comfort level with the activity. If you feel really comfortable on your bike and traffic in your area is well-suited to bicycling, I can't imagine why it would be an off-limits activity. For instance, the argument that your center of gravity changes as you get bigger seems to me to only really be applicable if you're not that comfortable on your bike to begin with.

The only thing I can think of is that for most women, an upright position is probably more comfortable than being bent over the handlebars?

Enjoy your bike!

Science-loving mama to one little guy (11/09).
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#14 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 12:11 AM
 
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I'm totally comfy on my comfort bike. I ride on calm roads during not busy times. I'm one of those nine month pregnant people that still ride. For me, I'm not worried about balance, but I've always ridden. My center of gravity feels so low on the comfort bike that I could not imagine falling off. I'm sure it's possible, but to me, it doesn't feel likely. But, you should only due what you feel comfortable with. If you're worried about falling that probably won't help you ride comfortably. As someone else said on this post, the danger is much higher of being hit by a car than falling off a bike.

I've enjoyed biking throughout my pregnancy despite most people telling me that I shouldn't ride because I might fall. I won't take advice easily from people who don't exercise. Biking is more comfortable than the running I did most of my pregnancy although now, I am swimming and not biking or running because it has been over 90 degrees for more than 10 days now.

I would say, like the others here, you should do what you feel comfortable with. It doesn't matter if you find some article that says your chances of falling off are 2% during any given ride. What will that information do for you? Also, if you do decide to bike, as with any exercise while pregnant, you have to be more cautious to not push yourself too hard. Exercising is tougher being pregnant. Know yourself.

For example- yes, I can run 10 miles. But I kept it to a slow 3 miles at most while pregnant. Sometimes, I just did one. Some people they would tell me, books say you shouldn't run more than 2 miles. It's a book. It's not my body. The people talking shouldn't run 2 miles because they would collapse.

I've rambled enough. Know yourself and do only what you feel comfortable with. I would totally encourage you to exercise somehow though. I'm due next week and I've enjoyed a great pregnancy and even now I have energy and feel like I'm headed into labor in excellent condition. I happy to have chosen early on to make it a priority to exercise. It is definitely paying off. I hope you find a routine that works for you that you can stick with.
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#15 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 01:41 AM
 
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I just rode my bike today and was fine. I'm 28 weeks along.

Formerly known as "JessicaRenee".  hang.gif  Single mama to Jude (Sept '09)!  biggrinbounce.gif

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#16 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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My dh knew a woman from work (from Holland), who rode to the birthing centre on her bike. In labour. At 41 weeks.
She had one of those bikes when you are sitting almost straight upright.
Your centre of gravity changes, but it is gradual and if you are always riding regularly, I think you become accustomed to your new centre of gravity.

Kaya (29) + Laume (31) = ds Kanoa (8) and dd Zia (2)

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#17 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 03:56 PM
 
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When I lived in continental Europe and did not have a car, I biked until week 36 with my first baby.
Biking is a great low impact exercise, but the only problem is that if your belly is low, you need to bike with your legs open, and it looks pretty funny
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#18 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 06:37 PM
 
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I live in the Netherlands, where there are more bicycles than people, so I might have a skewed perspective on this one, but I don't see anything wrong with bicycling during pregnancy for as long as you're comfortable. I'm currently 38 weeks pregnant and still bicycling all around town. It certainly helps that I have a typical Dutch bicycle where you sit up straight rather than bending forward over the handlebars, as well as a nice, wide gel-filled saddle. I can imagine that a mountain bike or a racing bike would be a lot less pleasant. There are plenty of bike paths/lanes here and cars are used to looking out for cyclists, so I feel very safe and secure. So unless something changes, I'll probably be biking up until I go into labor! But I guess it depends on your individual situation...
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#19 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 06:42 PM
 
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the only problem is that if your belly is low, you need to bike with your legs open, and it looks pretty funny
Haha, so true! I was fine up until about week 37, but now the babe is "riding" quite low and I'm forced to bicycle with my knees out in order to accommodate my belly. It looks pretty silly, but it gets the job done.
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#20 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 09:28 PM
 
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My rule of thumb has been that I will continue doing anything as long as I feel safe and comfortable. I'm 24 weeks and still bike commuting to work a couple times a week--but again, I switched to a very upright comfort type bike, with a dropped bar in the middle so that I could step through since swinging my leg up and over was too unbalancing.

Mama to P. born at home 10/09, and W. born in the hospital 2/13

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#21 of 21 Old 06-28-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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I just biked 21 miles yesterday (on an upright, cruiser-style bike)! I agree with PP, know your capabilities and what you're comfortable with and enjoy!

I do have to say, I got quite a few curious and even some hostile looks from some pregnant ladies who were probably whispering to their husbands, "But my Dr. told me it's not safe to bike!"
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