Is It Safe To Ride A Bike During Pregnancy?

Ride A Bike During Pregnancy

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‘Are you thinking of biking as one of the coolest forms of exercises to take up during pregnancy? Do not take the challenge without carefully understanding how cycling impacts pregnancy.

Things To Consider:

Biking is a personal choice to opt in pregnancy. One of the best ways to curb the usual morning sickness like nausea is biking. It can help in boosting the energy levels and create a healthy lifestyle. However, there are a few things to consider before riding the bike during pregnancy.

1. Seek Your Doctor’s Permission:

If you are considered to have a high-risk pregnancy, your doctor may not consider it a good idea to suggest biking for you as a form of exercise. But in most other cases, biking or cycling is a safe option.

2. Decide On The Route And The Weather:

If you have decided on biking, you won’t want to strain yourself by opting for very crowded roads. Re-route your rides to dedicated bike lanes or fewer crowded roads. Also, avoid busy intersections to reduce t

he riding stress. You would not want to ride on a chilly day with leaves on the road, gravel, snow or ice on the streets.

[ Read: Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy ]

3. Your Comfort Is Important:

While you select your bike, choose an upright-seated bike. You can also make some changes in your existing bike and make it suitable to ride during pregnancy. It will add to the riding confidence despite the number of physical changes in your body.

4. Listen To Your Body:

Just because you have opted for biking, you needn’t stick to it every day. There can be those days in your pregnancy when you feel tired, dizzy or simply unwell. Do not take the bike during this time and opt for a different mode of travel like a bus. (1)

Benefits Of Bike Riding In Pregnancy:

Because cycling is a seated activity that actively works your heart and a variety of important muscles, cycling is a highly popular activity among pregnant Women. Here are some of the common pros associated with biking during pregnancy:

  • Biking keeps you fit, improves mood and self-image.
  • It ensures appropriate weight gain and reduces stress.
  • Increases muscle tone, strength, and endurance.
  • Helps build stamina for labor and speeds up the recovery period post childbirth.
  • A bike gets you where you want to go to, being both fast and reliable.
  • Riding a bike on a regular basis will save you a fortune on travel.
  • Best of all, it’s environment-friendly(2).

Cycling During Pregnancy- Guidelines:

Every pregnancy is different. While some women ride up to the eighth month of pregnancy; others stop after just a few days. There is no hard and fast rule. Still, it would be good to read the following guidelines while riding the bike. Bike riding during pregnancy can be a good idea.

  • While riding the bike, be mindful that with that extra weight you carry in pregnancy, it takes longer to stop while you apply the break.
  • Adjust the saddle and handlebars according to your increasing weight gain. It will ensure the proper distribution of your body weight on the bike.
  • Try to maintain an upright position while riding. You can do this by raising the handlebars according to the size of the enlarging stomach.
  • Stay hydrated to avoid overheating to avoid feeling hot.
  • Cycling can get strenuous. Pause when you feel the need to.
  • As the pregnancy progresses, the hips and knees will need to rotate outwards during cycling to accommodate the enlarging belly (3).

Risk Factors:

Cycling during pregnancy is less jolting to your body than many other sports, but it isn’t without risk if you are outdoors. Watch out for these risk factors while biking.

  • Biking can be a hard call. Don’t put yourself at a risk of falling or abdominal stretches (trauma).
  • Some doctors suggest riding a stationary bicycle as a better exercise option, for 20 weeks. The pelvis can no longer provide much protection to the pregnancy if you fall. It is also the time when the growing uterus causes an imbalance to the body’s center of gravity and in turn increases the chances of you to fall.
  • Watch out for “bottoming out,” the act of fully extending the knee while standing. Such an action can lead to hyperextension in pregnancy as there is already a laxity at the joints due to hormonal changes.

Tips For Biking Moms:

  • Take a cell phone during your biking, in case you fall and will be in need of assistance.
  • Wear bright and reflecting cycling gear to make sure you are seen.
  • If you are riding uphill, do not stand on the pedals. Also, if scaling the hills seems too tough, simply get off your bike and walk up the hill(4).
  • It will be better for even a serious cyclist to opt for a touring bicycle instead of a racing model during the last trimester(5).

Do not hesitate to choose cycling in pregnancy if that is what your heart yearns for But make sure you follow the safety guidelines. Which is your favourite form of exercise in pregnancy?

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