How to Get Back on the Bike after Having a Baby
Pregnancy and childbirth are two of the most stressful periods for a woman’s body. It goes under a tremendous amount of change in nine months, and after labor, it needs to put itself back together the way it was before. Except that it may not be the same, depending on how difficult the birth itself was. Taking this into consideration, it’s expected that you won’t be entirely sure when to start being physically active again, especially if you see yourself as a cycling enthusiast. Cycling is more demanding than walking or light exercise, believe it or not, and we are going to show you just what to expect when easing back into it.
Before even trying to figure out when would be the optimal time to get back on your bike, you should be familiar with what exactly your body has undergone. If the labor was without complication, and natural, your uterus will still be swollen for some time after the whole process. The blood vessels will continue to excrete blood up to two weeks after labor, which can intensify under greater physical activity. And if you had a C-section, your stomach muscles will be too damaged to even take a flight of stairs without some difficulty. So the first step would be to inform yourself of just what your body is going through at this stage, and let it heal first.
Let your body heal
The strain your body endured takes some time to heal. You may feel great not even two weeks afterwards (depending on the severity of the labor), but truth of the matter is – you’re still healing. As mentioned previously, your uterus will most likely be swollen, and your cervix still sensitive. Which is why it would be best to consider relaxing and caring for the baby or children the first few weeks. Regular checkups with your doctor should provide a good sense of how soon you can be “back in the saddle”, so long as you mention it to them.
When it’s been some time, let’s say, up to four to six weeks, you might actually be feeling amazing. Furthermore, you could feel like you’re back to your old self, and ready to hop on the bike. And if you expect us to stop you at this point – we won’t. A big part of your return to cycling involves listening to your own body. Starting with a slow, easy ride will give you a solid idea on how far your body has come since birthing. And if you’re still feeling wary, light yoga or core exercises or swimming are extremely good opportunities to get your body used to additional activities.
As amazing as internet is with its slew of useful information, it can be just as damaging. You might be tempted to look up advice on losing weight soon after labor, and which rigorous diets will get your body fit, you should steer clear of them. Dieting while breastfeeding is a bad idea, and there can never be enough emphasis on the issue. Restarting your exercise regime will require another batch of calories on top of what you are already consuming due to breastfeeding. Instead of eating less, eat healthy: lean meats, nuts, plenty of vegetables, and don’t cower from taking that extra (but modest) serving. You will need it.
Tag-team – don’t feel guilty
Last, but not least – getting back to cycling requires more than just the physical health criteria to be satisfied. You will also be mentally drained, as having a baby in the house requires more emotional and psychological strength. If cycling is a way for you to recharge your batteries, than work out a deal with your partner. Once you are certain that you can handle being on the bike again, find a schedule that works for both of you. Leaving the baby for an hour, two to three times a week is not going to harm anyone. Additionally, ask around with friends, or find a cycling group you can join to enhance the enjoyment of that “alone” time, and maybe even look into finding a lighter, versatile bike. There are many options, and many bicycles for sale online.
Being eager to get back to your bike and weekly (or daily) cycling routines, you might feel impatient and hinder your body’s healing period. Consulting with the doctor in terms of the body’s recuperating “milestones”, and observing how it behaves in other day-to-day situations can help determine when you are ready. Forget dieting, intense exercising, and guilt for not being the way you were before. Give your body time to heal and repair from the arduous changes pregnancy brings, and ease yourself into the routine that brings you so much comfort.