The Ultimate Guide To Cycling While Pregnant
By: Chloe Smith
If you are pregnant, then you are probably already getting a lot of advice on what you should and should not do. Most of the advice is based on what you should stop doing and cut back on. However, one thing that you certainly shouldn’t avoid is exercise. Cycling is a great way to remain both healthy and in shape during your pregnancy.
However, the fact is that there are both benefits and dangers of this kind of exercise. There is a number of things that you need to have in mind if you want to take up cycling while carrying a baby. Worry not – in this article we are going to guide you through what is important.
The benefits and dangers
Keeping up with your cycling habits during pregnancy has a variety of benefits. It can help with a number issues that are common for this period, some of them being swelling, fatigue and varicose veins. Furthermore, by exercising you are reducing other negative effects, such as stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression. There is also the fact that a woman who exercises while pregnant is quite probably going to keep up that routine after having the baby. All this proves that it is much better to exercise than to maintain a sedentary lifestyle.
Of course, there are certain risks when cycling during pregnancy. Next to the obvious possibility of falling and hurting the foetus, there is also overheating, which can cause problems if it happens during the first trimester. In order to deal with this issue, you need to be properly hydrated, get cooler gear, and make sure not to cycle when it’s very hot outside.Another risk, even though small, is developing the condition of pre-eclampsia, which is determined by greater protein levels in urine and high blood pressure. In the case of not being taken care of, it can develop into eclampsia, which can have dangerous consequence both for the baby and the mother. It’s a rare occurrence, but should you experience the symptoms, you need to check with your doctor immediately.
The necessary tips
You need to keep your tiredness in mind, especially during the first trimester, when the placenta is being created. You will certainly feel more tired in this time, so it is essential that you don’t take long and hard routes. This specific tiredness will go away during later periods of pregnancy.
It is very important that you discuss your cycling routine with your doctor and midwife. Let them know all about your exercise plans. If you are given the advice to stop because of a medical reason, then you need to listen to it.
The bump will grow in the second trimester, so it might be necessary to adjust your bike accordingly. Move the saddle, and raise the handlebars so that you are seated in an upright position. This will make it easier for you to cycle. It is also a solution for back pain, which is a common problem during pregnancy. Pain can be avoided by cycling in the right position, but also by practicing some yoga.
Balance is another thing that can be affected by your pregnancy. This is bound to happen in the later stages when your bump grows, so if you are having trouble maintaining your balance when cycling, you might have to consider stopping and taking up a different kind of exercise.
It is very important that you plan your route. You might have been enjoying mountain-biking and hilly roads earlier, but now is the time to avoid these, and stick to safer paths. By choosing a safe road with little traffic, you can reap all the benefits of cycling during this period. Of course, you should also stick to common cycling practices such as having proper lights and a jacket that will make you visible to drivers.
Gaining weight during pregnancy is normal, but it may make it a little harder to be comfortable in your saddle. Therefore, you should make sure that you get a good pair of cycling shorts, and add some padding to the saddle.
Don’t overdo it
It goes without saying that you need to be sensible about your cycling, and not overdo it, no matter whether you are using regular or electric bikes. You will no longer be able to stay as active during pregnancy, so it is essential that you set realistic goals. Listen to what your body is telling you. Your energy levels will be decreased, and it’s important to think about how much oxygen is running through your blood.
As your pregnancy is nearing its end, you are bound to feel more tired, and cycling will prove a more difficult task. The time when you need to stop all depends on how you feel about it. Some women stop at an earlier time, while others keep cycling up until they are ready to give birth. However, it’s important that you don’t push yourself, so don’t be too ambitious about cycling during later pregnancy. Make sure that you have company, and always carry a mobile phone with you, in case of an emergency.