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  • cycling_heidi

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for publishing this article. I am in my second trimester and am also still pedaling (actually, more like resuming pedaling after a hellish first trimester). All of the things Kari Studley mentions are pretty much exactly what I am going through. Even to the point of breaking new records for the slowest times up my home climb. I can completely relate to her story and she offers me so much encouragement to just keep pedaling and to simply listen to my body. I’m just enjoying the fact that I can still ride my bike, even if it is at a fraction of the intensity as before. It’s very refreshing to have such a wonderful female example, as doing “intense activity,” that is, anything other than walking or swimming that might get your heart rate above 140bpm is such a grey area, and doctors are not willing to offer any real advice for those of us who are generally active people who want to stay somewhat active. I’m not a professional athlete so I do not need to maintain any level of fitness, but I want to. Cycling is such a big part of my life that I can’t imagine 9 months without it.

    • Shiffon

      Hear hear! I am 39 weeks today and have enjoyed the more cruisey riding on the MTB immensely throughout my pregnancy. Have even got a wind trainer set up in the garage for ticking the leg and heart muscles over slowly now, although that it becoming harder with some back pain. It has been so frustrating having my doctors though tisk-tisk me for still doing an easy ride and the occasional harbour swim but without doing some sort of decent exercise, my mental health would be a mess! Pregnancy is hard enough physically, let alone the mental and emotional adjustments that have to be made. Had I done a fraction of the exercise I felt capable of and as was “recommended”, I would have gone mad!
      The advice regarding exercise undertaken during pregnancy should be relative to the level that the woman did previously, not this silly “30 minutes gentle walking a day only” mantra that seems to be the health professionals’ standard advice.

      • Jessi Braverman

        Thanks to you both for sharing your stories! Happy to hear that you can relate to Kari’s experience and suggestions.

  • Nusha Lavender

    Agree – great article. my son is now 11 months. I continued to ride on road till 24 weeks then continued to train with more “base” training and reduced intensity and shorter intervals from 24 weeks till delivery on the trainer. Averaging 1-2 hours on the trainer a day till delivery. I was back on the bike at 7 days after he was born. My fitness, lack of weight gain and mental well from the exercise made pregnancy much easier and may recovery super quick.
    I encourage all women who have a passion and want to – to get out there and do it! I chose to switch from road cycling to setting up my bike on the outdoor trainer due to fear of a crash. That is the main concern re cycling as opposed to other forms of fitness in pregnancy such as running and swimming. You can never trust the cars either …

  • ginga_ninja

    Yay! Loved seeing this article! I rode until about 7months with both my boys, until I couldn’t bear the seat or reach the much-adjusted handlebars anymore. I did the last month on the windtrainer because I was getting too slow for the city roads where I used to live (crossing lanes etc).
    Quite a few people raised eyebrows and thought I was obsessed/putting my baby’s life in danger – others applauded – but as long as you listen to your body and ride to how you feel, you’ll be fine. I certainly wasn’t doing anything crazy like efforts down the motorway!! My abilities and energy levels changed a lot (often lethargic, definitely slower!), but once I got used to it, I really enjoyed tootling around and still being able to catch up with my cycling buddies and I often felt better for it.

    My doctor was great and totally encouraged it because it’s a great low impact exercise. She also told me not to worry about the dreaded 140bpm ceiling (N.B.: I was a racing cyclist before this and my max HR was 205bpm) and just advised that I could go as hard as I wanted without feeling yuck. I didn’t train hard but just through hill-climbing etc, my HR was often above 140bpm and both myself and my babies were fine. I just backed off if I felt a bit stretched.
    My advice is ride for as long as you can! It’s good for you and it also makes your post-baby “come-back” easier.

  • lauren o’keefe

    It’s good to see we’re moving away from the idea that pregnancy is a period of zero exercise and that pregnant women are in too ‘delicate” a condition to exercise.

    I’m five days overdue now (!!!) and I had all these plans for how I was going to stay fit during my pregnancy and keep riding my bike until I physically couldn’t get my leg over the top bar. My GP was very pro me staying on the bike for as long as I could and advised that I switch to swimming when I felt I couldn’t continue riding. All was going well, riding to and from work was the only time of the day when I didn’t feel like crap in the first few weeks. (Morning sickness my arse! Try all day sickness that got worse at night.) Then at nine weeks I got hit by a car riding to work. Suffice to say all my plans went out the window as I ended up with a broken arm.

    But I did return to riding to and from work for about two months when I’d recovered enough. Okay, it was on a newly purchased step-thru (which even has a basket on the back!) and I was so slow it was ridiculous but it made me feel pretty good. By about 29-30 weeks I was ready to stop though. My step-thru is a mixte frame and by about 30 weeks I couldn’t lift my leg high enough to get it over the frame! But those couple of weeks were great. I felt so much better when I got to work and I loved knowing I didn’t have to argue with people about getting a seat on the train. The last month I was on the train to and from work and I hated it. (I also got a cold that I still haven’t managed to fully shake off two and half months later!)

    So all those pregnant ladies out there who can still ride, do it! Don’t be put off by the naysayers and judgement. All that matter is that you feel good. If you feel good, baby is going to feel good too.

    • Leah

      I made a bright sash for a girlfriend who was commuting while pregnant. She found people were riding aggressively around her as she was riding slow. It said TAKE CARE – I’M PREGNANT.

      • cycling_heidi

        This is a good idea. I think I’m much more sensitive than usual about the cars around me while biking, and you can’t see my lump from behind. So was contemplating wearing a big sign for the same reasons!

  • Georgina

    I am a commuter/recreational cyclist in Sydney and am still cycling at 33 weeks. I stopped cycling to work at about 31 weeks, because the back pack was too much weight for me on the two steep hills on my route to the office, but I’m still loving the odd cross-town errand run, day-off excursion and quick morning fitness burst. I understand why it is considered such a taboo activity for pregnant women – it’s pretty easy to see, in Sydney anyway, that there are lots of extra risks involved – but the freedom and strength and happiness I get from being on the bike outweighs the potential cost for me at this stage. I take it easy and now focus as much as I can on enjoying the ride, not trying to get somewhere as fast as possible, and I feel really proud of my body for working so well for and with me. When I found out I was pregnant I was fit but had not been back on a bike for long. When I was weighing up whether to continue cycling or not, I really struggled to find any Australian sites with information and/or tips on the issue. I would love to encourage other Australian women to keep cycling, while acknowledging the risks. Getting more of us on the road is the only way to make it safer, as well. Many thanks for this article and please consider a follow up piece. I also enjoyed the Guardian’s short series on pregnant cycling: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2010/oct/27/cycling-pregnancy-london

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