If you are an avid cyclist then you missing a ride here or there is fine. Yet, missing a season of riding isn’t okay! Many women love the sport of cycling and often wonder what to do when pregnant. Ride? Not ride? Maybe a little in between?
Most healthy pregnant women can benefit from twenty to thirty minutes of moderate exercise on most days of the week, guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists state. If you’re an avid cyclist, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to cycle during pregnancy. There are just a few things you should do to stay safe, comfortable, and healthy.
Support your body with nutrition
A healthy and balanced diet is important during pregnancy. Make sure you eat enough calories to sustain your cycling — roughly 1,800 calories per day in the first trimester; 2,200 calories per day in the second trimester; and 2,400 calories per day in the third trimester. However, your appetite may not always be normal. Supplementing with prenatal vitamins can make nutrition manageable during pregnancy and provide the nutrients needed to support prenatal development. They’re even associated with lower risk of autism in children. In one study, 14.1% of children whose mothers took prenatal vitamins in the first month of pregnancy developed autism, compared with 32.7% of children whose mothers did not.
Be ready to make adjustments
Your bike will probably be comfortable enough during your first trimester, but you may need to make some adjustments once you enter your second. As your bump grows, try adjusting the height of your handlebars and saddle. If you raise the handlebars, you’ll be forced to sit in a more upright position with your shoulders back — a position more comfortable for your stomach. Moreover, if sitting on your saddle becomes uncomfortable, consider changing it. Saddles designed specifically for women often come with comfy extra padding. At Peak Cycles Bicycle Shop, we can help fit you to your bike and we also have a variety of bike parts in the store and online to make the adjustments to your bike and cycling position as often as needed.
Take it easy
Some people caution against cycling during pregnancy due to risk of falling. While many women continue to cycle safely during pregnancy, it’s important to take caution. Tiredness may become an issue in your first trimester, so avoid long routes. While it’s okay to get your heart rate up, don’t let yourself overheat. Additionally, your lung capacity decreases during pregnancy, so you’ll get out of breath quicker than normal. If this happens, slow down or stop and have a rest.
Ultimately, you should get advice from your doctor about cycling at the beginning of your pregnancy. There may be a medical reason preventing you from cycling. And that’s okay. Do something else and resume cycling after pregnancy. The key is to do what’s best for you and the baby for the next nine months.