Almost everyone knows a handful of benefits they can get from cycling. But when you throw pregnancy into the mix, things tend to get a bit confusing.
That’s not surprising considering no one really taught us how to sit on bike, be it mountain bike, road bike, spin bike or any basic bike, during pregnancy while we were growing up!
Is riding a bike, even if it’s a stationary bike, while pregnant comfortable? It is even safe? How long can you ride a bike while pregnant?
Heck, how do you even sit on a bike while pregnant, in the first place?
Keep reading to get all the answers!
Is Riding a Bike Safe for Pregnant Women?
Physical activities like downhill skiing, exercising and riding a bike safe for most women who are expecting, especially in the first trimester and second trimester with all the morning sickness. If anything, it is a good way to exercise. However, cycling in the final stage can increase the fall risk or the risk of falling and hurting both yourself and your unborn baby.
Here’s why riding a bike isn’t such a great idea in the trimester.
Your body is a lot heavier at this stage and your center of gravity has shifted. If you are like most women, you’ll be a bit clumsier than before.
This is not a good condition to be mountain biking or riding any kind of a bike.
You can easily fall at the slightest disturbance and injure your baby. Plus, you might also get some nasty cuts and bruises!
Is It Safe to Ride a Bike During Early Pregnancy?
Cycling in the early stage of pregnancy carries some risks.
The fetus is still developing in the womb during the first trimester. Riding a bike or any other external disturbances must be reduced at this stage.
Avoid bumpy roads if you must go cycling during early pregnancy. Sudden jolts and jerky movements can negatively affect the developing fetus.
That’s beside the risk of accidentally falling and suffering a miscarriage.
Don’t ever force yourself to keep cycling if you start to feel tired or nauseous while riding your bike in early pregnancy.
Stop and get enough rest before continuing to your destination.
In normal cases, the fetus would have developed considerably during the second trimester. This is the safest time to enjoy your bike!
There is less chance of having a miscarriage and you probably would have regained your normal strength to do more physical activities. You can get help from a certified personal trainer if you wish to be safer.
Most women feel more rejuvenated in the second trimester. This is a great time to take advantage of the many benefits of cycling.
You can keep your weight in check and strengthen your muscles and joints.
Just don’t overdo it!
How to Sit on Bike During Pregnancy
Here are a few tips to make cycling safer and more comfortable during pregnancy:
- Sit with one leg each on either side of the bike. This way, you are less likely to fall if there is a bump or jerk and you lose balance.
- Pay attention to your posture and keep your back straight. This may mean adapting your bike to support a more upright sitting position. Depending on the size of your protruding belly, you may have to move the handlebars up or even install new bars for improved bike handling.
- Get a wider saddle to help with better weight distribution. A wider saddle will allow you to sit in a way that your hips completely support your weight.
- Keep your head straight and lean your shoulders back. You want your upper body to form a 90-degree angle with your lower body.
- Lower your seat height if your balance is affected. You want your feet to easily reach the ground when you bring your bike to a stop.
- Resist the urge to lean forward. This will reduce the pressure on your protruding belly.
- If possible, switch to a step-through frame. This will make it easier to climb onto your bike. Alternatively, make sure to lean your bike to one side when you get onto it. Use a stationary bike or stationary bicycle to practice the position.
- Avoid wearing long or overflowing gowns on your bike. The last thing you want is to get a piece of clothing coiled up in the wheel!
- Use regular pedals instead of clipless options. Regular pedals are a lot easier to use and quicker to get off.
Is Bike Travel Safe During Pregnancy?
Yes, bike travel is safe during pregnancy.
However, this depends on the trimester the pregnant woman is on and whether there are any existing medical conditions.
If you are fine, there is no reason you shouldn’t hop on your bike and get some good exercise. There is no evidence to show that traveling on a bike can physically harm a pregnant mother or her baby.
But you want to be selective when it comes to the road you travel on. Consider cycling on less traffic-heavy routes.
And remember to keep the cycling duration short.
Can You Sit Double Side in Bike During Pregnancy?
Yes, it is fine to sit with your legs on both sides on a bike or on stationary bikes, so no need to skip your spin classes. Just make sure you are comfortable during the ride.
However, it is best to seek medical advice if you have any medical complications.
For example, you might have a higher risk for bleeding complications if you have placenta praevia (low-lying placenta).
In this case, it is best to avoid sitting double side on a bike.
How Long Can You Ride a Bike while Pregnant?
Riding a bike for 20 minutes a day is more than enough to alleviate many pregnancy symptoms. This might be a bit hard to come to terms with if you are obsessed with keeping fit.
However, it is in your baby’s and your best interest to limit the time you spend exercising during pregnancy.
Indeed, cycling can improve your overall well-being. But it is not free from risks when you are pregnant.
So, you want to be mindful of the time you spend on your bike.
Spending about 20 minutes a day on your bike can give you a boost of energy to get through your day.
When Should You Stop Riding a Bike when Pregnant?
Knowing how to sit on bike during pregnancy is one thing. Knowing when to stop sitting on a bike during pregnancy is a different ball game altogether.
If you don’t have any complications, it is generally safe to carry on cycling into the second trimester.
Bike riding when the pregnancy progresses in the final trimester will not probably induce labor.
According to the Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics, increased physical activity with biking or aerobic exercise during pregnancy has got nothing to do with induced labor.
That being said, it is best to listen to your body!
If you feel worse instead of better when you ride a bike, it is time to stop. Pay attention to your body no matter what your friends swear by or what any book says.
And by all means, get advice from your doctor before you head out on a bike.
Let them know how much cycling you are used to and the level of cycling you’ll like to keep up with during pregnancy.
You really should heed your doctor’s advice, even if it means giving up cycling.
After all, it’s only for nine months!
Is it Safe to Ride a Bike in the Third Trimester?
While riding your bike during pregnancy is considered generally safe, it might not be very convenient in the last trimester.
The handlebars may restrict your movement at this stage since your belly is more prominent in the last trimester.
And if there’s anything you don’t want during cycling it is restricted movement. It can make it a tad difficult to control the bike.
A huge baby bump means less balance on the bike, and that’s a recipe for disaster!
This is particularly the case when you ride in challenging terrains.
Bad road patches, steep climbs and slopes, as well as sharp bends in the bike paths can be difficult to maneuver.
From a health perspective, cycling when the pregnancy progresses in the final trimester might not harm you or your baby, unless there is an underlying medical reason.
But considering your general convenience, it might not be safe to continue riding a bike into the last trimester.
Bottom line: Bike riding in the final trimester is high risk! Stay off your bike if your balance starts to go off.
Knowing how to sit you , spin, road or mountain bike during pregnancy will allow you to keep enjoying the benefits of cycling without exposing yourself and your unborn baby to unnecessary risks.
Sitting in a more upright position, using a wider saddle, and moving your handlebars up can make cycling a lot more comfortable during pregnancy. You can practice the stationary cycling position on a stationary bike to perfect it.
To stay safe, remember to stop cycling, aerobic exercise or any kind of physical activities in the last trimester.