Cycling during Pregnancy – Benefits, Risks and Safety Tips

A pregnant woman standing with a bicycle in a field

Bicycling while pregnant is not unheard of. As women have started understanding the benefits of exercising while they are pregnant, they have started stepping out, taking long and brisk walks to keep their metabolism going, or stepping into the pool and wading around for a while. On similar lines, cycling can be quite beneficial for women too, giving them the exercise they need and keeping their health on point. However, it isn’t as straightforward as it seems and a few more precautions need to be taken when opting to do so.

Is Cycling Safe for Pregnant Women?

A pregnant woman standing with a bicycle

Yes, absolutely. The very act of cycling does not pose any harm to a pregnant woman. There are many people who are scared of numerous complications that can occur, but that isn’t necessarily true. Cycling as an activity is absolutely safe for pregnant women, as long as it isn’t strenuous.

Benefits of Cycling Exercise during Pregnancy

Many studies amongst women who cycled during their pregnancy have shown them to reap a lot of benefits that were not only physical but also psychological.

  • Adopting an exercise while pregnant deems a higher chance for continuing to stick to it even after the delivery.
  • For women who start cycling in the early phases of the pregnancy, their chances of developing pregnancy-induced diabetes are highly reduced.
  • Since cycling is an aerobic exercise, it helps rid the body of toxins, reduces the stress, and boosts blood circulation as well as intake of oxygen, which supports the growth of the foetus, too.

Risks of Cycling during Pregnancy

As great an exercise as cycling might be, bringing about loads of benefits and inducing well-being in a pregnant mother, it is not free from risks and those need to be understood very well before starting off on your bike.

1. In First Trimester

Cycling during early pregnancy needs to be undertaken with a lot of caution. This is the time when the foetus is beginning to develop within the womb and making a home for itself. So it is important to reduce any kind of external disturbances to it. Cycling at these stages should be restricted to minimal and must be undertaken only if you feel like it. In case you feel nauseous or too tired, don’t force yourself to cycle. Stay away from bad roads or dirt since any jolts can impact the foetus and can cause to lose balance and fall, resulting in a miscarriage.

2. In Second Trimester

As you enter the second trimester, the foetus has developed within the womb considerably and this reduces the chances of miscarriage. At the same time, many women tend to regain their initial strength and feel rejuvenated. Opting for cycling around this time is great for you. It helps keep your weight in check and relieve any aches or pains by giving your muscles and joints the exercise they need. Still, being vigilant and straying away from overdoing the cycling works to your benefit.

3. In Third Trimester

Around the third trimester, the belly starts becoming more prominent and your usual movements might get a tad restricted at times. This could pose problems in cycling since the bar tends to come in between or leave you gasping for breath if you cycle uphill for long. Try using a cycle that has low bars and even a wide seat that helps you if you have haemorrhoids. Also, cycle on flat roads instead of going uphill and restrict your timings without tiring yourself.

Precautions to be Taken while Cycling

No matter at what stage of pregnancy you are, as important as exercise is, it is also necessary to be aware of certain precautions that need to be undertaken if you are going to opt for cycling as your go-to exercise method.

  • This is not a contest. You are not participating in a triathlon or the Grand Tour. Avoid pushing yourself to cycle if you are not feeling like it. As you proceed ahead in pregnancy, your capacity to breathe and energy will take a hit. Don’t overdo it with your exercising for it could affect the baby.
  • Support your back throughout the exercise. The shift in weight due to the increased belly, combined with the posture required for cycling, could take a toll on your back. Choose bikes that can be cycled by sitting upright instead of bending down, and complement your cycling with yoga that takes care of the lower back.
  • Being seated for long hours on a tiny seat might be uncomfortable for you. Change the seat with a wider option, or use the one that comes with a gel-base that supports your butt and also prevents it from getting too sore.
  • Maintain your balance. You might have been a champ in your earlier days but when pregnancy sets in, your entire body structure changes and, along with that, your natural centre of gravity, too. Start slowly and get a hang of balance before going all out.
  • Adjust your cycle’s settings as you proceed in pregnancy. Choose a bike that allows for handle height adjustment as well as seat adjustment possibilities, too.
  • Take rest. It is good to adhere to a cycling plan, but if you do feel tired or lethargic one day, it is in your own benefit to skip cycling and take some rest.
  • Opt for times when the traffic is less and the road is clear. Choose a path that is level and free of potholes. Do wear bright coloured jackets so that others can spot you easily.
  • Always follow your doctor’s advice. If he suggests you to stop cycling for a few days, do it.

Cycling might be quite a lot of fun for many pregnant women. But taking care while doing so is necessary. Opting for stationary cycling during pregnancy in your balcony or terrace can be a great option to keep you safe.

Also Read:

Activities to Avoid in Pregnancy
How To Do Squats while Pregnant
Exercises to Avoid in Pregnancy