If you’re not comfortable out on the roads cycling for two, there are plenty of ways you can keep yourself fit and active throughout your pregnancy.
In recent Mums' Corner articles we’ve talked a lot about how to continue cycling while pregnant. We’ve looked at how your changing body will affect your cycling and considered how much exercise is too much.
But what if the thought of cycling during pregnancy just isn’t sitting right with you, or somebody close to you, and you’re thinking of packing it in for the nine months ahead?
Cathy Bussey explores the options available for women to keep fit and active while pregnant.
Cyclists are a competitive, go-getting bunch. I’ve sat and listened to cycling-mad friends brag about carrying on right up until their due dates – and beyond. I’ve also read articles by pregnant cyclists who've been actively insulted by family and friends begging them to stop, reeling out the age-old line ‘I’m pregnant, not ill’.
I must admit that when I chose not to cycle my seven-mile commute through my first pregnancy, a part of me did feel like I was ‘wimping out’.
Rachel, 29, also stopped cycling during her pregnancy,
I had always really revelled in my identity as a cyclist, proudly cycling to work come wind, rain or snow, and told anybody who would listen that pregnancy wouldn’t make a scrap of difference.
Then morning sickness kicked in. I was utterly exhausted from the word go and found it hard enough walking to the station to get the train to work. I swapped weekend rides through Richmond Park for weekends lying on the sofa and catching up on sleep. I felt I ‘should’ be out there cycling, pregnant and proud, but my body just didn’t feel the same way.
Only you can tell if cycling during pregnancy is something you are comfortable with or not. Even if you’re happy with it mentally and emotionally, your body might have a different idea, as Rachel found out.
Comparing yourself to others is never a good idea but never more so than during pregnancy. Every woman is different and on top of that, every pregnancy is different. Your friend might have glowed with hormones and bubbled with energy through her seemingly effortless pregnancy but there’s certainly nothing ‘wrong’ with you if you’re more drawn to your bed – or the toilet bowl - than a bike.
Ultimately, if you don’t feel comfortable on the bike during pregnancy then give it a miss. It’s only nine months, after all. Your bike will be ready and waiting for you as soon as you are pronounced ready by a doctor to get back in the saddle.
If you do choose to stop cycling for the duration of your pregnancy there are plenty of ways you can keep fit and active, and even retain those hard-won leg muscles. As always, make sure you get the all-clear from your doctor before attempting any exercise programme.
- If it’s purely the thought of being on the roads with a very precious cargo that’s putting you off, bust out the turbo trainer to turn your ordinary bike into an exercise bike
- If you’re a gym bunny, you can carry on using the stationery bikes or try the cross-trainer for a full-body workout that’s lower impact than running
- Swimming is widely acknowledged to be excellent for pregnancy, as the water helps support and cushion your growing body
- Walking is a low-impact form of exercise you can continue all through your pregnancy. Walking is also recommended as your due date approaches to help gently cajole the baby into making an appearance
- Pregnancy yoga and Pilates will help fight off aches, pains and stiffness, keep you supple and flexible, and strengthen your body ready for labour. Try a class or check out a DVD – I have used Pregnancy Health Yoga by Tara Lee all through my pregnancies and always feel incredible after each workout.
Headline article image by abey_henry via Flickr.com.