Normally the first semester (weeks ‘0’ to week 12, i.e. 3 months) women don’t share the happy news just yet because there are so many things that can go wrong and the statistics of pregnancies not reaching the end of week 12 are quite high that most women (and their partners) proceed with caution.
As you get older the young naivety that ‘having babies’ just happens is replaced with a deep awareness that every pregnancy and every woman is different and that being able to having a baby is no granted thing, so in a way those initial 12 weeks become even more precious.
But it does make for a lonely time, the hardest time probably in a ‘normal’ pregnancy (by normal I mean generally healthy and straightforward pregnancy) because the nausea is so bad and you feel so icky that you actually could really do with talking to someone (that has gone through it too) about it and share the miserable time.
Cycling in those three months, although at reduced rate than pre-baby was a saviour for me, both physically and mentally.
As always cycling lifted my mood, eased my nausea and cleared my mind.
I am regularly on my bike, usually every day but since becoming pregnant this has dropped to about three (sometime 4) times a week. I probably average about 20 miles a week, but with the good weather just round the corner I may get to cycle a little more, we’ll wait and see.
As you find out that you are indeed expecting at week 4 or beyond, I actually cycled a lot in that first month (wk 0 to 4) because truly you feel no different.
When I did found out the happy news I went to my GP practice to see the doctor to confirm I hadn’t just made it up (!) and that I could be referred to the community midwives.
I was so lucky with the doctor I met that day, I cannot tell you!
As soon as I said hello I noticed he was a cyclist too, helmet, hi-viz etc and remembered seeing the bike with child seat locked outside the surgery (so I thought great, a cycling dad!). After him confirming that I was indeed going to be a mum (all going well) first thing I asked was “can I carry on cycling?”
He gave me the most supportive answer I could have hoped for. He calmly and with a smile told me “absolutely! Take necessary caution, but cycling is no more dangerous than driving or even walking, when it comes to falls or accidents. Probably the opposite.”
Can you believe this??? I wanted to hug him!
He gave me sound advice to listen to my body and cycle only when I felt like it, to not expect to cycle same distance and same regularity as before but that continue cycling will keep me active and make me feel better throughout the pregnancy and hopefully in labour too.
He advised to choose quieter roads, things I do already, and avoid if possible the worse of traffic hours.
I am lucky in that respect as for my work, I leave my house at 6.30am and I am back at 7.30pm. So by default I get to cycle in relatively quiet times and I love it. I am also cycling at week ends and using the Fallowfield Loop a lot.
I am now into my second semester and I feel absolutely fine, no more nausea (hurrah!) and tiredness is not as bas as I was expecting it. Again I think cycling is helping.
Another huge support is my husband. For him as well, me continuing to cycling is absolutely normal and never ever questioned that I shouldn’t. Friends and family so far have been supportive too (or perhaps some have been polite enough to keep their opinions to themselves).
I will talk more about what bikes I am riding, my style of riding and the cycling conditions in Manchester in future posts.
The posts I will write about my experience of cycling while pregnant are based solely on my experience, I will refer to scientific papers and research whenever possible and relevant, but none of my posts are to be read as medical advice. If you are thinking of or are cycling while pregnant I’d love to share thoughts and experience, but please check with your medical care provider and seek their medical advice at all times.