Cycling in the second trimester

collage 2nd semester

2nd tri = bike dates & antenatal appointments

Well… where does time go uh?!

It seems we’ve swiftly entered the third trimester without even realising.

How did my second trimester cycling go? Couldn’t have gone better!

Similarly to how S of SimplyBike found it, I loved the energy I had, I felt very much me but with an added growing little bump to keep me company.

My bike of choice remained my Pashley for its upright riding style and sturdiness, I never felt unsafe. And despite her weight at 45lb it’s been the easiest bike to ride. I have cycled to every antenatal appointment, where I continued to receive great support by all my medical care staff (midwifes, specialists and sonographers). Baby’s heartbeat has always shown and sounded strong and there’s been plenty of kicking and somersaulting in my tummy while out on rides.

I have not pushed myself and enjoyed rides of 6 miles round trip at the very most. Anything more than 3 miles one way and I have felt the tiredness in my legs. I have always been a fan of slow cycling anyway, so I continued at my nice pace of about 8mile/hr. Did I ever break a sweat? Nope!

I had few bike dates with my husband that I have cherished and enjoyed and hope to continue to do so well into my third trimester. While not many people showed any appreciation of the benefits of cycling I did meet a lovely lady at my allotment who enthusiastically said to me “well done you! My friend cycled to the hospital to give birth to her son!”. And you know, hearing positive stories like does really make my day. Although I may leave my Pashley at home I think on labour day.

Now that I am entering my 30th week I have had a handful of occasions when people said “what? you’re still cycling??”…. “er… yes” was my answer. I do wonder why the pregnant body is still seen by some as an incapacitated body. I even had people saying “are you still working?”, I am not sure what they expect us healthy pregnant women to do, stay at home and be bored out of our minds? There’s still a long way to go before women receive the right support to fulfil their dreams and wishes as human beings, who enjoy their job and find reward and sense of worth from it, and aren’ t seen as just vessels for making babies, me thinks!

But I digress, back to cycling.

When it comes to cycling I join the chorus of voices that say cycling while pregnant may be easier and feel more comfortable to those who have been regularly cycling before carrying a baby. As I mentioned before I am no runner and starting to take up running when I got pregnant never appealed to me and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it. But even for those women who haven’t given cycling a go pre-baby-bump, using stationary bikes (if using the gym for example) is supported and encouraged by many medical practitioners, if you don’t have other health issues that may prevent you from it of course.

In countries like Denmark, in cities like Copenhagen where a vast number of the population cycles, cycling (in healthy, normal pregnancies) is even ‘prescribed’ as part of a gentle exercise routine to keep fit, healthy and active throughout pregnancy.

It all comes down to how you feel. If it feels good, if it feels beneficial and if you have fun cycling while pregnant then do it! In the same way as we are careful in crossing the road, not tripping over uneven pavement, conscientious in our driving and so on, cycling is no different. Loss of balance, which is the main fear voiced by many does not happen if you have been cycling continuously (from pre-pregnancy through-pregnancy) as your body and belly grows with you, you automatically adjust. It’s not like as if anyone would recommend to start cycling at 30 weeks! Another lovely and valuable blog post on this subject was also written by Simply Bike.

So, my second trimester has been a real positive experience. Cycling at gentle pace has continued to give me added energy and lightness as well as supple joints. The upright position of my bike and the low-impact exercise no doubt has helped the baby grow healthy and strong. I look forward to continue cycling in my third trimester, similar to the second trimester such cycling benefits will go towards helping the baby position itself in the right way (head down) ready to make its appearance into this world. I also hope that coupled with yoga and swimming it will help me have as natural and as short labour as possible (here’s to hoping!).

Happy bump, happy toes

Happy bump, happy toes

Plus my third trimester will involve a lot of research on preparing to cycling with baby, look out for blog posts on all that.

More inspiring and uplifting posts on cycling while pregnant can be found on Girls and Bicycles, by Miss Sara Chan. I am loving her post on cycling at 37 weeks!

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6 responses to “Cycling in the second trimester

  1. Of course pregnancy is the sign of being (relatively) healthy and in the physical prime of life, not of “incapacity”. I tend to think that certain people (including certain other women) tend to infantilise women, whatever our age. Brava just the same, for keeping on cycling. Have you seen this Guardian video about cycling with children? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JuJHVXe_AI#t=309 Dutch and Danish cargo tricycles are expensive, but perhaps you can find one second-hand? I see them all the time when in Amsterdam. They can also carry your family shopping, safely transport your computer and many other things.

    • Hello! Hoping I can continue enjoying cycling till close to birth. I go on maternity leave soon and I think I’ll be able to enjoy my bikes more then, before baby arrives.

      My dream would be to have a Bakfiets but Manchester roads are really not catered for them. Our ‘greenways’ (traffic free, off the road paths) are ‘littered’ with barriers to supposedly stop joy riders with scooters, but they only end up making these great routes inaccessible for trailers, trikes, cargo bikes and most importantly/seriously people in wheelchairs and mobility scooters. And the normal roads are riddled with potholes and manholes, deprived of suitable high quality cycling infrastructure… I’m not fancying a daily battle with a cargo bike, even though there are a handful of people around with one, so maybe I’ll change my mind 😉

      But we’re hoping to have a Dutch cycling holiday next summer and we’ll certainly enjoy the cargo bikes culture then!

      Thank you for the link!

  2. Good for you. I continued to cycle to work until 38 weeks and for leisure until my due date and I was still going to the gym on my due date. I had comments about should be resting ect. Midwives very encouraging and supportive about continued exercise. Hope you feel supported in your choice.

    • Thanks Coral! Best support is my husband who always encourages me to go on a bike ride together even when I don’t feel like it and then I feel better for it!

      I had a brilliant doctor who’s given me his support and encouragement 100%, a cyclist and parent himself. Midwives have never expressed any negativity about it and because my general fitness level has been really good they’ve valued how my gentle ‘going-from-A-to-B’ cycling has played a key role in that 😉

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