Commuter Corner: Biking While Pregnant
Biking for transportation and fun has been a large part of my life for many years. It was unusual for me to show up at work and not be on my trusty silver mixte. When I found out I was pregnant, I was terrified and thrilled. As an avid bicyclist, I was nervous that someone was going to tell me I had to stop riding. I made a promise to myself that I would continue to ride as long as I was able, assuming my doctor said it was okay and it felt good.
I’ve been lucky in that as I approach my final month of pregnancy, it hasn’t been difficult until recently. Since finding out I was pregnant, I have biked pretty much every day, and there have definitely been some lessons learned along the way.
The first noticeable change was I had to ride slower--not because it was harder, but because my breathing had changed, and to be comfortable I had to slow down. Now eight months in, I still have to remind myself to go slow (but the extra weight I am lugging around helps with that). The second change was I became a much more cautious rider. After my balance shifted, I am not taking any chances. And frankly, this lowered the stress of my ride as well.
As I entered the third trimester I realized that bicycling was by far easier for me than walking or most other activities. Walking has become painful and challenging. It was and still is important to me to stay active and bicycling is the best option.
I have four weeks left until my due date and I plan on continuing to ride, but the same rules stand as at the beginning: I have to be able to ride, my doctor says it is okay and it feels good.
I am still physically able, though there are days when I have numerous errands that I will occasionally drive. My doctor continues to encourage me to stay active by whatever means works for me. It generally feels comfortable. There is a hill that is steeper every day, and now my giant belly brushes my handlebar stem when I step off the bike. I hope to keep riding as long as possible. With all the other emotional and physical changes that come with pregnancy, riding is one of the few things that makes me feel good and like myself.
In a year, look for me in the Central District or on the trail with a little one on a seat on the front of my bike. That part is going to be wonderful.