Now that I’m nearing the end of my second trimester I thought I’d share some tips about cycling/exercising that you might have. If you missed the first trimester tips you can find them here.
Should I continue to stretch before/after riding?
During pregnancy your body releases a hormone called RELAXIN. This hormone helps prepare your body for birth by loosening joints and ligaments. You will be more flexible then pre-pregnancy. Stretching should be done more gently now, because you may over stretch and hurt yourself. That said keep on stretching but limit any stretching that requires you to be on your back, to the first trimester. I love the exercises in Pedal, Stretch, Breathe that are created specifically for cycling.
Can I ride in a group?
The key to riding while pregnant is to minimize the risks. While you can’t eliminate them you can do your best to stay safe. Riding in a group is inherently dangerous because you can’t control other people’s reactions or their skills. I am comfortable riding with my husband, son (he can hold a line better than most) and a few others. I still try to be hyper-aware and don’t draft too close.
What are some good cross training options?
I’ve talked to a lot of avid cyclists that could not bike after a certain point in their pregnancy. For some it was the bump, for others it was the lack of balance. What are some other options? The most popular is the pool. Whether you go to swim laps or to join in a prenatal water class, it’s a good alternative. There are lots of options at the gym too. The elliptical machine will give you a good sweat. And of course doing something outside is always ideal. XC skiing or hiking might work for you.
What about weight training?
As with any other activities, if it is something that you have already been doing, it’s okay to continue. Although modifications on the weights used will have to be made as you progress along. There is also a lot of discussion lately that you can start to weight train during pregnancy if you carefully listen to your body and don’t over do it. And then there was the Cross Fit Mom (Lea-Ann) that caused quite the stir last year but ended up having an easy birth and healthy baby that she credited to her weight training. In Lea-Ann’s own words, “I strongly believe that pregnancy is not an illness, but a time to relish in your body’s capabilities to kick ass.”
What modification should I make to my bike?
Around this time you might find two things: an uncomfortable saddle and a growing bump that makes the drop to the handlebars difficult. You can swap out your stem to one that gives you more rise or add bar ends to get more upright. As for the saddle you can experiment with a slightly wider one but remember that wider is not always better. Or if you want to purely ride for joy and chill, swap out your road/mountain bike for a comfy cruiser with riser bars and wider saddle.
What cycling clothes should I wear?
Sadly it seems like cycling maternity clothes are phasing out rather than coming out. So you’ll have to improvise on your ‘kit.’
Shorts – Some women swear by bibs because they will not fall down. I think this is a great option although it’s really hard to pee. I personally do not wear bibs at any time for this reason, especially while pregnant. For this pregnancy and last I go from wearing a size medium short, to wearing my husbands men’s size medium, to large and then finally XL. The XL don’t fit great but they get the job done at the end. I also look for shorts with a wider waistband like the Shebeest Pro Splice as they don’t hug your bump so tight.
Jerseys- By the 2nd trimester you’ll want to find relaxed or club specific jerseys- not race cut. The race cut are usually body hugging with a tight band around the waist. You may need to go up a size as you near the 3rd trimester.
Tech Tops – There are a number of maternity exercise-wicking shirts on the market. For riding in the cold I have been wearing the Mountain Mama Clouds Rest base layer. It’s great for cycling because it does have a small side pocket to store an item or two, it’s warm and comfy and you can layer under or over it. One really cold days I wear arm warmers under it and a large cycling vest or jacket over. For warmer weather go with a sleeveless or short sleeve tech tee such as the Mountain Mama Addison tank. I also saw that The GAP now has their workout line available in maternity sizes.
*If you know of any maternity cycling clothes that are not being phased out, please make a comment below!