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Cycling to work whilst pregant

(42 Posts)
catherinemm Sat 15-Feb-14 23:50:51

I'm currently 12 weeks pg with 2nd baby. I have a short cycle commute to work (less than 2 miles), it's in london but my route is relatively quiet and I could make some adjustments to make it quieter still BUT DH is not keen and even more so since I had an accident on Monday. This was relatively serious, though non car was involved I ended up in an ambulance and spent night in hospital as I knocked myself out! Memory of crash is hazy but I think I slipped on wet patch when avoiding a pedestrian. This has shaken me up a bit and I prob won't cycle next week but I would like to continue once I get a new helmet and am feeling back to normal. I think this is because I know the accident is unlikely to happen again and I think the overall risk of cycling is unchanged. Overall I enjoy it and think the benefits outweigh the risks. Any tips to convince the worrying OH?

Christelle2207 Sun 16-Feb-14 00:15:17

Sounds like a nasty accident pleases you are ok. I fell off my bike at 14 weeks and it took me a while to get back on and from that day I only cycled in good weather. I got pgp and walking really hurt- cycling didn't and I actually cycled till 38 weeks- and even then only stopped because I thought I should. My mw was always impressed I cycled to appointments and said that keeping up similar level of activity really good for you. Especially in the earlier months the baby is exceptionally well cushioned- you should be able to find more info on the web on that. Later on you may have balance issues but I never did and it really was fine until the end- it just became harder work.

Aoifebelle Sun 16-Feb-14 08:31:08

I think this is a totally personal choice. I am on my third pregnancy, but still no babies. First time round continued to cycle the four miles there and back daily. Second time round, did stop around 10 weeks, this time have ditched bike as soon as i got bfp and am walking in twice a week instead. I still cycle locally. There is nothing rational about this decision but I suppose i am just being super super cautious.

Poppiesway Sun 16-Feb-14 08:37:36

I remember biking to work when I was 6 months pregnant (because at time we couldn't afford two cars and do worked miles away)
Now I think what on earth was I doing!! I wouldn't do it again now I think about what could have happened. But then life is full of what if's and but's smile

SunnyL Sun 16-Feb-14 08:44:33

I gave up cycling at around 5 months purely because I found it very uncomfortable. The bump was pushing up against my diaphragm making me breathless. My cycle though was on wide straight rural roads and I still got a lot of grief from people for the risks I was taking. What really surprised me was the ardent cyclists were probably more vocal about it.

Supposedly your centre of gravity shifts as you get bigger which makes you more likely to fall. But in Holland women regularly cycle up to 9 months. Apparently their 'sit up and beg' bikes are perfectly comfy.

Nomorepeppapig Sun 16-Feb-14 08:47:32

I wouldn't take the risk but it's your call op.

Miriama Sun 16-Feb-14 08:47:51

This is something ive been thinking about as my usual cycle is ten miles each way and ive been too wiped to even consider doing it, was thinking of cycling part way then jumping on a train but a bit scared, im also a london cyclist, so traffic is a concern. Think ill wait until weather gets a bit better! Op glad you are feeling better after your accident, x

Oubliette0292 Sun 16-Feb-14 11:41:18

I cycled all the way through both my pregnancies (in and around Cambridge). I think it is a personal choice.

lljkk Sun 16-Feb-14 11:47:52

I also cycled all the way thru 4 pregnancies, I had some tumbles too but nothing as bad as OP describes (no ambulance involved, anyway).
There are huge benefits, but your decision ultimately.

Cyclebump Sun 16-Feb-14 11:59:35

I'm 13 weeks and cycling 8.5 miles to work 3/4 days a week. It takes 40mins and is on road. The alternative is three buses that take 1hr 45mins on average as I don't drive.

I don't feel I have a choice really. I have started avoiding th heavier sections (large multi lane roundabout across an A road for example) and I am definitely taking fewer risks but I feel comfortable doing it and as an avid cyclist I have experience so feel like I judge conditions well.

I know my MIL and a couple of friends worry but when I ask how they'd suggest I get to work without cycling no one has an answer.

It's a very personal choice and only you can make it.

livingzuid Sun 16-Feb-14 13:00:14

Yep I'm in the Netherlands and loads of pregnant women cycle right up to their due date. We do have many more dedicated cycle lanes though (essentially all over the place) and London doesn't have newly as much. It's a road safety issue imo I used to cycle to work in London and it was other cyclists rather than drivers who were the most dangerous! People aren't as cycle aware as they are here. But still OK I reckon if you know your route and are confident on your bike. Totally up to you.

SoonToBeSix Sun 16-Feb-14 13:05:33

Just take it as a wake up call and keep your baby safe. There are no benefits to baby only risks.

fay144 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:12:43

I decided against cycling - a couple of years ago, i wouldn't have thought twice, but got hit from behind last year, and it put me off. Mainly because i was doing everything right, and the driver admitted not even looking at the road. You can't defend against that idiocy.

However, there are real benefits in staying active, and my activity levels have been nowhere near what i'd have liked. There are real pros and cons, so no good right answer.

Christelle2207 Sun 16-Feb-14 13:35:47

I should add that although I did cycle to 38 weeks I did keep well away from traffic and avoided busy routes. As others have said it doesnt matter how good a cyclist you are and how comfortable you are cycling when pg there are plenty of idiots out there and obviously you are very exposed on busy routes.

lljkk Sun 16-Feb-14 16:09:38

Of course there are benefits to mother.
It's up to her how she weighs them up compared to risks.

fl0b0t Sun 16-Feb-14 20:03:04

Cycling is no more risky than walking and its been shown that the health benefits outweigh the risks more than 10:1. Of course it's personal preference.i rode until 4 days before baby arrived. I was slower and more cautious but had no balance problems (worse balance on my feet) and no reason to stop.i too have had previous cycling accidents but I didn't feel cycling to be dangerous. The only reason I walked more was because I couldn't lift my folding bike onto the train.

SoonToBeSix Sun 16-Feb-14 20:37:46

Yes benefits to mother but not baby, I think cycling in pregnancy is fine on safe routes but obviously your route is not very safe op.

HannahG315 Sun 16-Feb-14 21:53:51

I'm so jealous, my bike was stored away and my OH purposely packed in loads of stuff so I can't drag it out confused

I think a safer route is the best way to convince OH, or jogging instead??

SunnyL Mon 17-Feb-14 08:09:55

Oh come on Soontobesix that kind of guilt inducing statement is not helpful. Women who are active and remain healthy during their pregnancies have healthier babies. Its not cycling that is harmful its the other tossers on the road. As has been mentioned above the causalty rate for pedestrians being hit by cars is far higher than cyclists. Do you wear a helmet and high viz walking down the street?

lljkk Mon 17-Feb-14 08:50:14

There are benefits to baby if mother keeps relatively fit (see Jimmy Bell's work, TOFIs, in utero programming, all that). Keeping fit in other ways may be impractical or even more undesirable for OP. Really is her decision.

I feel so much safer cycling to work rather than driving. Driving is too comfortable & I'm not half as alert in a car, plus the roads are busier & the stakes are higher. OP can judge her own situation.

Plateofcrumbs Mon 17-Feb-14 09:14:16

There's two aspects to this: whether you feel comfortable and fit to cycle - which only you can judge based on your own pregnancy experience. For ever person I know who was comfortably cycling in very late pregnancy I know one who stopped due to discomfort.

Second is the risk of an accident which impacts baby. Personally my view is you just set your risk threshold a bit lower during pregnancy and adjust accordingly - which it sounds like what you're already doing (eg not cycling over busy junctions). Everyone's threshold is different - lots of people are scared of cycling in traffic at the best of times whilst others are extremely confident doing so.

I hate this assumption that women should wrap themselves in cotton wool during pregnancy. Yes of course it makes sense to limit risk but that doesn't mean avoiding all risk.

Christelle2207 Mon 17-Feb-14 10:02:28

Agree- I went skiing when pg and obviously took it easy but could have done without the raised eyebrows I got.

Cyclebump Mon 17-Feb-14 10:06:33

I have to say I am really surprised at how supportive this thread is. I've been watching after posting as I'm cycling while pg and I have found it really uplifting and feel far less prickly defensive about my choice because everyone's been so reasonable.

Thanks thanks

Everysilverlining Mon 17-Feb-14 10:10:59

I had a very high risk pregnancy, but carried on cycling until the day DS was born. He was born early but the advice of the consultants was that if anything cycling was a benefit not a risk and I should carry on (despite the high risk). Again I am in cambridge and it is quite nromal to cycle while pregnant here, a good friend did, got knocked off by a pedestrian and carried on.

I think it is a question of what you are comfortable with. The risk is low, but it is a ris, the benefit if also quite low depending on the circumstances.

Plateofcrumbs Mon 17-Feb-14 11:54:10

I also think it helps to think of different kinds of risk. As long as it's not causing you discomfort and you're not pushing yourself too hard physically, there's nothing inherently bad about cycling - indeed exercise is beneficial. It's all good providing you don't have an accident. And even then most minor accidents won't directly impact baby - it's pretty well protected in there. Of course it is possible to have a major abdominal trauma whilst cycling and I know people that has happened to (not pregnant though!).

I read that the most common cause of foetal mortality in car accidents is the death of the mother. Basically your chances of having a car accident in which you come out of it but your baby doesn't are very low. I'm not saying exactly the same applies to cycling but I think it's helpful to bear it in mind.

I'm curious as to whether the "too risky" brigade also apply the same logic to cycling with small children on a child seat, or to children cycling in general? It does feel like there's an almost superstitious mystique around risk in pregnancy.

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