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cycling in late pregnancy

(40 Posts)
gillythekid Wed 04-Jun-08 15:23:49

I'm 34 weeks pregnant and exercise regularly. I have uneven leg lengths so my pelvis is now feeling the strain and obstetric physio says it's a form of SPD but agrees I have no probs opening legs, swimming etc. It has become really painful to walk any longer than 10 mins these last few weeks, even with the girdle on so I've been going to my aqua fit and yoga on the bike. I use only quiet routes, cycle paths etc and wear a helmet and go v slow. I feel perfectly safe but some people seem to think I'm dicing with death. What's the latest anyone felt comfy doing this, if at all?

Rowlers Wed 04-Jun-08 15:28:12

Personally I found it uncomfortable to ride after 5 - 6 months. I felt totally bandy legged! Apart from that I'd have continued until further into the pregnancy.
Not sure at 34 weeks though if I'm honest.
But I am cautious.

MrsThierryHenry Wed 04-Jun-08 15:28:48

I cycled until 38 weeks, gave birth at 42 weeks to a brilliantly healthy baby.

I never had pains like you're having, but if I were you I would stop. Any uneven alignment when cycling can cause later alignment/ leg/ back problems post pregnancy - my bike frame was too small for me, and I later ended up with a retroverted pelvis (it's fine now) and weird aches and pains in my legs (again all fine, but I'd rather not have had them/ have had to spend £50 on physio).

You should be very cautious about the pelvic pains, especially the 10 minute limit you say you have. Your body is warning you that things are not as they should be. Please don't run the risk of making it worse! You'll need all the strength you can get once your lovely baby is born.

Well done for keeping up the exercise this far, and since you're also doing other gentler forms of exercise it won't harm you if you decide to be a little cautious about cycling.

Good luck with the birth!

Pidge Wed 04-Jun-08 15:31:39

I cycled on my commute to work until I was 8 months pregnant last time round - and hoping to do similar this time (I'm currently 5 months). My cycle ride is about 35-40 minutes, and at the end I was down to doing it just twice a week (alternating with a fairly horrid train commute).

I found cycling easier than walking to be honest, but the crucial thing is to listen to your body. If it hurts, you need to stop.

belgo Wed 04-Jun-08 15:42:50

A friend of mine has just given birth. She had SPD and she cycled up until the day she gave birth. And I had another friend who cycled herself to the hospital when in early labour.

That's totally normal in the town I live in where people are used to cycling.

gillythekid Wed 04-Jun-08 16:08:35

MrsThierry It's only when I walk that I get discomfort, I'm fine on the bike! My bike frame has been checked for my height too. The gym is only a slow 10 minute cycle. It used to take me 15 mins to walk it but now, I'm lucky to do it in 40!! There's no bus route so hence the cycling to get me there to do yoga and aqua fit. If i stop cycling, I also have to stop all the other stuff, hence the dilemma!

Pidge Wed 04-Jun-08 16:11:38

gilly - that sounds fine to me. I've found in all 3 of my pregnancies that if I stand or walk for extended periods I get really, really achey in my pelvic area, until I need to sit down. I've never had any problem on my bike (other than the bump getting a bit in the way right near the end!!!). And a 10 minute cycle ride that you find comfortable, sounds a fantastic way to keep mobile as you get bigger.

Good for you for keeping it up I say.

As for safety - the way I look at it - you could fall downstairs, or trip over the kerb, riding a bike doesn't need to be some kind of reckless effort. I certainly don't feel like I'm risking life and limb every time I get on mine.

sarah293 Wed 04-Jun-08 16:33:23

Message withdrawn

tallbirduk Wed 04-Jun-08 17:43:15

Yeah, I'm still cycling too at 38 weeks. The other couples in my NCT class think I am bonkers for cycling the 2 miles up hill to the venue - but that's part of the reason I do it

I am probably a bit more cautious (more likely to wear a helmet) and definately slower, and my bump is getting in the way a bit - but I agree that it is less uncomfortable than walking.

I bet the people that think you are crazy are also people who wouldn't get on a bike/do any exercise if you paid them?

MrsThierryHenry Wed 04-Jun-08 21:14:41

Hi again Gilly, I did understand the first time that your pain was only when walking. I remember that when I was pregnant, just as for many other women on this thread, cycling was more comfortable than walking - just because I was more weightless on the bike (at 13.5 stone?! Weightless! Ha!).

However, unlike Pidge, you do have this uneven leg length issue which cannot be ignored. Even if it's not the cause of your pelvic pain, cycling may possibly exacerbate your pre- and post-birth leg, back and pelvic problems. When you cycle your muscles become shortened (from the hips down to the ankles) with the repetitive movement. That's why it's so important to do good leg stretches afterwards. Bearing in mind that your pelvis has opened up to accommodate your growing baby, giving you a lovely Daisy Duck gait when you walk, the repetitive cycling motion will encourage your lower body muscles to stay in this position even after the birth. That's what happened to me.

I gave you the example of my small bike frame to indicate how any imbalance in alignment, when combined with repeated movements and pregnant posture, can cause subsequent problems. In my case I ended up with a bizarre 'warming' sensation in one of my ankles, calves so tight you could crack nuts with them and a lower back that ached every single time I sat down. It took 18 months for the back to sort itself out, and for the rest I went to a specialist.

So you do need to think carefully. You only have a few weeks left before the baby is due. Don't forget that women at your stage of pregnancy used to be prescribed bed rest as a matter of course. Is it possible for you to be a bit less SuperWoman and a bit more PamperWoman? I'm assuming rightly or wrongly that this is your first pregnancy, in which case you will never again have the time and space to look after yourself like you do now! Could you get your DP to drive you to the gym, or could you take a taxi once in a while?

Finally, what advice did your ob physio give about cycling in your situation? If none, perhaps you should call them for a medical perspective.

MrsThierryHenry Wed 04-Jun-08 21:16:06

I agree with tallbird about non-cyclists! I've cycled safely in London for nearly (I keep saying 10, but it's actually 15 years - guess who's in denial about her age?) 15 years and the people who balked at the sight of pregnant me on my bike are the lardarse couch potatoes whose idea of exercise was raising a crisp to their lips.

When you're past 6 months preg you start slowing down on the bike so that if anyone's doing any funny business on the road you'll spot them miles before they come near you, so there's much less danger than when you cycle at top speed.

Gilly, you asked about how long people felt comfortable cycling...I would have continued past 38 weeks were it not for the fact that I was the size of a rhino on steroids. My poor old bike was buckling under the strain but, being a stiff upper-lipped English bike, it politely declined to complain.

Baffy Wed 04-Jun-08 21:19:57

I'm the most un-sporty person ever!

So firstly I think you've done amazingly well to be active this far into the pregnancy.

But what I wanted to say is that if you have pain, and doubts, then listen to your body and rest.

Make the most of these peaceful last few weeks to pamper yourself and get lots of rest and relaxation.
You'll be glad you did once the lo is here, trust me!

NorthernLurker Wed 04-Jun-08 22:21:49

39 weeks in my case - with 6 yr old dd2 on a trailer bike as well (preens self slightly - but it was jolly hard work tbh)

sarah293 Thu 05-Jun-08 08:30:41

Message withdrawn

NotQuiteCockney Thu 05-Jun-08 08:32:38

I did it right to the end with both pregancies. I remember some bloke on a roundabout saying 'you're pregnant!' at me.

I really wish I'd looked down, looked horrified, and said 'oh, shit, that's what that is!!'

rowergirl Thu 05-Jun-08 08:51:41

I cycled til 39 weeks. Kept getting "unhelpful" comments from other experienced mums. I think if you keep cycling through your pregnancy then the lack of balance issue is minimised.

I just wished that I could have a huge version of the "baby on board" yellow diamond that you get in cars, on the back of my bike.

If you feel happy doing Gilly then stay safe and enjoy it.

gillythekid Thu 05-Jun-08 08:54:15

Thanks for the comments everyone! I was made redundant 8 weeks before I got pregnant last year so as we only have one wage coming in, taxis's to the gym (in London) are out of the question. DH can't drive me there as he's at work so really I'm stuck. Going to ask my physio if I'm best stopping all exercise now but might go MAD stuck in the flat for 6 or more weeks. Can't even get to the hospital for my physio appointments without cycling as there's no car park!

MrsThierryHenry Fri 06-Jun-08 14:55:10

Hi Gilly, what a bummer about your redundancy. How long have you been doing yoga? Long enough to be confident about doing gentle stuff at home? I know going to the gym is also a 'sociable' thing (at least, in the sense that even if you're not having deep conversations you'll see other people, not just yourself and your four walls).

I hope it's good news from your physio. Good luck with the rest of pregnancy, labour, birth and your new exciting life as a mother!

malfoy Fri 06-Jun-08 15:06:53

I knew someone who cycled to the hospital whilst in labour. Mad woman.

littlefrog Fri 06-Jun-08 15:20:42

gilly, I cycled till 39 weeks, and only stopped then because I felt that cycling was pushing the baby up when I wanted him to come down! I found it a great way to get around and had no problems with it.
However it's interestint to read MrsTH's post because I have had some slight back/pelvis problems post birth that I never even thought to connect to cycling. So might be worth asking your physio. Do make sure you ask the right question though, as I find that if you ask people 'is it ok if i cycle' they all worry about whether you're going to fall off, not if it's going to harm you in other ways (if you see what I mean)
Tallbirduk: I am you, I did the same thing going to my nct classes, and they all looked down their ever-so-well-groomed (and very nice) noses at me as if I was completely off my head and irresponsible ('I wouldn't let my wife...') red rag to a bull...

tallbirduk Fri 06-Jun-08 17:01:14

haha littlefrog - doesn't it just spur you on though? Brilliant.

I just went to pick my bike up from the station (hubby borrowed it this morning) and cycled 3 miles home in school run traffic. Is the first time I have cycled in heavy traffic for a while - but I LOVED it Was more cautious than my non-preggo self, but ooo, it was great. Imagine I left a few suprised drivers in my wake (my belly is huge). hehe.

Only problem I am having now is that my belly is quite squished, so appear to have adopted a sort of 'yokel' approach - you know - knees out to the side - seems to work quite well though.

Think I deserve my afternoon cake now......

blousy Fri 06-Jun-08 17:03:40

my mum cycled to church whilst in labour with me (was a Sunday)!

mellyonion Fri 06-Jun-08 17:12:56

everytime i read this thread title, i'm so amazed that anyone can even get on a bike in late pregnancy...i was very active, but the thought of sitting on a bike!!!

good on you...listen to your body, and keep going i recon as long as you're not pushing yourself.

can you fit a car seat on the back of a bike??grin

Kaz1967 Fri 06-Jun-08 18:18:07

My Mum cycled when pregnant with Me and my brother practically up to the day she had us.

littlefrog Fri 06-Jun-08 18:24:03

Mellyonion - I think that's a joke, but have a look at this
Some Dutch cousins used one to take their babies to nursery and loved it (I waited till DS was about 10 months to take him on my bike though...)
Tallbird: I moved my handlebars so they stuck up really straight, which made a difference to my tummy, and meant I didn't feel so squashed.

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