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foto friday: cycling at 35 weeks pregnant

June 24, 2011

Cycling at 35 weeks pregnant

It’s crazy to think that in two weeks I will be considered ‘full term’ and the baby could come any time. Although she may take another good five weeks before she joins us, we’re ready and excited and wouldn’t mind getting to meet her sooner rather than later.

In order to not go crazy these last weeks in anticipation, it’s been great to just keep doing what I would normally do and busying my days with regular activities. For me that means working on my dissertation, visiting with friends, practicing yoga, going to prenatal swim classes, and – of course – riding my bike.

Weeks 34 and 35 saw a good amount of bike riding still with the occasion of having friends visit us from out of town. I already wrote about how we outfitted everyone with bikes and lead them on an easy 3 mile round trip ride to lunch and home. The following day, only my friend A. remained and we had the day to ourselves while T. went back to work. A. is currently 27 weeks pregnant and so I wasn’t sure if she’d be up for much more riding, but I shouldn’t have been surprised to hear her suggest we take out the bikes once more to go explore the town.

I will write more about this next week, but in short: I gave A., who was visiting us here for the first time, a campus and downtown tour by bike and the two of us, both pregnant, covered nearly 10 miles on bikes that day. And because we took plenty of breaks in between riding, replenished with snacks and water, we felt great and enjoyed the time outdoors and on the bikes. So biking at 35 weeks, even with that huge belly you see, has still been possible and even enjoyable. It’s just a matter of taking it one day at a time and seeing how I feel on that given day and, as always, listening to my body.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Jaye Lee permalink
    June 24, 2011 07:43

    I love your blog! I am also expecting (17 weeks along) and continue to bike with my 3 year old in a baby seat behind me. Thanks for being such an inspiration!

  2. June 24, 2011 09:00

    S, I love reading these weekly updates, which I’m sure inspire so many women; especially young women looking to start a family. It’s nice to see that you’re still cycling and that it can be done.

  3. Laura permalink
    June 24, 2011 09:59

    I agree with the posts above, you are truly an inspiration! A few weeks ago I mentioned to a friend that I read your blog and that I find commendable that you ride your bike and exercise even well into your pregnancy. I was taken aback by his reaction when he stated that such is a crazy endeavor given the traffic dangers, etc. I have never been pregnant but I don’t think that the body should be treated much differently health wise than a non pregnant one, and you are a live proof of that. However, my friend’s reaction made me think how pregnancy can change not just the body image of a person but also the ideas regarding what is safe and good for the body. Do you ever feel that you are putting your body at risk riding your bike more than you did when you were not pregnant because of the traffic or chance or falling of, etc.? Thanks.

    • Melissa @ HerGreenLife permalink
      June 24, 2011 10:10

      Most people don’t give a second thought to hopping in a car to get somewhere, and you certainly never hear people question a pregnant woman driving [a car], though being in a motor vehicle is at least as dangerous, if not more so, than riding a bicycle.

      If you rode a bike before and throughout the pregnancy, giving your body a chance to adjust to the changes as they happen, and as S mentions, listening to your body and slowing down/resting as necessary, there is no reason to give up cycling while pregnant.

      37 weeks and planning to cycle to lunch this afternoon :)

      • Laura permalink
        June 24, 2011 10:29

        Melissa, thank you for your reply. It makes a lot of sense what you say, but in a culture that is car driven, where there are hardly any bike lanes, and bikes are seen as recreational vehicles, it is hard to change mental and body habits. I bike regularly, so I experience the unfriendliness and rage of car drivers sharing the road with bikes, and there are certain roads I tend to avoid altogether because of the traffic and driver’s attitude. It makes me upset but it also makes me feel really vulnerable. If I ever get pregnant, I wonder if the sense of vulnerability will crept up and make me quit biking altogether. I look up to you, girls!!

      • June 24, 2011 12:05

        Yes, I second what Melissa said. And I also want to note that in our culture, the pregnant body is very much the ‘public’ body. People feel so much more entitled to comment and critique a pregnant woman as if they had a stake in the pregnancy themselves. I find this especially interesting given that your friend is a man who I suppose has never experienced pregnancy and is basing his ideas on what he’s heard in the media…?

        It is true that I am much more careful and aware of the obstacles I encounter while cycling. I am much more alert to other cars, cyclists, pedestrians, etc, always thinking of the fact that I am now cycling for two and am responsible for this little baby inside of me. I feel very strong protective urges that make me a much more alert cyclist than I was previously. But I feel these same urges when getting in my car, when my dog jumps on me to greet me (and my first thought is, watch the belly!), and when I do pretty much anything. So according to that logic, I wouldn’t want to be doing anything other than lying on a couch and awaiting birth for fear that I might somehow harm the baby.

        But instead, I’m trying to weigh the risks of everything I do and make informed decisions based on my comfort level with various activities and the advice of my midwives and medical caregivers (who have all encouraged me to stay active and approved of my bike riding).

      • Laura permalink
        June 24, 2011 12:54

        Certainly, common sense and medical advise should apply, I agree. My friend is a father of two so he’s not foreign to the pregnant body. Neither him or his wife bike regularly which might be the reason why he has a limited outlook in regards to biking, running and pregnancy. Melissa mentioned something that I realize is important: if one is used to an activity while not pregnant, then the chances to keep doing it while having a bump are higher. In brief, I thank you S. for having this blog where I find support and encouragement to keep biking, learn more about bikes, think about the pregnant body, and fight for greener life choices.

  4. Laura permalink
    June 24, 2011 10:37

    You can tell I am not an English native speaker, right? I meant to say “will creep up” :)

    • Melissa @ HerGreenLife permalink
      June 24, 2011 16:01

      Laura, I’m not sure it’s available in a city near you, but based on your comments above about vulnerability, I would highly recommend taking a Cycling Savvy course. The whole premise is to change the way we think about ourselves as bicyclists and road users, from vulnerable and “in the way,” to empowered and using the roads confidently with other traffic.

      To get more of a feel for the program, and to see if there are classes available near you, visit their site: http://www.CyclingSavvy.org.

      • Laura permalink
        June 24, 2011 16:37

        Ha! That’s a great idea, Melissa! I didn’t think of flipping the way I see myself on the road on certain occasions, even though I am working on my road confidence and venturing into heavy traffic roads despite some of my fears. I don’t see any classes available in the Western New York area but I will definitely keep that website handy for tips and info. Thanks!

  5. June 24, 2011 12:31

    It’s interesting to me how in the U.S., people often use certain issues to make someone else’s life their own business – children being one of them. We’ve decided not to try to have children, and it’s amazing how much social pressure, disbelief, and even almost a kind of lack of comprehension that decision is met with sometimes. I also see the same thing you mention with pregnancy, and I know that people who have children are also often exposed to the completely unsolicited advice of other people, especially when it comes to “safety.”

    This is notably worse in certain circles, as I think certain groups of people tend to be much more pressured to be homogenous and to do the same things and behave the same way.

    But especially when it comes to safety, we have such prescribed ideas as to what is safe or not (this applies across the entire culture), that are often completely divorced from rational thought, and we feel we have such a responsibility to force other people into that box of what we believe is safe and appropriate behavior. I find that really hard to come to terms with sometimes.

  6. June 24, 2011 16:18

    First, you look cycle chic! I do hope you add that category! Second, I think you are wise beyond your years. Of course, you are not going to do anything you feel is unsafe. Listen to your body, as you already said, and you will know what you can handle. The only concern I can see anyone having is falling, but you could fall in your shower. Stay well, ride on, and as far as for your little one arriving, she will come when she is ready!!!

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