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dedicated cycling mama

January 11, 2011

{image source: jezebel}

No, I’m not talking about myself here, although I do hope to follow in this one dedicated mama’s footsteps by cycling for as long as it’s feasible and enjoyable. After announcing my pregnancy here and on academichic (where I’ll be blogging about maternity style), readers on both posts pointed me to this Wisconsin mother who biked to the hospital after going into labor. (Thanks for the links, all!)

It sounds like the hospital was very close (1 mile), she felt up for it, had her husband along for help and support, and was only doing what her body was used to doing for the entirety of her pregnancy. So good for her!

I’ve also been cycling to all my prenatal appointments so far and I’ve consulted with both my primary care physician and my midwife about exercising during pregnancy and have received the green light to keep cycling and running. The only caveat? Keep my heart rate below 140. This means that I pedal slowly and that I run shorter distances and at a much slower pace than before. But honestly, I always feel GREAT after a run or a leisurely bike ride with all those endorphins pumping through my body.

I would never do anything that posed a threat to the baby but I’m also miffed by the reactions from people who act like pregnancy makes you something of an invalid. I can’t promise that I’ll be biking to the hospital on the day I give birth, but I do know that for as long as I feel great, I will keep cycling around town and taking my dog out on runs. Yay for teaching baby early!

21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 11, 2011 13:37

    I applaud your commitment to a healthy, active lifestyle — and your baby will be all the better for it!

  2. Laurie permalink
    January 11, 2011 14:10

    Congratulations!! And..good for you to keep exercising. Prior to my first pregnancy I was training for a 25K run. When I talked to my doctor, she told me to keep doing what I was used to doing. I ran the race when I was about four months along, and kept running until my seventh month when my knees started to complain. I felt great and my baby was perfectly healthy. This was back in 1979 and there were lots of people who disapproved of my activity, but just listen to your body. You will be fine. Best of luck!!


  3. Alisha permalink
    January 11, 2011 14:15

    It’s so wonderful to see you keeping your commitment to a healthy, happy lifestyle while pregnant. I hope to do the same when I get pregnant. It must be frustrating for you to encounter people who negatively judge active, exercising moms. I think it would be good for them to look at this issue cross-culturally, because I am sure that there are many cultures in this world where pregnant women carry on normal activities because there is no conception of the “invalid” pregnant woman in that culture.

  4. January 11, 2011 15:54

    I’ve never understood that mentality. Pregnant women aren’t made of glass – they’re strong, and they should try and stay strong. Man, I couldn’t imagine how tough labor would be if a mama spent the entire 40 weeks sitting on her butt doing nothing. A mama who is physically fit? It must be easier.

    I think it’s awesome that you’re sticking to your guns, running and cycling. If anyone gives you a hard time about it, point them to one of these posts, and let your readers lambast them. Heehee.

  5. January 11, 2011 16:00

    Have there been a lot of negative reactions to your plan to stay active through the pregnancy? On here and on academichic it seems the reaction was entirely positive, and I hope you are getting mostly the same supportive reaction in your offline life!

    I also just wanted to say that as a young, female academic with aspirations to have a family too, you are such a rolemodel for me. I have always had so much admiration for how you seem to balance academia and all the work that involves with having a fun and adventurous life, and now a baby too!

    I will be following your adventures as an academic mum with interest!

  6. January 11, 2011 17:12

    Well, I just have to tell you about my experience! I cycled and walked (fast!) during my entire second pregnancy. I was very much overweight during my first one (and before that) and after the birth of my boy I lost quite a lot of weight. I changed my diet (read: lifestyle) completely and started exercising regularly, I walked, ran and cycled. I quit running when I got pregnant for the second time but I kept the other two activities because they made me feel good (and, of course, the doctor said it was ok). My girl was due in September (2004) and I spent the entire summer on my bicycle. I cycled to the supermarket in the morning on the day she was born (which was September 21st, just before midnight). My Mum claims she was born that day because of my cycling but I don’t mind. We were both great, she came into this world after I’d been in labour for two hours (whereas with my boy, I spent eight hours in the delivery room and had an emergency C-section in the end; I was so utterly and completely unfit that I couldn’t even push…). My girl was born between her two due dates, four days after the first one and ten days before the second one. Plus, we got her two days before our 9th wedding anniversary. I still think that morning cycling on September 21st, 2004 was a good idea…!

    Congratulations once again, you’ll be a great mum!

  7. January 11, 2011 17:13

    P.S.: Forgot to mention – my dringdring bell came in the post this morning! I love my green cupcake!!! Thanks!

  8. January 11, 2011 17:20


    In my second pregnancy my doctor told me to keep doing what I’d always been doing. So I ate the same, drank the same, went horse riding and hill climbing until I was too big. In my first pregnancy, I was treated by all like an invalid and I sat around feeling thoroughly left out and miserable. I now have two healthy and active children.

    You do what feels good for you and you’ll have a wonderful pregnancy.

  9. January 11, 2011 18:36

    Oh yes! What a great mum!! (Both of you!) ;o)

    And oohhww… all these concerns! I know what your talking about. People realy can react like you are some kind of an invalid!

    But to be honest? I think you are a tough one and will be running and cycling ’till the day of birth. Go for it girl!

  10. Melissa @ HerGreenLife permalink
    January 11, 2011 20:45

    I, too, plan to cycle through as much of my pregnancy as possible — Miss Sarah, of Girls and Bicycles, who was cycling the up until the day before she went into labor, is my inspiration. I must admit that I chose my midwife partly because she’s within easy cycling distance ;)

    I guess we both have about 6 months to figure out how to cycle with a newborn!

    • January 12, 2011 13:33

      Yes, I followed Miss Sarah too and found her pregnancy posts very inspiring!

  11. Jennifer permalink
    January 11, 2011 22:15

    Just wanted to drop by and say “Yay for midwives!” I’m a student nurse midwife right now, and I wish more people educated themselves about childbirth and care providers. As someone who misses your posts on Academichic but loves Simply Bike, I look forward to hearing about your pregnancy. Congratulations!

    • January 12, 2011 13:38

      Yay for midwives indeed! I love my midwives! I’m happy to live in a state where certified nurse midwives are allowed to practice and are part of the hospital systems and I can have a midwife see me through my entire pregnancy and deliver my baby in a hospital.

      My friends who have used midwives have all been very happy and in my experience as well, the care has been wonderful. Thanks for doing what you do, Jennifer!

  12. January 12, 2011 00:25

    Congratulations! That is really exciting news. I totally applaud you for planning to keep exercising during pregnancy. When I found out I was pregnant with my first child I immediately stopped exercising and because I had such a weak body I had a really difficult pregnancy and birth – my back has never been the same since. I also gained a heap more weight than was necessary. As long as it feels right to you keep going with it and just know that you are the person who knows your body best, not other people who choose to disapprove of what you’re doing.

  13. January 12, 2011 00:56

    People will ALWAYS want to give you their two cents on pregnancy and babies, I guess because parenthood is such a profound experience. Personally, I was completely incapacitated with the old hyperemesis for 5 months with my first and 9 months with my second (yes, I was sick Every Single Day). So I’m envious of your good fortune in being able to cycle! Go you! If people want to make comments, I guess you could say “Yes, I’m vey lucky.”

    • January 12, 2011 01:32

      Oh, hyperemesis is awful! Sorry you had to make it through that! And thanks for chiming in with your nice words of encouragement, I do want to appreciate feeling good so far and not take it for granted. I’m sure you have two wonderful children to show for your tough time with the pregnancy though and I’m sure that makes it worth it :)

      • January 12, 2011 18:51

        Thank you sweetie! Yeah, my boys are pretty awesome . . . :)

  14. January 12, 2011 00:57

    *very *

    You know what I mean . . .

  15. Julia permalink
    January 12, 2011 03:24

    Pay no attention to the negativity. I had my first baby about 8 months ago and while I was a runner of sorts (3 times a week kind of thing) prior to pregnancy, I gave it up along with most other exercise once I got pregnant. I gained the usual amount of weight (abt 35 lbs) and my pregnancy went ok. But I had a miserable birthing experience with some complications and hence utterly miserable postpartum (for months!). After talking to lots of mothers, I think it was mostly because I was not fit (really helps with endurance and strength with pushing and tone of your pelvic muscles). So if I ever do have another kid, I am running/cycling/stretching/yogaing all the way through!! So power on cycle mama – you are only doing good things for you and baby.

  16. Winnie permalink
    January 12, 2011 05:21

    Hey there,

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I cycled to all my prenatal appointments up until 28 weeks – my growing belly eventually became pretty cumbersome. I never had any problems – so go for it!

  17. January 12, 2011 13:40

    Thank you all of you who took the time to write in with tales from your personal experiences! It’s great to hear from other moms on this topic!


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