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Cycling during pregnangy – the last 2 month
Lena (28) from Dresden writes about her experiences with cycling during pregnancy in a small series of articles. In the first part she described her first months of pregnancy. Now, in the second part, it’s all about the last months of her pregnancy, about wanting but not being able to do it the way you want and about the mindset that helps to accept it that way.
Briefly about you
A ride is a good ride if you’ve seen cows (optionally other animals)!
Which bike do you prefer to ride?
Depending on my mood, I sometimes prefer the road bike, sometimes the crosser.
How did you get into cycling and what does cycling mean to you?
I once described this quite appropriately in an Instagram post. First my life “crashed” and shortly thereafter I “crashed” my car. From the money of selling my junk car, I bought a cyclocross bike and spent more and more time riding it. Even if that sounds pathetic, it helped me to come to myself, to get to know myself better. Actually, I thought I knew who I was in my mid-20s, but the opposite was true. Many hours alone on the bike, new paths, new areas, clearing my head, pushing my limits, listening to my body and above all moments of happiness have made cycling indispensable since then.
A recap of the first months of my pregnancy
First of all, I would like to emphasize in this post that these are my subjective experiences that I would like to share with you to help the one or other pregnant persons to find their way in this absolutely new situation in life. You should always listen to your midwife and your doctor and make sure that the chosen way and sport is the right one for you in your pregnancy, so that neither you nor your unborn child will be harmed. Sometimes the doctor or midwife may not be right for you, so don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or change doctors!
In the first article I took you on the exciting journey from the beginning of my pregnancy to the 7th month. It was about the whole sports situation, explicitly cycling in pregnancy and basic information and experiences that I have collected. In this sequel I write about the last weeks of pregnancy, the mindset and of course there is a small review of the Pregnancy Bib by Veloine as announced.
My sport and exercise program in pregnancy week 29 – 40 (8.-10. month)
As I described in the first article, my doctor determined in the 21st SSW that the blood flow to the placenta was not optimal. For this reason, I had to keep going back for checkups to make sure the baby was growing appropriately. Of course, all this made me feel very insecure and I didn’t want to stress my body or the baby’s body with endurance sports. Especially in the last few weeks, many things became more difficult and exhausting anyway. Various complaints made my comfort zone shrink considerably:
- Belly is getting in the way
- Shortness of breath
- Hot flashes
- Constant urge to go to the bathroom.
But hey: it’s summer and good weather, I’m off work, so get out!
Help, I need to pee!
At the end of my pregnancy I was in the public pool, at lakes and went for daily walks. When I felt like it, I did small workouts on the mat. Cycling was very uncomfortable at this point because the baby was extremely pressing down on my bladder and I felt like I was going to pee with every jolt. This feeling was subliminal the entire time I was cycling. But as soon as I pedaled harder or vibrations came, I had to pull myself together very much and tensed the entire pelvic floor. This made riding very uncomfortable because I was so tense. Do you know the feeling of a full bladder and then someone presses right on it? – That’s kind of what it was like.
In addition, I often had to deal with exercise contractions. The entire abdomen became very hard, everything contracted and made me pause for a moment. It was not painful, but still very uncomfortable and strong. Some days it was very frequent (more than 3x in an hour), so I preferred to to nothing but rest.
My bike rides in the last months of pregnancy
When I felt like it, I went out for really short bike rides around 15-20km on the crosser along the Elbe or grabbed the city bike and rode to appointments instead of walking.
My last real ride I did at a snail’s pace with a friend along the Elbe in the 37th week of pregnancy. We rode 12 km in 42 min and of course had a coffee stop including cake! On this tour, by the way, the header photo was taken 🙂
Until the birth in early September, there was only hiking and walking for me from now on. That was perfectly enough for me.
Here we see again how different our bodies are. There are pregnant women who still sit on the bike until just before delivery and then those like me, who were very motivated to “make it” but whose body gave other signals.
Listen to yourself before you exercise and ask yourself questions like:
- How am I doing today (physically and mentally)?
- What do I dare to do today?
- How are the general conditions (weather, company…)?
- Is there any reason why I shouldn’t do sports today and if so, do I look for a compensation or do I rest completely?
Trust your feelings and listen to yourself!
Things are happening in the cycling world – check out more experiences with cycling during pregnancy here
Every pregnancy is different. With Lena, caution was required and therefore cycling was partially limited. Carolyn was still on her indoor setup 9 days before her delivery date. On her blog Cyclista.net you can read how she got through her pregnancy cycling (german language).
Fitting to the topic, Jule from the TWAR team tried out for herself what it is like to be a pregnant cyclist. She reports about it on radelmaedchen.de (german as well).
During pregnancy, not everything is easy going – Mindset
For many pregnant people, pregncy is the most beautiful thing ever. They enjoy it, they feel great and the anticipation of the baby seems immeasurable – and that is wonderful! There are also people who just feel bad during parts of the pregnancy or even the whole time, whether physically or mentally and that’s okay too!
In our society pregnancy and also motherhood is embodied as a happy time, as you see and hear in the media and also among many people this is the opinion. If you do not have these positive feelings once, you feel bad – after all, you have to be happy, there is no place for such thoughts! Please don’t be afraid to answer openly and honestly if someone asks you how you feel as a pregnant woman. This is the only way to de-taboo the topic a little bit.
As already described in my first article, especially for people who were very active before pregnancy, it is often very difficult to shift down one or more gears. This was also the case for me. At a certain point, the body is no longer able to perform as before and, above all, it changes. Some people have to learn to accept pregnancy. This process actually lasted with me until the end. If someone asked me how I felt and whether I liked being pregnant, I answered honestly:
I didn’t like being pregnant because it was really hard for me to accept this restriction. Especially towards the end, there were also more and more physical complaints such as maternal ligament pain, symphysis pain, hot flashes, thick feet and little sleep due to the constant urge to urinate.
Some days I managed to deal with it well, and on others I didn’t, which meant that my mood was then also very low. I accepted the condition, but was also glad when it ended. But that is exactly what it is: a condition that is not permanent, but ends and yes, sometimes it helps to say to yourself “You know what you are doing it for”. Still, it is important to create a positive mindset for yourself and not get too caught up in negative thoughts. When you’re frustrated because you would like to ride more or the last ride was very sobering, remind yourself what an incredible feat your body is doing! You are training for a marathon, so to speak! Listen to the podcast episode of “Die Friedliche Geburt” which is very appropriate (I highly recommend the podcast anyway, unfortunately it is in german language).
Dare to talk openly about the topic, because this helps a lot other pregnant people who may be in the same situation and feel alike!
I bought the bib shorts in size M at a height of 1.65m, because I did not know where the belly would still grow. In hindsight, I would have chosen size S, because I did not gain too much weight.
Review: Veloine Pregnancy Cycling Short
My normal bib shorts were now with the growing belly getting too tight and inflexible. This restricted me and was uncomfortable. Therefore, I ordered the Veloine Pregnancy Bib Shorts. When the shorts arrived I was pretty excited and euphoric, as I had high hopes for more comfort and freedom of movement on the bike.
The first impression of the pants was very positive. The fabric is super soft, comfortable on the skin and hugs the body. The seams and padding are well made. The very high waistband fits easily around the baby bump. There was also enough room for further belly growth. So I was in good spirits to be able to comfortably wrap the belly even at the end of pregnancy. The cuffs on the thighs are very wide and do not slip due to the silicone coating. All in all, the pants fulfill exactly what is promised on the site of Veloine.
During cycling I experienced the pants as very comfortable. Only the padding could have been a little thicker for my needs, but that varies from person to person. What could deter is the price of 150 €. Since you wear the pants only a few times, you think well before whether you want to spend so much money. For me, the investment was worth it. Maybe you can find pants at Vinted or other second hand clothing exchange platforms. This was the way I could also help my Pregnancy Bib to a second life.
What I take away from my pregnancy and would like to share with others
Finally, it remains to say: dare to be open, act self-determined, get different opinions. It’s your body and your life, and no one should tell you what to do with it – unless it’s about health aspects, but even then only from professional voices like midwives or doctors. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad because you may be more athletic and ambitious during your pregnancy than society expects. If I have learned anything during pregnancy and birth, it is how incredibly strong a female body is! Be proud of yourself and what you are doing right now!
By the way, Edgar was born in early September, healthy, after the birth was finally induced. If someone asks me how giving birth was, I have only one word to say: intense!
Text: Lena Wilhelm
Proofreading: Sandra Schuberth
Layout & Edit: Sandra Schuberth
Header Photo: Fabian Thran