Last year I wrote a post about riding while pregnant and I thought I should follow that up with one about returning to riding after giving birth. The most important thing to note is that every women is different and so everyone needs to make their own decisions about how much to cycle during pregnancy and after having a baby.
For the record, this is not a topic that I’m an expert on, because I have not completed any formal training in healthcare or fitness, and I’ve never been pregnant, but I’ve done some research and asked a number of women who have experienced it firsthand for their input.
When to start again?
Some of the women said they were back riding as early as two weeks but it also depended on the type of delivery. Alison Frendin in her article about returning to riding after baby points out that every woman is different – “natural, C-section, episiotomy or tearing? –Obviously if you had a rough time you aren’t going to be ready at six weeks. Still, stitches should be completely gone and C-section mums must wait double the six week period after having this “major surgery”! Even then, lifting or pulling heavy objects and doing any impact exercises is going to put a strain on your abdomen.”
If you want to read Alison’s entire article you’ll find it here.
Returning to racing
Once again the timing for returning to racing varied from women to women. Victoria McNeill said “I did not have the time to train and race properly but started again a few years later.”
Whereas India Faehndrich returned to racing just five weeks after giving birth however she said “ not to the same level, or as often (due to time – I have to share cycling days with my husband and I am working). And to be honest after a few bad racing crashes where I broke bones, I struggle to lay it on the line. A broken arm and a baby is a bad combination!”
Rebecca Hay had a similar experience to Victoria and said “I really only started regular riding when baby number two was about three years old.”
All agreed that it is important to make some time for yourself once you’re ready to venture out on the bike. India Faehndrich said “There are ways around the logistics and I love my time out on the bike. My advice would be to stay fit throughout the pregnancy and use it as your social, time out when your baby is young. If your partner also rides, make a deal where you both get equal opportunities to ride. That way there’s no resentment and you both get what you need.”
Pip Buchanan said “I would say give it a go; some people manage to juggle both really well. But if you’re like me and have an unsettled little one, and it’s just not happening, then perhaps take the pressure off yourself and enjoy this very special time with you beautiful bub. Look at getting back into it when they are a little older, at the end of the day it’s such a short time, and they are well worth the sacrifice. That’s what I’ve done anyway, and I don’t regret it.”
Above all you should do what works for you. Melinda Allen said “Don’t let what other people can achieve during pregnancy /post birth make you feel inadequate – it is a tough time in the first year, do what you can to keep the right balance. Having said, that talk to your partner about making your health a priority in that first six months, getting an hour out on the bike can feel amazing and help you get through some of the tough times.”
Kim Stokeld said “Do what and as much as you feel comfortable with.. It’s your decision, it has nothing to do with anyone else.”