Mountain Biking While Pregnant: 10 Important Things To Know

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

There used to be a time when people believed women should do as little as possible when pregnant. They were expected to sit back, relax, and lift nothing heavy or do anything remotely strenuous, hoping to protect the baby at all costs.

Nowadays, the narrative, thankfully, has completely changed. More and more researchers find that exercise during pregnancy actually reaps amazing benefits for both you and your baby! Some of the many benefits of working out while pregnant include better sleep, better energy levels, fewer backaches, lower risk of gestational diabetes, shortened labor time, and so much more! 

Biking is one form of working out that has a ton of benefits, and mountain biking is growing more popular these days. So, you may wonder if it could be a type of workout you can do during pregnancy? Is mountain biking safe for women who are expecting? 

10 Important Things To Know 

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

There are so many ways that you can safely workout while you’re pregnant, but your options may be limited based on your experience, comfort levels and your recommendations by your doctor. If you have a passion for mountain biking and have experience with this form of exercise prior to your pregnancy, it’s still imperative that you consult with your doctor before deciding to do this form (or any form) of a workout. That being said, below are 10 important things to know if you are considering mountain biking while pregnant as an exercise.

1. Know Your Current Activity Level 

Most experts recommend 30 minutes of moderate exercise for all women during pregnancy. However, this can change based on your pre-pregnancy activity level. If, prior to your pregnancy, you were running constantly and in tip-top shape, most will say that you can continue at the fitness level your body is used to. 

Of course, as you get farther along in your pregnancy, there will come a time for modifications to certain workouts, but normally you may continue working out with your typical routine as long as you listen to your body and consult your doctor. 

Now, if you were sedentary at the time you got pregnant, it is not the time to pump iron, mountain biking, or start up any new workout regimen. If you wish to be more active in preparing for labor and keep the baby healthy, talk to your doctor about starting small with afternoon walks and building up slowly. Your chief priority during your pregnancy is ensuring your and your baby’s health. 

2. Mountain Biking and Risk of Falling 

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

Most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology (ACOC) don’t recommend activities that might cause falling if you are pregnant as this could cause harm to you or your baby. 

I’ll share more below about keeping your balance, especially as your baby and your belly grow, but it’s important to understand that mountain biking will increase your risk of falling with your balance shifting. 

According to the ACOC, they state that riding a standard bicycle may be too risky and suggest sticking with a stationary bike instead. However, they also say that if you are experienced in a particular activity, you may continue them if your doctor approves. 

3. Determine Your Safety

If you are an experienced mountain biker or cyclist, it seems like there will be less of a risk for you and your pregnancy. However, every person should assess their own safety with their doctor in order to make an informed decision. Here are some things to consider in determining your safety if you are going to mountain bike while pregnant.   

4. Keep Your Balance 

One part of pregnancy that can be difficult for some women is maintaining their balance. Over the course of nine months, your entire body is shifting and changing. Because the baby is bringing more weight to your front core, your body weight distribution is constantly changing the more your baby grows. 

Because you must learn to walk and move with more weight in front, your balance may be affected. 

5. Mountain Biking Modifications During Pregnancy

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

In order to increase your safety if you decide to mountain bike while pregnant, there are some modifications that you can make… 

Avoid Technical Tracks

Technical tracks or advanced trails with a lot of varied terrain can definitely increase your risk of falling and injury. If you are going to mountain bike, you will definitely need to consider flatter surfaces without a lot of debris, rocks, roots, or other terrain that can get in your way.

Use Flat Pedals

Using toe straps or pedal clips can increase your chance of falling. While they may be more efficient, their risks outweigh their benefits for mountain biking while pregnant. So you should definitely use flat pedals! 

6. Focus on Staying Hydrated 

Hydration is incredibly important during pregnancy, and if you are going to mountain bike or workout regularly, you especially need to be aware of your water intake and focus on staying hydrated.

Dehydration during pregnancy can be very dangerous for both you and your baby. It can cause minor symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, but it can also cause some serious complications like preterm labor or even birth defects. 

Make sure that if you mountain bike while you are pregnant that you always bring more than enough water with you, take frequent hydration breaks, and listen to your body’s cues carefully. Of course, working out while pregnant has significant benefits for you and your baby, but it will also increase your need for hydration and water. 

7. Don’t Ride Alone

If you make the decision that mountain biking while pregnant is safe for you, I would highly suggest that you never ride alone. Of course, we would wish nothing bad happen to you or your baby, but you’ve got to make sure that you’re being realistic. And the reality is you are increasing your chances of falling, depending on your experience and weight distribution. 

On the off chance that you fall, you need someone there to be with you and help you. So, if you decide to mountain bike, make sure that you take your partner or a trusted friend! 

8. Stationary Biking while Pregnant

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

Because the biggest risk of riding a bike while pregnant is falling, the more your baby grows, the more your risk will increase. As mentioned above, both your balance and endurance will begin to be affected.

Stationary exercise bikes are inherently safer, but can offer the same benefits of riding a regular bike. While the view may not be as exciting, you can get the same workout from the comfort and safety of a bike that stays in one place. 

If your doctor deems mountain biking as too much of a risk, you could ask about using a stationary exercise bike as an alternative. But, even if your doctor gives you the “okay” for mountain biking while pregnant, by at least 25 weeks, transition to the exercise bike

9. Find Activities That Don’t Require Balancing 

If your doctor deems biking while expecting unsafe for you or if it makes you uncomfortable, you can always find activities that don’t require balancing! There are so many ways that you can stay active throughout your pregnancy that don’t increase your risk of falling. 

Some of the many examples to try include walking, hiking, stationary exercise bikes, prenatal yoga or workout classes, swimming or water aerobics, and so much more.  

10. Mountain Biking While Pregnant – Safety First 

Mountain Biking While Pregnant

If you and your doctor have weighed these options about your personal health and determined that mountain biking while pregnant is a great workout for you, always remember to put safety first. 

Mountain biking is so fun and exhilarating! It’s got some amazing views, and it’s got some challenging trails. But, no matter what level you are, remember to always put you and your child’s safety first!

Photo of author

Jessica Meacham

I’m a former college athlete turned marathon-running and outdoor exploring mom of two little ones. From hiking through Iceland to paddle boarding in Lake Tahoe, our family is always up for a fun adventure that incorporates fun and fitness!

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