How to cycle safely while pregnant

Maternity fitness experts FittaMamma share their advice on cycling during pregnancy

A young, pregnant woman on a mountain bike on a trail in the forest of Oregon.

We speak to mums-to-be fitness experts FittaMamma for their tips on how your bike training may be affected by your pregnancy.


Can you continue to cycle during pregnancy?

The easy to answer this question is of course ‘yes’. There are plenty of countries where a bike is the normal mode of transport and no one would think twice about cycling right up until their baby is born.

There’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to ride your bike as long as you feel comfortable on two wheels – it’s a great way to help maintain a healthy pregnancy.

However, we wouldn’t recommend training or competing in an environment where there’s an increased risk of trauma or falling. Training in a pack or hardcore off-road cycling should probably be put on hold until after your baby is born.

How hard can you train?

Make sure you can still talk! If you’re training so hard that you can’t hold a conversation then you’re training too hard – you should be able to carry on chatting.

Any training you undertake during pregnancy should be about maintaining your fitness levels, not about improvement or ensuring you hone your competitive edge.

Listen to your body and slow down or stop when you’re tired. This isn’t the time to ‘train through’ fatigue.

How do I adapt to my growing bump?

You may find it more comfortable to raise the handlebars on your bike so you are sitting in a more upright position.

Some women find that their balance is affected as their bump gets bigger – if this is the case for you it’s not worth taking the risk of cycling outdoors, although you can continue to train on a stationary bike.

Now I’m pregnant, do I need to prepare differently before a cycle ride?

We would always advocate warming up properly before any exercise session. This is even more important when you’re pregnant to gradually increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles, ligaments and tendons.

The hormone relaxin released during pregnancy can make your joints more prone to injury, so it’s important that you don’t overstretch.

Should I adapt my clothing when cycling while pregnant?

Your core body temperature increases when you’re pregnant, so go for layers and choose clothes with moisture-wicking properties. It’s well worth supporting your bump – it will improve your comfort and hold you secure like a well-fitting sports bra.

How should I change my diet when cycling while pregnant?

Pregnant women don’t need to ‘eat for two’. You need to add around 300 additional calories into your usual diet.  However, if you are exercising it’s important to ensure that your body is properly fuelled. Don’t exercise on an empty stomach, be sure to stay properly hydrated and refuel after your exercise session.

If you’re on a longer ride it’s worth carrying a few nutritious snacks, to boost your energy levels. Drinking milk before, after or even during your cycle ride is as beneficial as a sports drink and you’ll be glad of the extra calcium too!

For loads more women’s training advice head to our Women’s section.


Top image: Getty Images