Pregnancy is considered to be one of the greatest miracles of life. And why not? After all, growing a whole human in your body does seem quite miraculous. Not everyone can do it.
But at the same time, any pregnant woman will tell you that it is not all rainbows and sunshine. Pregnancy time brings many challenges, and pregnant women face many restrictions.
This brings us to riding motorcycles. Riding a bike is about adventure and the open road. But if you are pregnant, is it too adventurous? Does it put your body and your unborn child at risk?
Motorcycle riding by itself is not dangerous for pregnancy. But it exposes a pregnant woman to greater risks than usual. So, while it can be safe, you should be aware of the risks and benefits.
Even if you are an experienced rider, the first thing you should do is consult your doctor. They will help you decide if your health condition is good enough to continue riding.
For example, if you have placenta previa, physical activity is highly restricted. This is a condition in which the placenta partially or wholly blocks the neck of the uterus. It can interfere with normal delivery.
But for many others, physical activity is deemed perfectly safe.
What are the pros and cons of riding a bike while pregnant?
Riding a motorcycle is a lot of fun. And if you are a regular rider, it’s hard to see the downsides.
Bikes don’t have seatbelts or covered bodies like cars. So, the chances of motorcyclist fatalities are higher. But there can be benefits to riding while pregnant, as long as your doctor approves.
If you are an experienced rider, the best time to ride during pregnancy is during the first trimester. You can also continue in the second trimester if you are careful. However, riding in the third trimester is not a good idea.
The pros of riding a bike
- Being physically active is good for everyone, including pregnant women. So, riding a bike can be a useful addition to your exercise routine. It can include riding a stationary bike for indoor cycling.
- It increases endorphins in your body, which can improve your mood.
- Riding a bike can also lead to better blood circulation and lower blood pressure.
- It can give you a sense of freedom and control. Pregnancy can make you feel like you have no control over your body. So, having this kind of freedom can be helpful for your mental health.
So long as you don’t face common symptoms such as morning sickness, a bike ride can be beneficial. Your unborn baby is safe inside the womb, and simple jerks and bumpy rides won’t affect it. So, as long as you don’t have serious accidental falls, it should be fine.
The cons of riding a bike
While there are benefits, many experts agree that the risks can outweigh them.
- Nadaguides.com says the chances of a fatality in a motorcycle accident are approximately 30 times higher than in a car. The risk is even higher for a pregnant woman. It could lead to the motorcycle-related deaths of the rider, the unborn child, or both.
- It could lead to higher cortisol and adrenaline levels in the body. That can be unsafe for both mother and child. This could result in an increased heart rate.
- A pregnant rider is also prone to the risk of falling, which could cause abdominal trauma. High progesterone levels during pregnancy can loosen your ligaments. It makes you more prone to tears or strains.
Precautions to take riding a motorcycle while pregnant
While the risks might be high, as long as you are willing and able, you should be able to ride a bike. In fact, for many people, their mode of transport is not a choice but a necessity. So, whether they are pregnant or not, they have to ride.
But there are some precautions and safety rules you must follow to avoid fatal injuries.
- Always wear protective gear, such as a proper, good-quality helmet and light clothes that fully cover your body. It will help in easier movement and also help you control your bike better.
- Sitting properly on the bike is crucial. You should sit straight and grab both bike handles at the correct angle. If possible, you should also use some support for your back. This will help avoid putting too much pressure on your baby bump.
- If the bike you are riding is an older model or a dirt bike, it might have a kick start. Many mopeds and scooters also carry both a kick start and an electric start. If you are pregnant, avoid using the kick start as you need to apply force. If you have to use it, ask someone to do it for you.
- Avoid long rides. Being pregnant often means you get tired easily. So, don’t overstrain yourself riding long distances.
- You should also avoid wet, bumpy roads and rough terrain, which can increase your chance of falling.
- Avoid high speed, don’t tailgate, and avoid rush hour. While you can be as careful as possible, you cannot control how other road users behave. So, it’s better to lower your risk of being in motorcycle accidents.
- Always obey traffic rules and keep a check on weather conditions. Rain, ice, or snow increases fall risk. Also, keep your medicine and drinking water or snacks on you at all times.
When to avoid riding on a bike entirely during pregnancy
It would be better for pregnant riders to stop bike riding entirely in the third trimester. This applies even if you are a very experienced rider. In the third trimester of your pregnancy, your center of gravity shifts. This affects your balance and increases your risk factors.
Moreover, if you have just started to learn how to ride a bike or are planning to, avoid riding altogether. It would be better to continue lessons after the baby is born.
What types of motorcycles are better for pregnant people?
Choosing the right type of motorcycle is a personal choice, of course. It also depends on your experience level. But it is also a well-known fact that certain types face more traffic fatalities than others. So, this makes them even more dangerous if you are pregnant.
Ideally, scooters and mopeds are the most practical options. They are easy to ride because of their simple gears. They are also not very powerful and are easy to control.
Cruisers are another good option. They are often large and heavy but are not the most powerful. Additionally, because of their lower seat height, many riders consider them the most comfortable to ride and control.
Trikes (three-wheeled bikes) could also be a good option. They are generally considered to be safer than bikes. They offer more stability and are not prone to tipping over. They are also more visible on the road and easier to ride, balance, and control.
On the other hand, as exciting as they are, superbikes and supersport motorcycles may not be the most suitable. In the United States, the driver death rate for riders with supersport motorcycles is four times higher than other motorcycle types. Dirt bikes also would not be advisable.
There will always be people who have strong opinions on the safety of motorcycles for pregnant riders. However, it is not up to them to decide. Pregnancy can be a different experience for different people.
The American College of Obstetricians says regular physical activity is fine if you are healthy and your pregnancy is normal. So, the best way to decide whether to continue riding or not is up to you and your doctor.
Then again, you don’t want to be included in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics on motorcycle fatalities. So, if you do decide to ride, take every precaution. Better to be safe than sorry.