Mountain biking is an extreme sport that is not safe for novice riders. Riders with years of experience are also at the risk of falling or crashing due to the high speed and rugged landscapes.
For a safe mountain biking trip, good balance is critical. Improper balance or uneven body weight distribution can cause a mountain biker to trip and fall over. Serious mountain biking accidents can result in fractures, broken limbs, deep wounds, and spinal damage.
Mountain biking is a risky sport for pregnant women. Pregnant women with little prior experience should avoid riding a mountain bike for safety reasons. Experienced mountain riders in the last trimester of their pregnancy are also discouraged from riding a mountain bike.
However, certain safety measures and care practices can reduce the dangers of riding a mountain bike while being pregnant.
This article will shed light on the risks of riding a mountain bike during pregnancy. Moreover, it will elaborate on the essential safety measures for riding a mountain while pregnant.
Lastly, it will highlight other less risky physical exercises women can indulge in during their final trimesters.
Can You Ride a Mountain Bike While Being Pregnant?
Mountain biking is a great form of physical exercise that helps people shed extra calories and live a more active life. Riding in groups can positively affect a person’s mental health and lead to meaningful social interactions as well.
Pregnant women are advised to remain active throughout their pregnancy. Physical exercises help pregnant women maintain healthy joints while preventing unhealthy weight gain.
However, due to the risks of riding a mountain bike while pregnant, many women are encouraged to practice safer forms of physical exercise.
The Risks of Riding a Mountain Bike During Pregnancy
Being pregnant comes with the responsibility of protecting your life and ensuring the safety and health of your unborn baby. While many women can continue practicing their daily activities, some may experience high-risk pregnancies.
These women are especially advised to avoid all practices and habits that could potentially put their baby’s life in danger.
Mountain bikes are designed for extreme riding adventures. With almost half of the American population aged above sixteen riding mountain bikes every year, thrilling trails are designed to keep the excitement high.
Although fatalities are uncommon, mountain biking injuries can lead to permanent brain damage, spinal injuries, and broken bones.
In the case of a pregnant woman riding a mountain bike, a severe fall or crash could endanger the unborn baby’s development.
A direct impact can cause a miscarriage, early labor and can develop lifelong illnesses such as Down’s syndrome and schizophrenia in the baby.
Moreover, as a woman enters the last trimester of her pregnancy, the size and weight of her abdomen increase significantly. The uneven distribution of weight affects her center of gravity and can hinder her balance.
Since riding a mountain bike depends on balance, a fully pregnant woman’s chances of crashing get higher.
Which Women Can Ride a Mountain Bike During Their Pregnancy?
Women with ample mountain biking experience and low-risk pregnancies can ride mountain bikes during the first and second trimesters.
However, they also need to take all the necessary safety measures to reduce the risks of falling or getting injured.
Moreover, such women are discouraged from riding their mountain bikes during their last trimester.
Which Women Cannot Ride a Mountain Bike During Their Pregnancy?
Women with little or no mountain biking experience should avoid this sport during their entire pregnancy. Their insufficient experience can threaten their and their baby’s life regardless of the speed or terrain. It is simply just not worth taking the risk.
Moreover, women experiencing high-risk pregnancies that could lead to miscarriage should avoid mountain biking sports.
Furthermore, pregnant women suffering from physical disabilities that affect their motion, balance, and muscle control should refrain from riding any bike.
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How to Ride a Mountain Bike More Safely During Pregnancy?
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology discourages any physical activity that could increase a woman’s chances of falling. Only women with sufficient understanding and experience of mountain biking should consider riding a mountain bike.
Certain safety measures should be considered to make the experience safer for themselves and the unborn baby.
Start With a Normal Bike
Regardless of how experienced you are, pregnancy can affect your mobility and balance in many ways. Hence, instead of jumping onto a mountain bike, you should first practice on a normal bike.
Riding a regular bike on flat surfaces would help you understand your pedaling ability, physical capabilities, balance, and limits. You can also watch your heart rate and blood pressure during a ride for a clearer health analysis.
Doing so will allow you to determine whether it is feasible for you to continue riding or not. Falling off a bike due to hyperventilation can lead to serious injuries.
If you struggle to pedal for long periods and get too tired, you need more practice before transitioning to a mountain bike. Moreover, if your balance is off, you should avoid riding all kinds of bikes during your pregnancy.
According to the ACOG, riding a stationary bike is the safest bike-related exercise that a woman can practice.
Check Your Balance
A mountain bike is significantly heavier than a regular bike. It requires more strength and greater balance to ride a mountain bike safely. A slight loss of momentum and balance could cause a person to fall off and get injured.
When a pregnant woman is involved, balance is even more critical. Moreover, as a woman’s pregnancy progresses, the increasing weight of her abdomen disturbs her center of gravity.
Hence, after checking your heart rate and blood pressure levels on a regular bike, practice balancing a mountain bike on flat surfaces.
Balancing on a heavy mountain bike is harder than a regular bike; hence, you need to practice before hitting a challenging trail. If your balance is shaky after days of practice, refrain from riding on rougher terrains.
Check the Weather
Riding a mountain bike can get more dangerous if it starts to rain. The rainwater can reduce friction between the bike’s tires and the ground, causing your bike to slip and fall. Moreover, riding when it is extremely hot outside could cause you to dehydrate, hyperventilate, and faint.
Hence, you must check the weather forecast before planning a riding trip. Ideally, ride only when the weather is clear and not too hot.
Get Informed Regarding the Trail
Ideally, it would be best to avoid too uneven and dangerous trails. However, if you want to have the full mountain biking experience, you should choose a trail you have ridden on before.
Doing so would allow you to prepare yourself for turns, bumps, and jumps during your ride. An unexpected turn or jump could cause you to lose balance and crash. You can also gather information regarding a trail through the help of the online biking community or your biking friends.
Moreover, avoid choosing trails that have excessive jumps and bumps. A high jump could cause serious damage to your bike and the baby. Furthermore, refrain from choosing lengthy trails and stick to trails that end in approximately thirty minutes.
Get Properly Geared Up
One should always gear up properly before riding any bike. However, riding a mountain bike while being pregnant requires additional care measures.
Do not wear the old riding shirt that fits tightly on you due to your pregnancy. Tighter shirts may affect your breathing and hinder your blood flow, causing you to hyperventilate and fall. Hence, invest in maternity bike riding outfits that better fit your body.
Moreover, invest in a high-quality helmet, elbow pads, knee pads, and proper riding shoes that reduce friction for efficient pedaling. You can also wear a maternity belt that helps support your back and improves your overall balance.
Furthermore, wear thick fabric trousers and a riding jacket to prevent you from getting small scratches that may cause distress.
However, wearing too many layers of clothing during a hot day could cause you to hyperventilate and fall.
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Pack Food and Water
Regardless of your biking trail length, pregnancy can cause you to feel hungry and dehydrated earlier than usual. Not having a snack or sufficient water during a ride could cause you to pass out and fall.
Hence, pack nutritious, lightweight snacks that can offer instant energy boosts. You can pack dates, nuts, chocolates, sugary candy, or energy bars.
Moreover, always keep a water bottle to remain hydrated and active during your ride. A lightweight two-liter water bottle would help you pack enough water for a standard-length trail.
Do Not Mountain Bike Alone
Riding a mountain bike by yourself could be therapeutic and relaxing; however, doing so while being pregnant could be dangerous.
You need all the extra help you can get to ensure the safety of your biking trip. Being alone during an injury while being pregnant could cause you to panic and hyperventilate.
Moreover, not getting instant help during a serious injury could cause you to lose the baby. Hence, always plan a trip with other experienced mountain bikers who could offer instant help in emergencies.
Ride a Flat Pedal Mountain Bike
Mountain bike pedals with pedal clips or toe straps can increase your chances of falling. Hence, invest in a flat pedal mountain bike or have the pedals or your existing mountain bike changed.
Ride at Controlled Speed
Riding your mountain bike at high speeds could increase your chances of losing balance and falling.
Moreover, falling from your mountain bike at high speeds would increase the severity of your injury. Hence, ride the mountain bike at normal speeds that allow you to balance and control your bike over any terrain.
Safe Physical Exercises for Pregnant Women
Riding a mountain bike could be a thrilling adventure; however, it is not the safest activity for pregnant women.
Pregnant women should ideally refrain from physical activity that could potentially harm them and their babies.
To prevent unhealthy weight gain and remain active during the pregnancy, women can indulge in safer outdoor physical exercises.
Performing yoga out in your backyard, your balcony, or on a hilltop is an effective form of outdoor exercise. It allows a pregnant woman to breathe fresh air while helping her lose extra weight.
The therapeutic after-effects of yoga positively affect the woman’s mental health, essential for the baby’s health.
Swimming is a refreshing physical exercise that helps pregnant women stay fit and happy.
The water’s buoyancy allows pregnant women a moment of weightlessness that helps cure their backaches and muscle pains.
Taking long walks around the park or on a beach can help pregnant women get their daily dose of physical exercise without getting too tiring.
Walking promotes healthy blood flow and improves mood. It helps prevent unhealthy weight gain and helps relieve muscle pains.
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- How to Clean A Mountain Bike Chain
- How to Convert a Mountain Bike to a Road Bike
Mountain biking is an adventurous sport that requires experience, fitness, and great balance. Since pregnancy comes with the responsibility of protecting the unborn baby, pregnant women should stick to safe physical exercises such as swimming or walking.
However, if a woman wishes to mountain bike during pregnancy, practicing on a regular bike, developing balance, and choosing safer trails are some essential care measures to ensure a risk-free ride.
I am Michael, an avid rider and bike expert. I am here to provide, biking tips and expert advice on in-depth bike reviews covering features, capabilities, price range, and much more. Specially on electric bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes, etc. I will provide honest product reviews, along with expert advice on purchasing, training, and maintenance. Check out my complete profile.