So, your baby is here and you have been itching to get out on the bike. Or you are still pregnant but are dreaming about that first ride after the baby is born.
A few things to note before jumping on the bike:
1) Professional advice suggests you don’t do any rigorous exercise until 6 weeks post baby or until your obstetrician has given you the all clear.
2) Depending on the birth, you may need to wait longer until you hit the trails. cesarean births are major surgery, natural births can also come with trauma such as tearing or an episiotomy (where a surgical cut is made down ‘there’) which requires stitches.
3) There are other not so glamorous parts of childbirth, which can put a dampener on that first ride back. You will bleed for some time (3-6 weeks), which means you will be wearing enormous maternity pads. Maternity pads and bike nix don’t go well together. So just wait until the bleeding stops.
4) Your breasts will also cause havoc while you get into the routine of breastfeeding. They can be really sore and leak milk, which usually settles down around the 6-week mark.
Once you’ve been given the all clear, what can you expect?
- Soreness ‘downstairs’. Don’t panic, you will go back to normal. But take it slow and wear good quality padded nix. Stand up on the pedals rather than sitting on the seat.
- Tender breasts. Don’t wear a tight sports bra, it can restrict milk flow and then you can develop mastitis. It’s a breast infection (i.e. The-Worst-Thing-Ever).
- A 6-week old baby wakes up every few hours overnight. You have now begun the long journey of sleep deprivation. Prepare to be vague.
- Breathe in the fresh air, think of nothing but yourself. Clear your mind. Enjoy yourself.
- Effortless riding and feeling fast. Yes that’s right. Riding post baby is so much easier than riding while pregnant. Those climbs you plodded up while pregnant will now be much easier!
- Fun on the technical trails. Now you don’t have a baby bump to worry about, you can hit those drops and nail the rock garden once again. Although your skills may still feel a bit rusty as you get used to your new center of gravity.
Although there are a few things to consider before riding again, you may actually be surprised how quickly your body gets back into the rhythm of it.
With a baby, it is really important to take time out for yourself to keep you in a positive mental state. Incorporating exercise into your time out is an excellent way to stay fit and refreshed.