Dear Fitness Expert,
Hi. I am just shy of 4-weeks pregnant and am in good shape. Before knowing I was pregnant, I was riding around 9 hours a week and am starting to put in more hours mountain biking. I am an ex-professional mountain bike racer and coach mountain bike skills in spring and summer for women. Can I continue to mountain bike ride this early in pregnancy? As well I have a very labor intensive job where I lift heavy rubbermaids filled with coffeebeans anywhere from 15-50 pounds all day. I hope you can answer my questions.
You are my favorite kind of new mom... healthy, strong, cardiovascularly fit and cautious about the future! As strong as you are, it is always good to ask questions. Regardless of what you learn here, please speak with your OB/GYN about all your physical activities and concerns. It is important that your doctor know what you are doing and of your physical health.
So, can you continue to ride? Horseback riding and competitive mountain biking are no-nos as you move along in the pregnancy because there is always the risk factors you may not be able to control -- a spooked horse, faulty equipment, an inconsiderate or out-of-control rider... But in the early stages of your pregnancy, you should not be overly concerned.
Working with the renowned Dr. James Clapp, I continued to lift heavy weights throughout my pregnancy. I was squatting over 300 pounds into my second trimester. However, I was constantly monitored and worked with professional trainers in my quest for a spot on a national team. The point here is, physically your body will be able to take it. Should you? Only you can answer this but it is important to note that as your pregnancy moves along, your ligaments and joints will be moving and separating in preparation of labor. Injuries are more prone in the third pregnancy due to the loosening of joints -- knee, hip, lower back.
At four weeks, the biggest concern you may have is how you will work through the physical demands when/if you have morning sickness. Be sure to speak with your doctor but continue coaching mountain biking (that sounds really cool!). My advice is to contact a physical trainer and have a few workout sessions in regards to lifting, how to lift . . . and be prepared to let someone else to the lifting in your third trimester.
Good luck, stay strong and be sure to keep us posted.
Alexandra Allred is a former member of the US Women's Bobsled team, is an accomplished martial artist, and continues to teach kickboxing while juggling her career as a full-time writer and mother of three. She has interviewed hundreds of athletes, models, actresses, trainers, doctors, and health/fitness experts as she sought to find answers to her own questions about working out while pregnant, arranging breast-feeding around a training schedule, diet when pregnant and breastfeeding, and encouraging her whole family.
Alex is the author of ten books, including Atta Girl! A Celebration of Women in Sports and Entering the Mother Zone: Balancing Self, Health & Family. We're excited to have her on board!