Friday, May 13, 2011


I really did not see this one coming.  I've talked to the doctor before about my exercise - including biking.  I've cut back on my exercise.  I make sure I can carry on a conversation while exercising.  I stay hydrated.  I take care of myself and therefore my baby.  I am well educated regarding exercise and pregnancy.

So the appointment yesterday...

(Picture doctor standing in front of you with hands on hips and snarky attitude.)

Doctor - I saw you rode your bike to the last appointment.
Me - Yes.
Doc - Exactly how much are you biking?
Me - Commuting 4 miles/day, Monday bike ride of around 10 miles...(luckily I got no further than this or she might have blown a gasket)
Doc - I'm concerned about your center of balance and riding long miles...increasing your chance of falling or pre-term labor..
Husband - What causes pre-term labor?
Doc - Overheating, she needs to take it easy
Husband - She has been taking it easy, she's cut down from her pre-pregnancy mileage by over 50%
Doc - She's not pre-pregnant, she's pregnant (Really??  Hadn't noticed that one...)
Doc - More 'talking at us' about falling and taking it easy and overheating...
Doc - You've only gained .5lbs since your last appointment.
Me - No, I've gained about 3lbs - last time I was here I was wearing boots; this time I'm wearing sandals.
Doc - Overall your weight gain is fine and your measurements are where they should be (like I said...)

There was more I'm sure - that's the gist of it though.  Basically she said biking is unsafe for me now.  Mostly annoyed with her approach.  Going to blame it on her having a bad day, just being cautious, etc...
There are so many sides to this issue though.

Overheating - since it's hotter this could be an issue.  It leads to dehydration so I have been monitoring the color of my urine closely.  But, honestly it's just as big of an issue with running, walking, anything outdoors when it's 90 degrees and she didn't mention any of those.
Falling - there is always a risk of falling when on a bike no matter how careful you are.  But, there is some danger in anything we do or any form of transportation we use.  I am conscious about the fact that I could fall, but I also don't feel that my center of balance is really 'off'.  Maybe it will be, but currently it isn't.  I feel safe on my bike or I wouldn't do it.  
Out of my control factors - other cyclists, animals, and vehicles.  

Normal exercising during pregnancy benefits - more energy, better mood, better sleep, easier labor and even possibly healthier heart for baby.

Other factors:
Safer/as safe as cars?? - more pregnant women die in car accidents than birth complications.  In addition, odds of dying in a car accident are 1/88, while odds of dying in a bicycling accident are 1/4717 per the NSC.  Now, that's not taking into account the fetus.  Evidently states are not required to track fetus deaths when reporting accidents.  They estimate 300 - 1000 per year.  More than 4X the death rate of infants & children up to 4 years. Mostly due to steering wheel and improper use of seat belt.
I should state it seems the big worry with falls off a bike or with an automobile accident is detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall - causing the fetus to lose oxygen.  I read it accounts for 80% of fetal loss in automobile accidents.  

So, what to do, what to do????
Baby comes first.  Cycling seems safer than driving a car.  Slow commuting seems appropriate on an upright bike.  Biking on trails away from traffic seems OK.  Road riding may be out for now.  Tonight is Thursday and I generally ride roads, but it is a hilly course with no shoulders so why take the chance I guess.  Planning to take my trainer and ride in the parking lot while the man bikes then go for an off road run with him.  

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