Written by Shelli Stevenson, DPT
Another of our favorite summer sports in Montana is hitting the trails on a mountain bike. If you are wondering when it might be ok to get back on 2 wheels after having a baby …. here are some guidelines and recommendations for you, remembering that every postpartum situation is unique.
GOOD NEWS! Because biking is a low impact activity, you don’t need to wait as long as you would to resume running and jumping. However, those lady bits down below are healing and may be very sensitive to the saddle as they recover.
If you had a vaginal birth, you want to wait a minimum of six weeks to let your perineum heal and any stitches to dissolve. If you had a C-Section you will want to wait a minimum of 8 weeks for post-surgical healing.
Now returning to your bike following the birth of your child should be something you prepare for to allow yourself to be successful.
- Consider changing your saddle, your pelvis may have changed during pregnancy and birth. Size your saddle by resting your sits bones in the middle of the seat. A saddle that is too wide or too narrow can cause significant discomfort/pain while riding.
- Make sure you wear adequate gel or padded shorts to protect your pelvic tissue and make your more comfortable.
- Start off slowly with 15 min at a time. Slowly increase by 15 minutes as your body feels it can. Always assessing how your body feels, watch for an increase of bleeding, or pelvic or SI pain. Working your way up to riding 3-5 times per week 30 min- 60 minutes.
- Start on a stationary bike or trainer. Then progress back outside to your mountain or road bike. It may be nice in those first few rides to just be able to stop and not have to ride all the way home if something isn’t feeling good.
- Consider having a professional bike fit. Having a professional make sure your seat height and handle bar height, cleat position, and overall postural position is correct may help you increase your comfort level returning to the bike. Tom Cuddy at Lone Peak Performance is a bike fit expert as well as an Exercise Physiologist and may be just the guy to help your return to peak cycling condition.
- If you have pain-STOP. Reach out to your doctor or a physical therapist to evaluate and assess why.
Cycling can be such a great way to get back in shape following having a baby! Just remember to listen to your body and make sure you ease back in!