Our fabulous instructor Carol Ann is 6 months pregnant. Since our studios have begun to reopen she's been back on the bike, instructing like the total legend she is!
We are often asked by pregnant women whether it is safe to continue spinning during pregnancy. Our answer to this is that as long as they have been advised by their doctor that it's fine, then they can enjoy a ride with some small changes to make them more comfortable.
Spinning can be a great form of exercise during pregnancy as it is relatively low impact while allowing you to get your heart rate up and blood pumping!
We asked Carol Ann to share some advice for other pregnant women who may be looking to get back on the bike!
What’s the biggest change you’ve found instructing when pregnant?
My heart rate increases much faster than it used to, so I just have to warm up gently and slowly. I actually try and do a fast walk to the studio or get on the bike 10 minutes before class so the first track doesn't come as a shock. This is due to a combination of hormonal changes and because the amount of blood pumped by the heart increases anywhere between 30-50% in pregnancy to move blood through the system to your growing baby!
Are there any specific changes you’ve made to your bike set up to make it more comfortable?
Yes! A seat cushion to make the ride a bit more comfortable. I raise my handle bars about 2 settings higher than I used to (they used to be level with my saddle around setting 6, now I have them at an 8 and will probably move them up again as the bump gets bigger.)
With your growing bump, your core will tire out faster and this could put too much pressure on your lower back. Also, keeping the handle bars higher means I'm still able to do push ups and waybacks without crunching into my core as much as I used to.
What advice would you give to someone who is pregnant but a little nervous to get back on the bike?
I was nervous too and I think that's totally normal! But you have to remember that you are completely in control of your speed, your resistance, what moves you choose to do, etc. Your instructor is there to motivate you, but no one knows your body better than you do, so listen to it and don't feel you have to do everything they say if it doesn't feel good for your body! No one will judge you if you decide to skip some of the choreography.
If it helps, stay towards the back or side of the room so you feel comfortable taking breaks when you need to. Also, it's easy to think that light resistance is an easy way to get through a spin class when pregnant. Be careful! Light resistance can be really dangerous, especially out of the saddle, as you will be less stable on the bike. If you're exhausted, it’s OK to not be on the beat for the entire class.
Stay at a safe level of resistance for jumps and holds out of the saddle where you feel really supported by the bike, and lose the beat or choreo when you need to.