If you have recently become pregnant, then you may have realized that some things you may have previously taken for granted may be off the cards while you are expecting.
But what about riding a motorcycle or motorbike, where does this activity rank in terms of what you should or should not be doing while pregnant?
The answer often comes down to the precautions you take, and how much risk you are comfortable with.
In this post, I’m going to lay out some of the most common risks that come with riding a motorcycle in your first, second, and third trimesters, along with some important safety considerations that you can manage in order to lower (but never eliminate) your risk.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll hopefully be in a better position to make a call on whether riding a motorbike is something you want to continue doing while pregnant, or if you’d rather put your bike aside until after you’ve given birth.
Let’s jump straight in.
Table of Contents
- Benefits of Riding A Motorcycle During Pregnancy
- Risks & Other Considerations For Pregnant Women
- Can Riding A Motorcycle Cause Miscarriage?
- 9 Safety Precautions When Riding A Bike During Pregnancy
- Is It Safe To Ride On The Back Of A Motorcycle While Pregnant?
Benefits of Riding A Motorcycle During Pregnancy
To help give you a balanced perspective, I thought it would be a good idea to touch upon some of the benefits and positive things that many pregnant women state come with riding a motorbike.
Your list of positives may of course differ from the ones below, but the thing to note here is that there are indeed positives (whether perceived or real) that come from riding a motorbike, including:
- Sense Of Freedom And Control: During pregnancy, it can feel like many things are outside your direct control, such as how you feel or what foods you crave. The freedom and control that comes from jumping on your bike and going for a ride can therefore be very positive for your mental health while you are expecting.
- Lifts Your Mood: Similarly, if you enjoy riding a motorcycle and it’s something that fills you with a sense of joy, then this is another benefit that should not be forgotten about, particularly during a time in which your changing hormones can play havoc with your mood.
- Helps Maintain Strength And Muscle Tone: To ride a bike properly you need to maintain good posture and engage your core muscles, along with the muscles in your arms and legs.
Risks & Other Considerations For Pregnant Women
Riding a motorcycle can be tons of fun, there’s no doubt about it.
It does sadly however come with risks, and for some women, these risks will outweigh the positives we highlighted above.
Increased Risk Of An Accident
Studies in the U.S. reveal that while motorcyclists account for only 3.5% of all vehicles on the road, they account for 14% of all crash-related fatalities.
And perhaps what’s even more shocking is that motorcyclists are 24 times more likely to die in a car crash than those riding a car.
There are of course things you can do to reduce your risk (more on these shortly), but whether pregnant or not, it can’t be denied that motorbikes are more dangerous than cars.
Risk Of Falling
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the NHS state that pregnant women should avoid activities that may result in a fall or lead to being thrown off balance.
Now, when was the last time you were thrown off your motorbike?
Unless you’ve recently been involved in an accident or like to ride off-road, then it was probably a while ago, if ever.
But if you did have an accident while pregnant, then depending on the seriousness of the fall your baby may be hurt.
A minor fall, particularly during early pregnancy, is less of a concern that women realize because your body (the thick walls of your uterus along with amniotic fluid that serves as a cushion) will protect your developing baby during pregnancy.
But more serious falls, along with falls during the latter part of the second trimester and in the early part of your third trimester, could be extremely harmful to both you and your baby.
Another thing to consider is your level of comfort, because as we all know, pregnancy often comes with discomfort, especially towards the later stages.
As you progress through your pregnancy, the changes in your body and your growing bump may lead to you finding it harder to maintain your balance while riding your motorbike.
Difficulty maintaining your balance, or indeed other pregnancy symptoms like a sore back, nausea, or fatigue, are the last things you want to be dealing with while on a bike, particularly if they make it difficult to focus and concentrate on the road, or to maintain a safe and comfortable riding position.
Can Riding A Motorcycle Cause Miscarriage?
There is no scientific evidence to suggest that riding a motorcycle can cause a miscarriage.
You should note that 10% to 20% of all pregnancies sadly result in a miscarriage, and while there is no scientific proof that exercise causes a miscarriage, the bumps and movement that comes with riding a bike are slightly different to what you typically experience while exercising.
For this reason, you may want to speak with your healthcare provider if you are concerned about the risks (especially in the first trimester which is when most miscarriages happen), or if you have a history of miscarriages.
9 Safety Precautions When Riding A Bike During Pregnancy
As I mentioned earlier, riding a motorbike is relatively more dangerous than a car, and it’s impossible to eliminate the risks completely.
However, as with most activities, there are ways to reduce the risk, and here are nine things to think about:
- Check With Your Doctor Or Midwife First. The best place to start when deciding if you should ride a motorbike when pregnant is to speak with a medical professional.
- Stick To Shorter Journeys. From both a comfort and fatigue perspective, it’s best to avoid long rides so you don’t tire your body or mind.
- Wear A Helmet At All Times. Helmets save lives, so it goes without saying you should always wear one.
- Maintain Good Posture. Sit upright with your back straight and your lower abdomen supported and engaged.
- Avoid Inclement Weather. Your breaking distance will increase and visibility will reduce in poor weather, so when the weather turns south, think twice about riding your motorcycle.
- Keep To A Safe Speed And Ride Sensibly. It’s a no-brainer, but always keep below the speed limit and don’t drive recklessly.
- Avoid Bumpy Terrain. Bumpy and uneven roads will place extra strain on your body so try to avoid these, and if you can’t, drive slower over these terrains.
- Avoid Rush Hour And Busy Roads If Possible. More cars and drivers in a hurry means a higher chance of accidents, so seek out quieter roads and less busy times if you can.
- Make Other Plans If You Are Not Feeling Your Best. Listen to your body and don’t be afraid to take another mode of transport if you are not feeling up to using your motorbike.
Is It Safe To Ride On The Back Of A Motorcycle While Pregnant?
If your partner has a motorcycle, then you’re probably wondering if it’s safe for you to ride on the back of their bike during your pregnancy.
As you may expect, the answer really depends on most of the factors above.
You won’t need to concentrate on the road yourself, so fatigue is less of an issue, but factors such as your comfort, riding safely, wearing protective gear and avoiding bad weather still apply and should be thought about when making your decision.
Now you know the benefits, risks, and safety precautions regarding riding motorcycles while pregnant.
Ultimately the decision whether to ride or not comes down to what you feel most comfortable doing.
You know your body, circumstances, and what you’re comfortable with better than anyone, so the decision is down to what you, and perhaps your doctor, think is best.