I have a confession.
In the past week, I’ve done something terrible. And I did it THREE TIMES.
I went on a bike ride. Only two miles each time, and on nearly-flat terrain. I wore my trusty bike helmet. I went turtle-slow. And when I encountered a slight hill, I got off my bike and walked.
But according to the Interwebz, pregnant women shouldn’t ride a bike. EVER. What the hell?
They say it’s because your balance is off-kilter. Thanks, Interwebz, but I think i would know better than anyone if the bowling ball under my shirt is affecting my balance. I can tell you I have yet to tip over while walking around the house, climbing stairs, or even carrying my toddler while climbing stairs. I’m quite confident my balance is in good working order, thankyouverymuch.
Besides, riding a bike is cake compared to walking. I can’t go a half-block without the urge to pee (even though I just friggin’ peed two minutes ago). The pressure Squeak puts on my bladder while walking is awful. Riding the bike is much more comfortable bladder-wise.
My pregnancy transgressions don’t stop at bike riding. Yesterday I went — gasp! — bowling.
I won’t lie; it was a little uncomfortable. Mostly because in this particular game, each frame had a different ‘challenge’: bowl with your eyes closed; bowl between your legs; throw with your non-dominant hand. And so on.
I had a ton of Braxton-Hicks contractions while I bowled, but it was totally doable. I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t bowl 9 months pregnant if you really wanted to.
This got me thinking about Pregnancy Scaremongering. The practice of “experts” telling you all the things you shouldn’t do while pregnant. Like ride a bike, or bowl, or eat brie (sorry, but I love brie and I’ve been eating it this entire pregnancy. I check to make sure it’s from pasteurized milk, but then I scarf that shit down. NOM NOM NOM). The list is a mile long.
Some are legit concerns, of course. But some of it is over-the-top crap that someone added to the list just to cover their own ass in case of a lawsuit.
Why can’t we just trust women to know their bodies? I’m talking within reason here, of course (I don’t care if meth feels right, or you feel like gettin’ boozy in your third trimester… some things you just don’t do). Not everyone wants to ride a bike 9 months pregnant, but I do. And I do it safely, so neener neener.
Is there risk involved in riding a bike pregnant? Yes, absolutely. But there’s also risk in taking a walk around the block. I could trip on a jacked-up sidewalk, or stumble off a curb, and hurt the baby or myself. There’s more risk in driving to work each day than in either of those scenarios, and nobody bats an eye about that.
We face risk every day simply by being alive. There’s no way to avoid it. You can’t hole up in your house for 36 weeks, avoiding all potentially risky situations. Be conscientious, but don’t be scared, even if the scaremongers try to frighten you into a dark corner of your closet.
P.S. — This book is a good place to start if you want hard facts about what’s safe and what isn’t: Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong—and What You Really Need to Know. She lays out all the research and lets you make your own decision (and in the meantime really pissed off some people who think even a little alcohol during pregnancy is THE WORST THING EVER!).