Riding a motorcycle while pregnant is one of the more controversial topics; people’s opinions on the subject are very divisive.
Some people already think of motorcycles as absolute death traps, and others think everyone should be able to do what they want and live their lives. Riding a bike while pregnant just adds another dynamic to that debate.
Being passionate motorcyclists, our view lies somewhere in between, we are aware of the risks of riding a two-wheeled rocket, but for most of us, the positives we get from riding outweigh those risks.
We are not health professionals, so you should always check with your doctor for health advice; everything after that is just opinion.
Can you ride while pregnant?
The short answer is that yes, you can ride a motorcycle if you are pregnant.
Riding a motorcycle is good physical exercise and mental stimulation, both of which are good for the rider.
You should, however, absolutely avoid riding during the third trimester as a woman’s balance can be offset during this time, and therefore the risk of injury while riding increases.
You should also avoid riding if, during your pregnancy, you are unwell, experiencing nausea, dizziness, or physical discomfort. Any of these issues will be distracting while riding and increase the risk of an accident.
Now while you can ride during your pregnancy, there are a few key points you should consider to answer the question of whether you should be riding while pregnant.
Key points to consider
A woman will experience a lot of physical changes to their body during pregnancy. This can affect your mood, weight, levels of fatigue, etc.
All of these things affect your ability to ride and to ride safely.
If you are extra tired, your concentration drops, and you might not have the energy to complete your ride.
Your weight gain might cause your gear not to fit correctly, and then you won’t be fully protected.
Mood swings and hormones raging around the body can cause lapses in judgment that you simply can’t afford to make when riding a motorcycle.
Motorcycle protective gear
“I am fully kitted out with boots, jacket, gloves, helmet, and trousers. I am invincible.”
It is so easy to feel invincible when you are fully dressed in motorcycle gear, you can feel as safe as if you were riding in a car, but you have to remember that you are very exposed, and the protective kit is only going to do so much.
Motorcyclists are more susceptible to serious injury when involved in an accident than occupants of other vehicles.
As riders, we accept those risks every time we ride. Whether you want to accept those risks on behalf of your unborn child is a personal decision that we cannot advise you on either way.
An important thing to remember is that your baby bump is one of the most unprotected areas of your body by protective equipment. Most jackets will only have protection in the arms, shoulders, and back, exposing your front area completely.
While you might have the latest helmet and all the kit with the newest tech, your baby bump doesn’t.
Even jackets fitted with the latest airbag technology have not been designed with pregnant women in mind. They have been designed to keep riders alive in the event of an accident.
No riding gear has been produced to protect a pregnant woman, so that is something you need to think about before riding your motorcycle.
As safe as you think you ride, as careful as you are, you cannot control other vehicles. The biggest threat to motorcyclists is other vehicles, and we have no power over those.
Therefore, you should consider just how important riding is versus the risk you take by being out on the road.
Mother and baby
When pregnant, you have to think about the fact the decisions you make are also made on behalf of your unborn child. The risks you take are undertaken by them too.
If you are comfortable and confident in those decisions, nobody can tell you otherwise.
Many doctors will not necessarily advise you against riding your motorcycle but simply tell you to carry on for as long as you are comfortable. Equally, they will advise against high-impact physical activity, which motorcycling may come under.
Many women will stop riding in their second trimester as they no longer feel comfortable doing so.
It is all very subjective and personal. Some women work up until the week before giving birth, and others stop 3 months prior.
Arguably in parts of the world today, the primary mode of transport is scooters and motorcycles. You see images of whole families riding on one motorcycle with no gear at all. However, whether this is sensible, appropriate, or safe is another question.
Whether you ride or don’t ride during the 9 months of your pregnancy, it will be down to your personal choice and commitment, but comfort and confidence will be vital to reducing the risks associated with riding.
Nobody can tell me what to do, and I am not about to tell any woman what to do when pregnant.
As riders, we accept the risks we take to ride.
I broke my leg skateboarding in 8 places years ago, and my only concern was how long it would take for me to get back on my board.
I think there has to be something a bit wrong with those of us that know there is a risk of injury and do it anyway purely for the thrill.
However, when it comes to being pregnant, I think we have a responsibility to be more sensible and take fewer risks as part of that responsibility on behalf of the baby.
We can only control so much when out on the road, so the risk of riding outweighs the positives in this scenario.
Nine months of the bike being in the garage is a small sacrifice to ensure the baby’s safety.