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Woman Bikes To Hospital in Labor

By Danielle Sullivan |

Labor and delivery, labor delivery

Was a bicycle part of your birth plan?

One soon-to-be mom didn’t let a little thing like labor stop her from getting in a bike ride. Susie Weber, 41, of Menasha, Wisconsin biked one full mile to the hospital while in labor, and she didn’t find anything really unique about it. Her husband, Paul, was biking alongside her all the way. At age 41, she was also considered high risk, but received prior approval from her obstetrician for the final bike ride.

Weber maintains that she leads such an active life (one that includes regular 5 mile long bike rides) so this was nothing very unusual. Weber biked to at least 10 of her prenatal appointments. A pilot with United Airlines for the past 12 years, she was accustomed to being under pressure.

According to the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Weber was awakened by contractions at about 2am. She stayed home until the contractions reached three minutes apart and then started her bike ride to Theda Clark Medical Center at about 10:30am with her husband who was biking alongside her. She thinks the ride may have helped:

“It was 67 to 70 degrees. No wind. It was just beautiful. I think I had one or two contractions along the way, but they actually seemed mild in comparison. I think it was because I was distracted.”

Did the trek speed things along? Yes and no. When Weber arrived at the hospital, she was already 8 centimeters dilated but it would be another 12 hours before a healthy baby, Tess was born at 7 pounds, 11 ounces.

Although it has been years since pregnancy was considered a sickness and pregnant women today are encouraged to participate in regular physical activity, some women still view pregnancy with an old-fashioned notion and see the nine months as an opportunity to slack off. Of course rest is important, but a healthy, normal pregnancy is no more an excuse to not be active as a menstrual period.

Weber certainly pushes the envelope in this regard and I doubt most women would feel comfortable enough to jump on a bike during labor (honestly thinking of encountering a bump in the road during a contraction makes me cringe). However, it’s a fact that maintaining an active pregnancy will not help you keep weight gain to a minimum, but it will speed up labor‍—and what woman in labor doesn’t want that?

What do you think? Is biking during labor brave or foolish, and would you ever do it?

Image: Flickr: Rebecca Serna (pictured)

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About Danielle Sullivan


Danielle Sullivan

Danielle Sullivan writes for Babble Pets. She is also an award-winning parenting writer, who authors a monthly column for NY Parenting and ASPCA Parents blog. You can read more of her work at her blog,Some Puppy To Love. Read bio and latest posts → Read Danielle's latest posts →

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0 thoughts on “Woman Bikes To Hospital in Labor

  1. Gretchen Powers says:

    It was one mile? Why didn’t she just walk? Anyway, it’s cool that she did it, but biking one mile is not really remarkable. Like the woman herself, I don’t find anything that unique about it.

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Parent Newz. Parent Newz said: RT @PositivelyPrnt: Would You Bike To The Hospital in Labor? This Mom Did!: #moms #parents #pregnancy #labor [...]

  3. K says:

    Good for her! What a lovely way to spend labor!

    While I was laboring with my son in October, my husband and I took two separate one-mile walks around the hilly cemetery behind our house, where we walked to watch the sunset on our first date. It felt good to exercise through contractions, and it was romantic and memorable, too! And it was only a short walk away from our home, where our baby was born. I suppose if I had given birth in the hospital, walking or biking there might have been preferable to sitting in the car :)

  4. ALittleShort says:

    Well my mom was mowing the lawn when she went into labor with me. She complains that she only got half of it done before she had to stop :) I used to think she was crazy, I mean what woman in their right mind mows the lawn at 9 months pregnant. She looked at me and said “It needed to get done!” But Good for this woman, my only question is, how did they get the baby home? I suppose her husband rode back home and got the car at some point, but It is a good story!

  5. Rebecca says:

    Does anyone know how she, her husband, and the infant got *home* from the hospital? It is my understanding that hospitals won’t release new parents without carseats. Perhaps Susie and Paul installed a carseat into a bike trailer? Would love to know, as this is something my husband and I have been considering!

  6. Matt says:

    If you feel the need to talk about how unremarkable something or someone is, you clearly don’t know what ‘unremarkable’ means.

  7. Snarky Mama says:

    While biking is (probably) safer than driving, I must admit, seeing an obviously pregnant biker makes me nervous, which is a common sight in my area.

    Of course, biking-while-pregnant is way preferable to another common sight around here: parents biking with a child in an Ergo.

  8. Tam says:

    I find this picture and story odd since it has been below freezing lately. Why would you going for a joy ride without a coat? I would assume this picture was taken earlier in the year. Where is the snow?

  9. MJ says:

    In 1980 I had my first child while living in the Marshall Islands. My water broke while watching my husband playing in a soccer game. I rode my bike back to my trailer (approx. a mile), waited for my husband to come home, cooked him some eggs ( his insistence) and then went to the hospital. My daughter was born 3 hours later. The only thing remarkable to me is the beautiful 5 pound baby girl that we welcomed into the world that day. Praise the Lord!

  10. [...] going into labor, 41-year-old Susie Weber bicycled one mile to a Wisconsin hospital. Weber had already biked to 10 of her prenatal appointments and [...]

  11. [...] story about a woman riding her bike to the hospital while in labor is [...]

  12. Rachel says:

    I rode my bike while pregnant, without any issues. Some people freaked out about the idea, but I was totally fine, and as you can see from this article, doctors are ok with it too. You ride smart and carefully, but being in that pregnant mind you’re already operating that way in everything you do in your life. The only thing is that your bike has to allow you to ride fairly upright as you progress, or you will have trouble on those upstrokes!

    I don’t think I could have ridden my bike while in labor, because the contractions were too intense at the point where I would have been going to the hospital. (But I had a home birth, so I never had to leave!)
    However, some labors do allow women to do all sorts of things. I know one who walked around the mall for hours, right up until she needed to go to the hospital.

    If I were having another child, and having to go to the hospital to do it, I’d consider riding my bike! But of course I wouldn’t know if I’d be able to actually do it until I got to that point.

    Pregnant women are not fragile, and birth is one of the most empowering things I can think of. More power to all the ladies out there riding while pregnant and in labor!

    I too wondered how they got the baby home, but it’s quite possible they just used a car seat and trailer. I put my daughter into a trailer fitted with a car seat when she was 6 months old and it worked great.

  13. RC says:

    That’s my photo, but I am not the woman the story is about (for the commenter asking about the lack of a coat, and snow!) We live in Atlanta, and I did not bike to the hospital, although I did bike up to 38 weeks and believe it made my pregnancy much easier and healthier.

    For the author, a photo credit would be nice. My name is Rebecca Serna and I’m the director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition, and not the woman in your story (although I admire her).

  14. Danielle Sullivan says:

    @Tam This is a stock pic (see photo credit). The woman is Rebecca Serna, the director of the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition who lives in Atlanta.

    @Rebecca I haven’t heard if Susie did take a car home. I imagine she did, but I am trying to track her down for the full scoop. When I’ll find out, I’ll update you.

    One of the most interesting aspects of this story is hearing from other women that want to bike the hospital during labor. I also heard from many women who regularly bike throughout their entire pregnancy.

  15. Cheri says:

    This is awesome! Just another way of showing that in most cases, pregnancy is not an illness. I have a 3 1/2 month old. I was hosting a web meeting while bouncing on my exercise ball at home. Went into labor 10 minutes after the meeting ended. Was hungry, so I went to my favorite Indian buffet for lunch. Forewarned the woman next to me that I was in labor. We would talk, but then I’d have to pause to breathe and then resumed the conversation. I drove myself home and headed to the hospital an hour and a half later. In that time frame, I managed to finish up last minute emails and phone calls. After giving birth at the hospital, the next morning, I hosted a web meeting from my hospital bed. While working from home during my 6-week maternity leave, I managed to speak at 4 different conferences–the first occurring when my little guy was 3 weeks old and which entailed flying out of state. He did fine. I presented with him in a sling and even nursed him during several of the presentations. So, it definitely can be done. Kudos!

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