Susie Weber of Menasha, Wisconsin woke up at 2AM with contractions. She labored at home for eight and half hours until her contractions were about three minutes apart and intense. Then she got on her bike and rode a mile to the hospital to give birth.
She was 8 cm when she arrived; her daughter was born about 12 hours later.
This was not an act of desperation–the car was running just fine–but rather the completion of a personal fitness goal. Weber, a cycling enthusiast, decided biking was a good way to stay in shape during pregnancy. Weather permitting, she biked to all her prenatal appointments.
She had two contractions en route to the hospital but told the local paper they were “mild in comparison” to the other contractions. “I think it was because I was distracted.” Her husband rode alongside her.
“When it was time to go to the hospital, the last thing I wanted to do was get on a bike. But my husband had the bikes ready, my doctor was expecting to see my bike in the lot, and my own internal voice was telling me I couldn’t give up now,” she writes in Silent Sports magazine. “I somewhat reluctantly got on the bike and, to my surprise, enjoyed every minute of the ride, even when I was having a contraction. Despite all the dire warnings that I would crash my bike when the pain hit, I found that I could power through it. In fact, the contractions on the bike were the easiest to bear because I was distracted and doing something I love.
Weber’s doctor, Dr. Kristen Clark, supported her goals, and encourages women to exercise during pregnancy. “If they have no risk factors and are otherwise having a healthy pregnancy, it is reasonable for them to continue with non-contact sports such as biking, running, walking, aerobics and swimming,” said Clark. “Casual biking like Susie did during her pregnancy is most certainly acceptable and encouraged.”
Weber wrote about her experience in Silent Sports magazine and offered up some advice for pregnant women who are interested in setting realistic and healthy fitness goals for their pregnancies. Below are her top ten tips–you can read the full extent of her advice here.
1) Set a goal and voice it.
2) Choose the right coach/doctor.
3) Enlist your partner.
4) Enlist your friends.
5) Get thee to a lake or pool.
6) Drop what you dislike.
7) Slow down.
8) Work on the basics.
9) Spandex has its limits.
10) Eat a sensible and well-balance diet.
11) Keep the final goal in mind at all times.