Pregnant and following a plan

Congratulations on your pregnancy. And you are a beast, training 10 hours per week in the third trimester!!

I’ve only been co-pregnant and my wife is not a cyclist (but a gym rat). I’d take it easy after birth. Your sleep schedule will in all likelihood be a mess. Our daughter didn’t want to be breastfed for the first three months, which means I did a whole lot of bottle feeding at night. Also don’t worry about weight, my wife got back to her pre-pregnancy weight within a year or so. Although I think you probably need to wait until you stop breastfeeding.

Thank you :blush: and thank you for your response! I think I need to start wearing my HR monitor for training. My max is like 205 on the bike, so quite high in general. I’ll just gauge it on effort & speaking etc
Did you follow a plan at all throughout? Were you able to do races etc at all (just back off?)

Thanks :blush: Victoria

I got pregnant just when all the races got canceled due to Covid . But I did a xco (mtb) training race in week 8, a 320 km long “gran fondo” in week 12 and a 150 km long and 2500 meters of elevation training race in week 20. It worked out fine as long as I just thought about doing my own thing and didn’t try to catch up with other riders etc.

I had a schedule until maybe week 32 or so but I skipped all the harder weeks and was mainly on a base training plan from week 20. I tried to think that consistency was key ! Which I also think was great as I know feel like I have a solid base. My ftp it about the same in absolute numbers as before I got pregnant but I still have about 7 kg back to race weight . No need to hurry back though !! :slight_smile:

So I was super incredibly shocked by how strong I got after giving birth! I was back on the bike 11 days post and was able to go hard without any concern at week 4 or so (from what I remember). I just did Zwift social rides and races. At 3 months PP was when I got back on a training plan and was shocked that my FTP was just shy of the peak I had hit about a month before getting pregnant (which had fallen like 50w during pregnancy). And then my FTP went even higher later!

Of note, my HR was so high in the beginning, but I was conversational at like 180bpm so I was good with it. I know that we have so much blood volume just coursing through us at that point. And the lung capacity, my gosh, that was amazing! The postpartum effect was good for me. Once our LO’s sleep settled into a routine, then I was really off to the races!

The beginning of January my husband prompted the discussion of having one more (despite him being adamant on one and done :joy:) Anyway, at that point I lost all motivation and started doing free rides and just riding whatever I felt. We had a loss between then and now, so yeah, we will see what the near future holds! It’ll likely end up being like a 2 year age gap on the nose at this rate. And as a parent, I can’t say I’m upset about that…hehe


Created an account just to share my experience on this thread for reference for others.

I’m currently 30 weeks. Throughout pregnancy I’ve done 8-14 hour weeks. I was a well-trained amateur cyclist beforehand. I have had relatively minor symptoms so that’s helped me to feel good on the bike. I mostly mountain bike and do gravel biking or paved rail trail riding otherwise for the most part. I have done a lot of mountain biking while pregnant. More rides than I would have done while not pregnant! Typically about 3-4 mtb rides outdoors per week, sometimes more, not usually less, plus a couple of non-mtb rides, usually riding 6-7 days a week. I also do lots of hiking to mix things up (not something I liked to do prior to pregnancy). I have lately had to start taking a recovery day each week, sometimes two, when normally I would have just done a recovery ride (that no longer cuts it).

I was able to do just about anything I wanted during the first 16 weeks or so except put my heart rate in the highest zone. My HR max prior to pregnancy was about 195. During pregnancy I very rarely got it up above 180ish. It just didn’t want to go that high and immediately after becoming pregnant it was apparent that everything was more difficult. I did some interval workouts and some hard rides during this period but mostly did easy (zn 1-2, sometimes zn 3 out of 7 zns) rides. I didn’t worry to much about how hard or fast I was going on non-interval days - I just rode at whatever pace was comfortable.

From 16 weeks through now (30), I have been able to continue to do mostly what I want but have definitely been quite a bit slower. Still mostly doing a lot of z1-2 rides but recently got a smart trainer and have loved doing some interval workouts on that. I haven’t done any anaerobic work. Could probably do some zn 5/7 intervals. Mostly feel comfortable in zn 4 and do some sweetspot rides. I need more recovery after sweetspot rides that normal.

Based on how I feel right now, I think I’ll be able to continue doing mostly zn 1-2 rides with 1-3 interval sessions sprinkled in throughout the week with reduced volume until close to the end. I think I will have to regularly have 1-2 recovery days per week but will add more if I start feeling cranky.

I actually had never done an FTP test before and still haven’t done one now. My garmin had set mine at 3.3 w/kg (since the very beginning of my use of it so it definitely wasn’t accurate) and I just started doing a few trainer rides at that FTP. I’m positive my non-pregnancy FTP is much higher. But that has felt like a good FTP to ride with. I may decrease it some as the pregnancy progresses since everything just keeps getting harder.


A very very belated post-pregnancy update from me, but our daughter Manon was born at the end of June and I think it’s safe to say things haven’t quite gone to plan since, but I’m still hoping to complete the Cape Epic starting next week! I suffered a major haemorrhage straight after the birth and lost 2.5 litres of blood and needed an emergency procedure and 2 blood transfusions. I’m convinced that staying relatively fit and strong in pregnancy helped me get through everything. When I was in theatre, the anaesthetist told me I must be very strong because I was still awake and people normally pass out after losing that much blood. I carried on riding until about 35 weeks (tried to keep HR below 160), but was just really uncomfortable on the bike after that point so stuck to other types of exercise - I swam 1km in the pool the day before Manon was born!

Needless to say, I needed several weeks of recovery after the difficult birth before I could get back on the bike. However, I managed to slowly get back into it after about 7 weeks and the biggest challenge was fitting in sessions around breastfeeding and my husband’s work schedule, along with the lack of sleep. Things got a lot easier when Manon started sleeping through the night (we sleep trained at 6 months and it was life-changing!) and I have also stopped breastfeeding now so it is easier to leave her with someone else while riding. However, TR was great for being able to fit in high quality workouts when time was limited. I haven’t got back to the 4w/kg I was before the cancelled 2020 Cape Epic, but I’m at about 3.6w/kg, which I’m hoping will be enough to get through the Epic this year. Had a bad sinus infection a couple of weeks ago which wasn’t ideal, but going to turn up and hope for the best now!

@lillmango will we see you there next week? We are team 463 - “Team New Parents for Qhubeka” My parents will be coming along with Manon to look after her while we’re riding all day!


Hi !
Great to hear from you and your experiences from getting a mum! Really impressed by how you are back in such a good shape from everything you have been through !

My son is now 14 months and my only struggle was when he was about 9-12 months and woke up at 4 am every morning and was impossible to get back to sleep. At that point I was only having my head above the water in terms of training .

But now Things are going great again and yes I hope we will meet at Cape Epic!! I still can’t believe it happens and will not take the start for granted before Im in South Africa (with all the pcr-tests etc…). Im racing womens elite , team 64, and just hope we will not be too many hours after Pauline F and the other elite women …!

You can be really happy to have your daughter along with you. My son and his dad are staying in Sweden. Will miss them more than I think I can imagine right now …! But I also really wanna take this chance on racing Cape Epic. And I know my son (Enar) will be great as he seems to be in a good state of mind right now (loves staying at his daycare etc).

Hope to see you in South Africa !!


4 W/kg?! And Cape Epic!?! That’s mighty impressive.
My wife also can’t wait to get back into the gym either after our second one was born in November. Can you share any tips on how you manage a baby and sports? I’d like to enable my wife to go back to the gym soon, but we are having trouble finding ways before he has been weened off. (Plus, our 4-year-old daughter is super jealous, especially when it comes to me.)

Kudos to you, too, participating in Cape Epic is impressive.
Sleep schedule seems to vary considerably between children. Our first one didn’t want to be breast fed for the first three months, so my wife and I shared our duties. I got the late night shift, she took the morning shift. Our second one is breast fed as much as possible (otherwise my wife’s breasts hurt from the milk anyway), so she has been a bit of a zombie for the last few weeks.

Sticking to any sort of schedule — including training — was hard for me. During the first year of our daughter’s life (first child), our night schedule changed three times. Now I expect the same, just that we will have to deal with a second child. To give my wife some time off, I take my daughter with me on an endurance ride every weekend. When my son gets older and assuming that my daughter doesn’t poke our son’s eyes out when both sit in the trailer, I plan on taking them both.

Oh wow, that is super impressive! My husband and I will very much be at the other end of the field, just hoping to make it round in one piece well ahead of the cut-off time each day!

I would love to meet up at the race - I will look out for you or please send me a message when we are there :slight_smile: Yes, the travel is very stressful :frowning: When do you plan to arrive? We are based in the UK, but I am originally from South Africa and my parents still live in Durban, so we came out here a few weeks ago so that we have a bit of time before the race. We are flying to Cape Town on Thursday. After the disappointment of the cancellation in 2020, I think I also won’t believe it until we are actually on the start line next week!

Thanks very much :slight_smile:

It was hard enough with one child, so I cam imagine balancing with two children is very difficult! I think the only way we made it work was being pretty flexible about when I did my training sessions. It helped that my husband was working from home, so he would tell me when he had some time to take our daughter during the day and then I would basically be ready to jump on the turbo straight after a feed in one of those slots. I’m not sure how we would have managed it if he was working in an office every day. Because my sessions were never more than 1hr30, that was long enough for her to go without a breastfeed. I also pumped quite a bit (even though I hated it) so that there was a stash of breastmilk in the fridge/freezer just in case. We also tried to arrange our training so that we did our sessions on different days during the week and then on the weekend, we could train consecutively.

I didn’t follow any kind of structured training until our daughter was 3 months, because I just found it too hard before then so I completely understand the zombie comment! Before then, I would mainly prioritise sleep whenever I had a break and I also focused on the strength exercises a women’s health physio gave me. I would do the occasional ride or swim when I felt like it, but it wasn’t very structured. I was anxious with the Cape Epic not that far away, but I managed to regain fitness quickly when I did start following a proper plan around 3 months. My milk supply also calmed down a bit around 3 months, so I could go longer between feeds without feeling uncomfortable. I slowly started switching to formula at 6 months and stopped breastfeeding completely at 8 months.

I don’t know if you have any other family help around, but I would also use them as much as possible. My mother-in-law lives nearby and although she works so couldn’t help out too much, sometimes she would be able to come by for an hour after work and I would do my TR session then. We also spent 6 weeks in South Africa at the end of last year which was like mini training camp for us as my parents were able to look after our daughter and we could go out for longer rides together. Again, this was only possible as my husband could work remotely.

If you can take the children out for a ride on the weekend, that is also great. When our daughter was old enough, my husband started taking her to the Parkrun on Saturday mornings and that meant I had a few hours to myself and I would do my hardest session for the week then. My husband also does a lot of the cooking and other household chores, which is very helpful. For me, training was also my next priority after the baby. We didn’t go to many baby classes or for coffees or anything - I would only do that if I had managed to do my training session for the day.

I’m not sure if any of that has been helpful really :laughing: but let me know if you have any further questions! For me, having the Cape Epic coming up definitely helped me get motivated for training. I think I would have found it harder if I didn’t have an event to train for. I am going back to work in May and I am sure my fitness will go back downhill then!

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I think our bike trailer is one of my favorite purchases of the past 5 years: it is immensely practical (we are city dwellers), so I commute with it, I can load it to the brim with groceries (my daughter likes going shopping with me) and it allows me to share some time with her.

Totally the right move. I treated minutes of sleep like a squirrel treats its nuts: I took them when I could! :sweat_smile:

I hope in a few weeks our rhythm will have solidified somewhat. Another option we are thinking of is doing yoga together. My wife has gotten really good: she knows good form and gave me very precise instructions. Who knew that doing yoga 2–3 times a week for 3 years will have that effect? :wink: :slight_smile:

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Just wanted to write that I made it through Cape Epic. Finished as #9 in the womens elite category and #144 over all in the GC. Had a total time of 42 hours. Suffered a bit of the heat, as a Swede arriving in South Africa 3 days before the race started. But overall Im super happy about the result.

This was 14 months after my son was borned and maybe 1,5 year ago since I started this thread. I belive that I have about the same strength now as when I got pregnant. Maybe my endurance is slightly better.

Hoping that this can give hope to any pregnant women reading this :slight_smile: .


I’ll provide a follow up too for any women out there dreading how pregnancy and childbirth might affect their cycling like I was. You read so much horrible stuff online.

See my earlier post for pregnancy riding - basically I rode a ton, mostly didn’t go hard, and tried to stay active as much as I could. I did not push myself to do more than I was comfortable with but I did do a lot. While everyone’s experience is different, I was able to stay very active.

I even did a trainer ride like 1 hour before my water broke.

I ended up having a c-section so I had a mandatory off-the-bike period afterwards. I got back on the trainer 3 weeks postop, taking it easy of course. I think that is against doctors orders, but I know my own body and took it easy until 6 weeks. I was also cleared to walk/hike as soon as the pain meds wore off and I thought there was no way that an easy trainer spin could be worse than hiking. I was up to walking 20,000 steps a day before I decided to hop on the trainer. I did not find any good info for returning to activity other than the usual “take it easy/listen to your body/don’t do anything strenuous” so I made up my own path.

At six weeks I was “cleared” and started riding outdoors - I think I did a very hilly 30 mile gravel ride. It was fantastic. From there I did a 6 hour mtb race at 2 months post birth and had a great summer of riding and a wonderful time getting to know our little baby. I did more races over the next few months and my body gradually returned to my normal weight. I’m back to being just as strong as I ever was and doing well at races, but not quite as fast as I once was due to less of a desire to spend endless hours on the bike.

For reference, I think the earliest I’d race after birth is about 2 months and I wouldn’t expect to be back at top form until maybe… 8 months at least? But I felt like I was already winning by just getting to the start line. Different for everyone of course.

I have an extremely supportive husband and also a mother in law who loves to babysit so that helps.


This is super impressive, I have to say. I get worried whenever I have to pause 3 weeks because of some URI my kids gave me. And you come back to racing 2 months after giving birth. :biking_woman::muscle:

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Posting an update for those searching the thread in the future for advice/experiences:

I am currently 10 weeks pregnant with #2.

This time, I have a much better understanding going into pregnancy of both structured training and the effects of it and what my FTP etc are. I was pretty well-trained prior to this pregnancy. I did one mtb race at 4 weeks pregnant and had thought of doing a 1-2 more but the weather and my morning sickness haven’t cooperated with that.

I have had much more nausea and some vomiting with this first trimester and so a little more difficult to get on the bike but I also have found that exercise (usually riding or hiking) actually helps with that if I can manage to get moving.

Same as last time, I need more electrolytes (I use scratch) and feel better if I have that on the bike when dealing with the nausea. I also take extra magnesium, vitamin d, iron, and b-6 on top of my prenatal vitamin based on my experience from the first go. (Normally when not pregnant I would only use electrolytes in the heat or when doing very high intensity work and don’t take vitamins).

I have adopted the mindset of “keep showing up” this time and mostly just trying to do some activity.

My exercise goals during this pregnancy are a little more well-rounded than last time, mostly because I have more confidence in my ability to return to training afterwards. They are:

  • 1 longish ride per week and 1 interval session per week. These interval sessions are much easier/shorter than what I would do not pregnant. I so far like doing something like 4x30 seconds at 125%+ of FTP with 30 second rests, 4 min recovery, repeat 3 more times. Just something that gets my heart rate up but doesn’t cost mental energy.
  • Weight lifting twice per week, core work 2-3x week. I learned last time that late pregnancy/early post-partum your body really needs all the extra help it can get to stay strong and in alignment and I did no weights or body exercises last time. Plus pretty soon I will not be able to get strength through riding at all.
  • Walking ~10k steps per day most (5/7ish) days, especially if I didn’t bike that day.
  • Doing more off-the-bike exercise when I have the opportunity, especially instead of just doing <1 hr of easy riding. So just doing a 40 minute run or XC skiing or intense yard work instead of prioritizing biking.

Towards the end of my pregnancy (due in May) I may try to start doing more long rides to start building more of a base if I can manage it. But I don’t want to expend too much mental energy building a base during typical cycling base season because pregnancy is already a mental battle.


Congrats to your number 2!!

I got my 2nd child 3,5 months ago and this second pregnancy really made me realize how different each pregnancy can be. This time I had way more pain in my hips and I wasn’t able to train at the same high intensity level as with #1.

On the other hand I only gained about 10
Kg (17 first time) and I have managed to race 4 races before the season in Sweden was over (xco,xcm). I hope I will be able to get back to the good shape I was in between the kids , but god knows if I manage this time due to lack of time. Anyhow I appreciate training a lot more right now , even if it’s only 30 min of trainer.

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Thanks everyone who has contributed to this thread. I’m now 8 months postpartum and came back to share some things. I’m only an enthusiast but I take my fitness and health seriously. In fact, when I started down the fitness path 16 years ago, it was to assuage my personal fears of pregnancy and childbirth.

Although I wasn’t new to structured training, I started with TR right around when I got pregnant. I couldn’t stick to any sort of plan. The Train Now feature was PERFECT. Indoor cycling was pretty much the only exercise I was consistent with throughout pregnancy. I also tried the Zwift baby on board workouts but I just don’t get Zwift. I’d rather listen to a podcast or audio book and pedal.

I had an uncomplicated vaginal delivery. Well, mostly. I’ve always had on the low-side-of-good blood pressure. I didn’t get an epidural. My blood pressure got a little high during pushing phase and stayed a little high for a few days postpartum. All in all, everything went really well. Breastfeeding, baby is healthy, and my body felt like I was recovering from a difficult multi-day cycling event. I started rehabing using Plus One and am still following it. It’s a four times a week plan and I can only do 2 days a week and 2 days of cycling. This was partly since I was easing back in and then went back to work. I work 3 days a week but they are long shifts so I don’t get to exercise much on workdays.

I think by 1 year postpartum I can see myself back to doing my usual weekend rides again. I’m mostly looking forward to having her in a trailer with me!

I think the biggest piece of advice I could give someone here is about sleep. Work out between yourself and your partner, parents (or whoever is helping with baby care) ways to balance sleep. Especially in those first few weeks. If you’re still expecting or are newly parents, check out Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block. It’s a really hokey title but the book is really helpful. Getting good sleep habits going early will help! I get my training done during nap time. Precious Little Sleep was also immensely helpful.

Next is breastfeeding. A fed baby is the goal so choose formula or breastfeeding, I’m not here to suggest one more than the other. Feeding and keeping alive a baby is in fact a full time job, maybe even two full time jobs. Breastfeeding is an extension of that and is a big part of my life now. I have had a relatively easy time. I enjoy it very much. But I cannot stress this enough. It takes a lot out of me. Nutrition and sleep have to be on point to get anywhere with training. If I skip a meal, I will not sleep. Three full meals and no less than 7 hours of sleep are the only way I can be any sort of consistent with exercise and work. I’m a high sleep needs person so 7 feels like sleep deprivation but I digress…

Hope this helps! Hope more can join in on their experiences, too!