I’d always wanted to start a family, but having raced bikes for over a decade, the prospect of pregnancy and motherhood felt like a great unknown. I knew I’d want to maintain my active lifestyle, but feared that parenthood would spell the end to my adventuring on two wheels. I also had no idea how pregnancy would affect me physically and how difficult it might be to get my fitness back. If any of that sounds familiar, then this feature is for you. Because now that my daughter is all too rapidly approaching her first birthday, I realise that I had nothing – well, almost nothing – to worry about. I’ve quizzed pro cyclists, hormone experts, doctors, bike-fitters and psychologists, to bring you all the tips and advice I wish I’d known from day one.


1. Fuel up to conceive

Female cyclist fuelling before going on a bike ride

(Image credit: Future)

A healthy hormone balance is essential to conception. Our 2019 Cycling Weekly reader survey showed that 30% of female respondents – me included – were putting their hormone health at risk by underfuelling. I resolved the issue by adjusting the timing of my carbohydrate intake. “We have found that being in a state of carbohydrate deficit during the day can lower testosterone in men or oestrogen in women and raise cortisol – switching off the endocrine system, even if eating carbs in the evening,” author of Hormones, health and human potential Dr Nicky Keay told me at the time. Carbs aren’t always the answer, but poor nutrition and recovery are often implicated in hormone imbalances.

2. Get jiggy on cue

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