The Life-Sized City Blog: Cycling with Contractions to the Hospital

If you live in Denmark it's not unusual to have heard stories of pregnant women riding their bicycle to the hospital with contractions. We've all heard the stories. Today, however, Copenahgenize is thrilled to provide some photographic documentation. Our friend Ole of "I read Copenhagenize and sold the family car" fame hooked us up with two friends of his, John and Lina. The time came for Lina to give birth - the contractions were getting closer together - and the couple, who don't own a car (like 70.9% of Copenhageners) headed out to their bicycles. John and Lina are actually from Montreal but live in Copenhagen. John and Lina have kindly allowed us to blog the photos that John took on the way to the hospital. It was only 1.5 km away but Lina had to stop a few times because the contractions were strong. The above photo was taken at 03:58. Head leaning on her pre-packed bag.

This photo was taken at 04:04. So the contractions were six minutes apart. I'll never know how it feels but having two kids I have a pretty good idea.

Like most bicycle stories, it all ended well. They arrived at the maternity ward of the hospital at 04:15 and baby Viggo made his entrance into the world at 07:19. We're absolutely thrilled for John and Lina and they have our warmest congratulations on the birth of Viggo. And thanks to them all for letting us share their fantastic bicycle experience.

Ironically, there is this poster hanging around Berlin at the moment, says one of our readers, Michael. An election poster for the liberal party. It reads:

Q: "Why isn't the FDP (liberals) not sharing the dream of a car free city?"

A: "Because no woman in the world wants to ride to the delivery room by bike"

Cycling whilst pregnant is virtually prescribed here in Denmark and there is no reason not to do it. Beats walking by a long shot, easy on the back and it increases your mobility radius while giving you decent exercise. Above is a book called Pregnancy and Exercise, written by a doctor. The cover image says it all. Regarding cycling as a transport form for the majority of cyclists, I found this text on the Netdoktor website about cycling and pregnancy. It is highly recommended by doctors in Denmark to ride while pregnant, right up to the end if you can. But this text says it all about how cycling is regarded in Denmark:"Cykling er ikke kun en transportform, men i lige så høj grad en motionsform"In English: "Cycling isn't only a form of transport, but also a great way to excercise."I love that. Reminding Danes that cycling is good exercise, too. 

Above is my lovely ex with our boy and 8 months pregnant with our girl. We actually lived across the street from the hospital so getting there was a walkable cinch. The midwife clinic was also across the street and there is always a long line of pregnant women popping by for a check-up. Here are some photographs of cycling pregnant in Copenhagen:

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