Walking is one of the best exercises that will help to keep you healthy and fit. So walking when you are pregnant has umpteen benefits provided the doctor has given you the green signal for it. Given below are some amazing benefits of walking during pregnancy.
- Why Should You Walk During Pregnancy?
- 8 Amazing Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy
- How Much To Walk During Pregnancy?
- Preparations For Walking During Pregnancy
- Is Walking Good During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?
- Walking In The Second Trimester During Pregnancy
- Walking In The Third Trimester During Pregnancy
- Safe Walking Tips During Pregnancy
- Does Walking During Pregnancy Help With Labor?
- Is Too Much Walking Bad During Pregnancy?
- When Should You Stop Walking During Pregnancy?
Why Should You Walk During Pregnancy?
Walking can keep you healthy and fit. Staying fit and active is beneficial for both the pregnant woman and her baby. Walking is one of the best cardiovascular exercise and pregnancy is the time to take advantage of it. Also, it keeps you fit without any additional cost and does not require any special equipment. It’s also a safe activity to continue throughout your pregnancy as long as you don’t go overboard with it and you get a green signal from your doctor. Walking is one of the easiest ways to start exercising if you haven’t been active prior to your pregnancy.
8 Amazing Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy
- Healthy baby: Walking helps to keep your as well as your baby’s weight in check. This will also help a normal delivery and healthy baby
- Physically fit: Walking is a good exercise that will make you active and fit especially during this period. It is an exercise that is complete and helps to improve heart health and even tone your muscles
- Reduces the risk of preeclampsia: This is a condition is caused by high levels of blood pressure and extra protein present in urine. Walking is ideal to lower cholesterol and keep blood pressure in check. All this helps to reduce chances of premature delivery that is normally triggered by preeclampsia
- Reduces stress: Most pregnant women experience stress due to hormonal changes that result in depression and mood swings. Walking helps to relieve stress and helps to lift your mood on the days you are low
- Lowers chances of gestational diabetes: A lot of pregnant women experience high levels of blood sugar during pregnancy that increases premature delivery risk and other pregnancy related complications like a big baby. Walking is a wonderful means to lower the chances of developing gestational diabetes
- Provides relief from any pains and discomfort: It is quite normal to experience various kind of aches, pains, and discomfort during the pregnancy phase. Walking is an excellent solution that helps to provide relief from these problems
- Increases the chances of normal delivery: Walking is ideal to improve flexibility and helps to tone your hip muscles. This, in turn, will help to increase the chances of a pregnancy woman having a normal delivery that is easy
- Other benefits: Other benefits of walking include relief from constipation, nausea, sleeplessness, tiredness and varicose veins
How Much To Walk During Pregnancy?
If you are physically active and regularly exercising or going on walks pre-pregnancy, then continue doing so. But if you are just beginning to walk, begin with walking around 15 to 30 minutes three times in a week and slowly stretch it to around an hour almost every day if possible. This can be continued up to the final stage of pregnancy as long as you don’t find it uncomfortable. NHS guidelines recommend that a pregnant woman can walk for 150 minutes a week (Source)
Preparations For Walking During Pregnancy
- Wear proper shoes: Always ensure you wear walking shoes that provide adequate support for both your ankles and arches. Never use sandals or slippers for walking while you are pregnant. Also, your feet tend to get a little bigger during pregnancy, so make sure that you wear a shoe that fits you well. Inserting a gel liner inside the shoe with help with extra cushioning and shock absorption
- Stay hydrated: It is a good idea to take a water bottle with you so that dehydration can be avoided. If you get dehydrated, your body temperature can rise and lead to contractions, which are not safe for you and your baby
- Wear a sunscreen: Make sure you apply a good sunscreen and adorn a hat before you step out for walking
- Right posture: The best and safe way to walk during pregnancy is positioning the heels first and then rolling onto your toes
- Fuel up: Always have a light snack, maybe a protein bar, a toast or a fruit, 30 minutes before you step out for walking
Is Walking Good During The First Trimester Of Pregnancy?
Walking is a great exercise during the first trimester of pregnancy as it helps prepare the body to deal with all the changes that occur during pregnancy and prepare your body for labor and birth. It also helps to avert pregnancy related complications. So being on your feet from the very beginning of pregnancy is the best thing you can do. But do check with your doctor and seek his permission before starting to walk during pregnancy.
- Start with 10-20 minutes of walk every day for four days in a week. You can slowly increase it to 5 to 6 days in a week
- By the end of the first trimester, you should be walking 20- 40 minutes every day at least six times a week
Walking In The Second Trimester During Pregnancy
The second trimester is the time when you feel more energetic and walking become easier than the first trimester. This is the time when you can increase the duration and distance you walk.
- As your bump starts to show, you may start to feel a little awkward as you will notice a change in your walk, you may start to waddle a little
- Pay more attention to your posture so that you avoid straining your back
- You may start with 10-15 minutes of walk every day for 4 to 6 days in a week
- By the end of this trimester, you should be walking anywhere between 30-40 minutes every day for 5 to 6 days in a week
Walking In The Third Trimester During Pregnancy
During the third trimester, your center of gravity will change with your growing belly. You will feel tired soon so keep up with your walking routine. Do only what is comfortable.
- Avoid hiking trails or uneven path that can cause imbalance
- As you near your due date, consider walking on a track
- If you feel tired and breathless, slow down and stop walking for some time
- If you experience any pelvic pain or back pain after walking, stop and take some rest. Do let your doctor know about this
- You may start walking 15-30 minutes every day for five to six days in a week
- By the end of the third trimester, you should be comfortable walking for around 20- 50 minutes every day for 5 to 6 times a week
Safe Walking Tips During Pregnancy
Given below are some simple tips that will help to ensure that you get maximum benefits from this form of exercise:
- Look ahead while walking so that sudden falls can be averted
- Adorning a maternity belt while walking will help in posture improvement
- Drinking some milk or having a piece of apple before setting out for a walk will keep you full. Having a glass of tender coconut water after coming back is also recommended to give you a boost of energy after walking
- Avoid brisk walking and begin walking at a pace comfortable for you
- Walking with your friend and partner is ideal to keep you motivated
- If you feel tired, breathless or hot, it is recommended that you take a break. Don’t push yourself as it can be harmful to both you and your unborn baby
- Do some stretching exercises before you being walking as it will help to relieve any soreness in the hip and pelvic joints
- Walk carefully as the center of gravity will shift with your growing belly as the pregnancy advances
Does Walking During Pregnancy Help With Labor?
Walking is a natural way to induce labor. Being upright helps to move your baby down along the cervix. Walking also helps to apply rhythmic pressure of the baby’s head on the cervix. This helps the cervix to release oxytocin hormone which can trigger contractions.
Also, if your baby’s head is not engaged, walking can help to move the baby into a better position. This means the chances of labor to start on its own also increases. Also, if you are in active labor, walking around can help to progress your labor.
Is Too Much Walking Bad During Pregnancy?
Walking is one of the best exercises that you can comfortably do during pregnancy. It is not in any way bad if you walk too much during pregnancy. But make sure you do not push yourself too much. Just walk what is comfortable for you. If you were not active before you conceived, then indulge in walking slowly. Staying active during pregnancy is good for both you and your baby. Do consult your doctor before you start with walking during pregnancy.
When Should You Stop Walking During Pregnancy?
Your body will indicate if you are pushing yourself too hard. Walking becomes unsafe and you require immediate medical attention if you experience any of the below symptoms:
- Dizziness and fatigue
- Vision that is gets blurred
- Vaginal bleeding
- Breathlessness and heart palpitations
- Leakage of amniotic fluid
- Reduced fetal movements
- Develop muscle and joint pain that doesn’t get better within 24 hours
And suppose you already have an earlier history of heart complications, increased blood pressure, previous history of miscarriages, it is best that you get your doctor’s permission before you begin walking regularly.
So once you get the go-ahead signal from your doctor for walking during pregnancy, make this a routine as walking will surely benefit you as well as the baby growing within you.
Did you walk during pregnancy? How did it benefit you? Do share it in the comments section below.