Here’s what you can expect when you start walking in pregnancy for just 30 minutes every day— at least four times a week. We’ve also shared important information on when to start and the safety guidelines to keep in mind during walking and pregnancy. In the end, you will find our answers to some FAQs about the same.
Walking in Pregnancy: Baby, Let’s Move!
If you are a mom to be, walking during pregnancy can help you stay in shape and prepare for easy labor. Although pregnancy might seem like a time to sit and relax, it is the time when staying active becomes even more important than ever, unless you don’t have any complications and are strictly advised to take bed rest.
Pregnancy and walking not only ensures your aching back gets some relief but also helps to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles. Regularly walking in pregnancy hence, not only helps you combat the physical and mental changes you are going through but is also a great time to get active – even if you haven’t been working out pre-pregnancy.
Walking and Pregnancy: When to Start?
Walking is the simplest and safest form of exercise that you can begin as soon as you find out about your pregnancy. Walking in pregnancy is crucial for your overall fitness, the baby’s health and helps in easy delivery.
However, before you begin walking, make sure you have your doctor’s approval. Although walking is extremely safe for both mother and baby, your gynaecologist or midwife might not advise walking during pregnancy if you have high blood pressure issues, severe anaemia, constant vaginal bleeding during the second or third trimester, cervical problems, preterm labor or any problems related to the placenta.
Pregnancy and Walking: How Long for?
For most pregnant women, about half an hour of walking is recommended at least four days a week. However, depending on your fitness level:
- Begin with as little as just ten minutes per day if you haven’t been active in a while. Once your body is familiar with its new physical activity routine, build up to 15, 20 and 30 minutes a day. But remember to listen to your body and don’t push yourself too much.
- If your doctor approves and you have been active pre-pregnancy, you can directly start walking 30 minutes each day – as long as you are comfortable and healthy.
Benefits of Walking While Pregnant
Myths like “eating for two” can harm both mothers and babies and can potentially increase more weight than recommended. Hence, walking in pregnancy can be a wonderful (and simple) way to stay fit while you prepare for your baby. Walking during pregnancy has countless benefits for both mommies-to-be and babies, some of which are:
- With minimal stress on your joints, walking is a good cardio exercise that makes your muscles stronger and more efficient.
- Since you are carrying extra weight during pregnancy that in turn, triggers back pain, walking helps relieve back pain and supports your spinal column to carry that growing belly with ease.
- It has also been suggested in various studies that walking in pregnancy prepares the body for easy labor and reduces many complications during delivery.
- Moreover, it boosts your energy levels and stamina. Walking is also helpful in boosting your mood, helping with frequent mood swings, and combating pregnancy stress.
- While constipation is a common problem for most pregnant women, walking helps speed up the digestion time and makes it easier for stools to pass.
- By burning excessive calories, walking while pregnant keeps you in shape and reduces the risks of gestational diabetes and premature delivery.
- Most importantly, walking in pregnancy is a great way to battle those sleepless nights.
Safety Guidelines: Do’s & Don’ts of Pregnancy and Walking
Although walking while pregnant is absolutely safe and actually recommended by gynaecologists and midwives, seek medical approval before taking walks or practicing yoga in pregnancy.
- Stay hydrated and add about 7 ounces of water to your overall daily water intake if you walk for 25-30 minutes every day.
- Focus on sticking with a walking routine instead of aiming to set records or walking with more intensity.
- Always make sure to warm up before walking and cool down once you are done.
- Be careful while walking and avoid overheating.
Frequently Asked Questions about Walking While Pregnant
Here are our answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about walking during pregnancy.
Does walking while pregnant help labor?
Yes. Walking in pregnancy helps with labor as it strengthens your muscles and gently draws the baby down into your pelvic floor muscles. It is also helpful in shorter and less intense labor.
Is walking good for pregnancy?
Yes. Some of the biggest benefits of walking while pregnant include:
- Staying in shape
- Lesser risks of complications
- Easy labor
- Toned and strengthened muscles
- Reduced chances for a cesarean delivery
- Better back support and lower chances of aches
- Reduced chances of constipation, bloating and swelling
- Sleeping better
What does walking do for pregnancy?
Since your pelvic floor muscles can get strained and weakened during pregnancy, walking helps to tone and train them to cope with the growing weight of your baby. Furthermore, by strengthening the muscles of your pelvic floor, walking also prepares them for childbirth.
How much should I walk while pregnant?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), pregnant women should aim to walk for about 150 minutes per week. Although the initial time depends on your efficiency and familiarity with working out before pregnancy, you should ideally walk for approximately 30 minutes a day – at least four to five days each week, if not all days.
Can walking help reduce back pain during pregnancy?
Regularly walking in pregnancy can help in making your back strong, supporting your growing belly and relieving backache. Walking during pregnancy strengthens pelvic muscles and pelvic tilts, in return, can ease lumbar pain by gently stretching your lower back muscles.
How long should I walk during pregnancy third trimester?
Since it is completely safe to walk during pregnancy third trimester, you should walk for at least 30 minutes a day, four to six days every week. However, you must consult your medical professional if you are comfortable and want to walk or exercise for longer.
The Bottom Line
Walking in pregnancy is the simplest form of working out that suits all pregnant women regardless of varying fitness levels. While it is simple to do, it makes a huge difference in the entire pregnancy and labor experience. However, you must listen to your body if your doctor has approved to start a walking program.
After all, pregnancy is not about setting fitness records or increasing your strength and endurance. It is about staying active and attaining its benefits, even if it is a short walk. So, if you don’t feel like walking someday or taking more breaks, it is perfectly fine. Listen to your body and rest if you feel extremely tired.