Walking is the best, easy, and the safest physical exercise for anyone. It not just burns calories but also keeps your overall physical and mental health up to the mark. A person should walk at least half an hour every day but, the more the better.
Pregnancy is a sensitive time and everything must be done with extra care. During pregnancy when other workouts come with conditions apply, walking during pregnancy is the best way to keep the mother and the baby fit and healthy.
Physical activity has known to decrease the risk of pregnancy-related complications. Let us get deeper into the knowledge of the benefits of walking during pregnancy.
Why should a mother walk during pregnancy?
Staying physically active keeps all the body functions up to the mark and also helps the body to adjust to so many changes happening in the body during pregnancy.
Not just the physical well being, walking is the best cardiovascular exercise for women during pregnancy. Walking is the safest physical exercise for a moms-to-be.
So to be physically and mentally healthy during pregnancy, get into the habit of walking for 30-45 minutes every day.
Benefits of walking during pregnancy
Being in the habit of physical activity is essential for everyone but for pregnant women, it has special relevance. Let us get deeper into the knowledge of many benefits of walking during pregnancy:
- Reduces back pain: Due to an increase in weight, the pressure on or back increases too, which can cause back pain. If you are in the habit of walking regularly, back pain problems reduce as it ensures healthy movement of the spine.
- Constipation: Constipation is a common problem among pregnant women. Walking ensures an active bowel movement and hence reduces the problem of constipation.
- Reduces the need for cesarean delivery: Most women wish to have normal delivery over cesarean. Walking increases the chance of normal delivery. It helps the movement of the baby down to the birth canal.
- Prevents excess weight gain: Many women tend to gain unwanted weight which troubles them in many ways like, breathing issues, posture problems, leg cramps, etc. Walking on an everyday basis reduces the excess weight gain and keeps the body fit and active.
- Regulates blood pressure: Walking maintains blood cholesterol levels, thus controls the blood pressure.
When to start walking during pregnancy?
There is no particular time for walking. You can start walking from the very first day of pregnancy. Walking is the only physical exercise that can be done throughout pregnancy and has almost no health risks.
Though walking schedule and intensity might vary with each trimester. Since every woman’s situation is different, always ask your doctor before adopting any physical activity.
Trimester wise walking schedule
- Walking during the first trimester: The first 12 months are too sensitive and you should be extra careful with your walking schedule.
15 minutes of mild walking for 5days a week is enough in the beginning. Wear comfortable shoes so you don’t fall and will also prevent back pain.
- Walking during the second trimester: During this time, make sure you walk keeping your back straight so you get no back pain. Swing your arms while walking to maintain the balance.
You can use a belly support band if you feel the requirement. Walk till you don’t feel tired and fatigued. Do not over-strain yourself. If your feet get swollen you can raise your legs taking wall’s support to avoid swelling.
- Walking during third trimester: Continue walking as it is. If you feel back pain or pelvic pain while walking, ask your doctor about it. Try taking mini walks twice a day instead of one long one. It is better to have a company during this time. Do not try to over speed but stick to a routine.
Precautions for walking during pregnancy
Walking is important during pregnancy. It is important to consider some important tips that you must follow before getting into a walking routine:
- Choose comfortable shoes: Wear good soled shoes with a nice grip so you don’t trip or fall. Always choose the right size of shoes.
- Hydrate yourself: Drinking water is very essential during pregnancy. Keep yourself hydrated especially when you are into the habit of walking. Wherever you go for a walk, carry a water bottle along.
- Walking path: Make sure the path you are choosing for your daily walk is smooth and is not even. An uneven walking path is risky and you must be careful. If there is no such path on the outdoors. Prefer choosing your house’s terrace or parking lot.
- Eat before walking: Munch something 30minutes before going for a walk. Eat an apple or a banana, or drink milk, smoothie, muffin or anything you like. It will provide you with enough energy for your walk.
Signs that indicate that you need to slow down
While walking is extremely beneficial, you must also be cautious. Walking fast during pregnancy is totally prohibited. Your walking speed must not drain you completely. Breathlessness or exhaustion while walking is not good. Take breaks and do not try to push yourself.
When to call a doctor?
If you witness any of the following signs post walking, you must call your doctor:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest pain
- Weakness of muscles
- Swelling or pain
- Uterine contractions
- Abdominal pain
- Fluid leak from the vagina
Walking during pregnancy is important but do not try to over-strain yourself with a fixed schedule. You can skip when you are not feeling good. You must take breaks while walking whenever you feel the need. Do not try to push yourself. Enjoy walking with your baby inside!