When you are pregnant, being active can be a difficult thing to do. With low energy and near-constant tiredness, exercise is probably the last thing on your mind. However, it can be quite beneficial to be active, and walking during pregnancy is one of the best activities you can do.
Merely walking may not seem like much, but it is a low-intensity activity that is ideal for your needs. It is incredibly important to keep active during pregnancy. There are several amazing benefits of walking during pregnancy. But what exactly are they? How will walking during pregnancy help you?
These are the questions that are answered in this article.
When Should I Start Walking During Pregnancy?
Walking is a simple activity that does not require a lot of effort or preparations. So, it does not really negatively impact you, as long as you wear proper shoes and do not overdo it. Plus, walking is a preferred way to stay active during pregnancy when you cannot strain your body with physical activities. You can start walking during pregnancy at any time.
However, there are things you need to keep in mind when walking, according to what trimester you are in.
If you were active before getting pregnant, walking shouldn’t be too difficult for you. As long as your doctor agrees, you can continue doing what you did before. As for walking, you can start out with walking 20-30 minutes each day, and slowly increase it to 40-60 minutes, if you are comfortable with that.
Simple evening or morning walks can be a good addition to your lifestyle. In case you do not have time for them, consider walking some distance to your workplace, market etc.
On the other hand, if you were not that active before pregnancy, or if morning sickness is affecting you too much, you can start with brisk walking for 10-15 minutes each day. Slowly, by the end of the trimester, you can increase this to 30 minutes a day.
Related Reading: How To Cope With Extreme Tiredness In Early Pregnancy
In the second trimester, you may feel more energized and feel like you can do more. This is fine, as long as you do not overdo walking during the second trimester of pregnancy. Remember to make sure you do not have difficulty breathing.
You can also wear support accessories like belly bands. Wearing proper supportive shoes and comfy breathable clothes will also go a long way. And remember to take enough rest afterward, with your legs elevated to prevent any swelling.
By this time, your center of gravity will have shifted. So, there are some things you need to watch out for when walking during pregnancy third trimester.
This is a time when you have to take it a bit easy, in order to prepare for labor and delivery. So, while you can still walk for the same time as you did in the second trimester, you should slow down your pace a little. Make sure you feel comfortable and do not exert yourself.
Related Reading: 12 Important And Practical Tips For Normal Delivery
You should avoid rough terrains and uneven paths. Don’t walk in steep places. Stick to flat grounds. This is to ensure you keep your balance.
11 Amazing Benefits Of Walking During Pregnancy
There are several health benefits of walking during pregnancy. It is exactly the kind of low-intensity exercise you need to be doing to be active during your pregnancy. But what exactly are these benefits? Let us find out.
1. Easier labor
Walking during pregnancy has several benefits, and this is one of them. It helps to tone and strengthen your hip muscles. This allows you to have more a relaxed and easy labor. Walking helps to ensure that the baby is in a position that is ideal for delivery
It also reduces the risk of complications during delivery, including premature birth. So, walking during pregnancy makes both you and your baby safer.
2. Reduces the need for c-section
As mentioned above, walking during pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of complications. These complications are often the reason for unplanned last-minute c-section deliveries. As such, the need to get a c-section reduces when you walk regularly.
It also helps the baby move to the correct position. So, walking during pregnancy for normal delivery will definitely allow you to avoid a c-section, if that is what you desire.
3. Walking during pregnancy can prevents excess weight gain
During pregnancy, it is very tempting to just sit back and relax. However, this will not help you have a safe pregnancy. While it is important to be comfortable and get sufficient rest, it is equally important to keep your body active.
A lot of women have to deal with gaining an excessive amount of weight during pregnancy, which is a problem that is often caused due to a lack of exercise. Walking regularly will ensure that a healthy weight is maintained throughout your pregnancy.
It will also make it easier for you to lose weight after delivery, as it is useful in burning calories.
Gaining less weight during pregnancy, as long as you still weigh a healthy amount, can have many perks as it reduces the risk of complications such as premature birth.
4. Cardiovascular health
Walking during pregnancy can be very beneficial for your cardiovascular health. In fact, walking even when you are not pregnant is helpful. It keeps your heart and blood vessels working. This makes walking during pregnancy the perfect cardio exercise, as it is both beneficial for your health and needs little to no preparation.
Related Reading: Sitting Cross-Legged During Pregnancy – Is It Safe
5. Prevents gestational diabetes
Gestational diabetes is a very common condition that affects up to a million pregnant women in India annually. It causes the blood sugar levels in your body to become very high during pregnancy. Even though it is very common, and is often resolvable with the help of doctors and medicine, there are many possible side effects.
These potential side effects of gestational diabetes include the baby being born obese, the baby developing diabetes, and even stillbirth.
However, walking during pregnancy helps maintain blood sugar levels. This means that it can be very helpful in preventing gestational diabetes.
6. Maintains blood pressure
A too-high or too-low blood pressure is a problem that many pregnant women go through. Since your blood is being redirected to the fetus more, and your blood vessels are expanding, it is common to experience low blood pressure during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy.
Blood pressure also often spikes in pregnant women. This can have many unfortunate side effects such as placental abruption and premature labor. It can also put too much strain on your heart and kidneys. So, it is very important to regulate your blood pressure during pregnancy.
Related Reading: Household Work During Pregnancy – What Do And What To Avoid
Walking during pregnancy does just that. By maintaining the cholesterol levels in your body, walking can help maintain healthy blood pressure.
7. Reduces back pain
During pregnancy, it is no news to most women that you may experience several aches and pains. A growing belly causes your center of gravity to shift, and the stretching of muscles will also cause aching. Your bones will have to get used to support the new weight. Not to mention inactivity can cause the muscles to stiffen up.
Back pain and leg pain are the two more common aches that pregnant women suffer from. Walking during pregnancyhelps to prevent both these pains. It keeps you active and fit and prevents any stiffness.
8. Walking during pregnancy can help you sleep better
While it is common to experience fatigue and lethargy during pregnancy, it is also common to go through the opposite. A lack of activity may cause you to have a lot of excess energy that you cannot get rid of.
And even if you do not experience that, many pregnant women complain of not being able to get enough sleep. Walking during pregnancy offers a solution for that.
Related Reading: Excessive Sleeping During Pregnancy – Causes, And Remedies
It is a safe, healthy, and easy way to burn any excess energy. It has the benefit of both keeping your body fit and active and making it tired enough and ready for bedtime. By the time you lie down, it will probably be easy to drift off into a satisfied sleep.
Just make sure you do not exercise right before bedtime. There should be enough time between your walk and your bedtime for your body to calm down.
9. Prevents constipation
Many pregnant women suffer from issues related to digestion. Constipation is one of the most common of these digestive issues.
A study claims that 11% to 38% of women suffer from constipation during pregnancy. Women who may have never experienced constipation earlier may have to deal with it as well during pregnancy and after childbirth. So, it is obvious that you should try to prevent it.
Walking during pregnancy, along with other exercises aids in digestion by helping food move faster through the alimentary canal. It also causes less water to be absorbed by the colon, so that your bowel movements can be easier. Thus, it helps relieve constipation.
10. Prevents preeclampsia
Preeclampsia is a rare but dangerous condition that occurs during pregnancy. It causes high blood pressure and poses a threat to multiple organs, often the liver and kidneys. It can also cause excess weight gain and edema. It occurs most often during the third trimester.
Related Reading: 8 Workouts To Avoid During Pregnancy
Walking helps to keep your body fit and healthy and can prevent preeclampsia. This makes it one of the many benefitsof walking during pregnancy in 3rd trimester.
11. Walking can boost your mood
It can be suffocating to have to stay inside home or office all day. Walking gives you a change in scenery that is much needed during pregnancy. Taking a walk in the park, or taking a stroll while listening to music can serve to lift your mood and relieve you of any fatigue or lethargy that you may have been experiencing.
Walking briskly also releases more endorphins, which can relieve you of stress and anxiety and boost your mood.
Walking during pregnancy may not seem all that important or useful. You may, at first, think that such a low-effort activity will not help you. However, there are many amazing benefits to walking during pregnancy, as discussed above.
You can start as late as the third trimester, but it will still be very beneficial for both your health and your baby’s health. Just make sure you do it properly. Keep to safe terrains and if you need it, don’t be shy to use protective support accessories like belly bands.
If you do it right, there is no end to all the benefits of walking during pregnancy, from simply lifting your spirits to potentially preventing dangerous complications.