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Walking During Pregnancy: Benefits, Tips and Precautions

It is medically proven that physical activity lowers the chance of pregnancy-related complications that may come up due to reduced movements and weight gain. Around 140 – 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercises, such as brisk walking, are advised for women who do not face any complications during their pregnancy.  Brisk walking is easy and is super safe as well. Unlike the common belief, this type of walking does not cause pre-mature delivery, miscarriages, or low weight of the child during birth. However, you should still consult your doctor and follow their advice regarding exercise during your prenatal visits.

This blog will let you know more about the benefits of walking during pregnancy and will also offer some important tips regarding walking in the different trimesters.

Walking During Pregnancy

Advantages of Walking During Pregnancy

Walking while being pregnant improves your fitness and makes your heart and blood vessels stronger. Walking could aid in reducing the added fat and tone your muscles. Here are a few benefits of brisk walking during pregnancy.

  1. Aids in reducing back pain
  2. Aids in relieving constipation
  3. Decreases the need for cesarean delivery
  4. Minimizes the risk of gestational diabetes
  5. Lowers the risk of preeclampsia
  6. Prevents excessive weight gain
  7. Minimizes the risk of blood clots
  8. Aids post-pregnancy weight loss

How Long Are You Allowed to Walk During Your Pregnancy?

Experts suggest that you walk for 30 minutes daily for five days a week. Now those daily 30 minutes can be broken into 2 sessions of 15 minutes. Take a short walk every day rather than taking a long walk every few days. Go for brisk walking or walking uphill. It improves blood circulation and keeps your balance proper as well.

How to Adjust to Walking in Pregnancy?

Moderate exercise is safe and highly advantageous during pregnancy, but a few modifications must be done based on the anatomical and physical changes in your body. The amount of exercise and walk you do depend on the trimester you are in. You’ll also have to take the weather into consideration. If it is warm and humid, walk slowly. Keep the pace low and do not exert yourself. You can also go for other forms of exercise such as swimming or light stretching and yoga. The following tips may help you in adapting to walking throughout the different phases of your pregnancy:

First trimester

Walking and exercising during the first trimester of the first 12 weeks of pregnancy can vary based on your prior exercise habits prior to getting pregnant. Wear soft and comfy specialized walking shoes. These shoes will be useful in avoiding back pain and will keep your balance steady.

Beginner

Try walking inside your home for as long as possible, at a reasonably comfortable speed. You may then increase time and intensity slowly over the trimester. Start by walking 10 to 15 minutes on alternate days. Then try to add 5 mines after two weeks.

Intermediate

Walk for about 20 minutes a day, four or five days a week. You may increase the time to 20–30 minutes daily nearing the end of your trimester. Increase the intensity and the time duration as well. Plan your walks and exercise for at least a total of 150 minutes a week.

Advanced

Although you are extremely fit and may be able to walk for longer durations. You may even be able to do high-intensity workouts, but you have to be careful and walk moderately. Walking for 20–30 minutes a day, 5 – 6 days a week. Even if you do feel that you can go on for a longer period of time, you should still stop and keep it down.

Second trimester

During the second trimester, you’ll be gaining weight so paying attention to the posture of your body when walking is important. You’ll be receiving the load on your back so keep your back straight and swing your arms to stay balanced. Make sure you wear the right shoes that are soft and keep you comfortable. Go for a belly support band if you feel the need.

When you are done with your walk keep your elevated to avoid swelling.

Keep the tempo and time persistent during the second trimester.

Third trimester

Continue your daily walk in the third trimester as well. Contact your doctor if you have back or pelvic pain when walking.

Do not walk on steep and uneven slopes and walking paths. Wear a belly belt that will support your pregnant belly. Walk a short distance twice a day instead of taking a long walk. Walk with your family member when nearing your due date so that you can get help if you need any.

General Tips for Walking During Pregnancy

Take shorter steps (due to the pregnant belly). Keep conversing when walking and consider slowing down and cover less distance. Do tire yourself out.

To ensure you stay healthy, you should take the following precautions:

Select comfy walking shoes

]Wear a nicely gripped, comfortable pair of shoes to avoid trips and falls. Always wear a size that fits you perfectly. Add a gel liner inside for better pressure absorption.

Protect your skin

Use sunscreen when walking outdoors. Sun exposure increases melasma (dark spots on the skin), especially during pregnancy.

Keep yourself hydrated

Drink plenty of water. Stay hydrated at all times. Always Carry a water bottle with you at all times.

Eat a little before walking

Eat snacks 30 minutes prior to going out for a walk. Eat a banana, an apple, peanut butter sandwiches, and other light snacks. This could fuel your walks. Do not overeat like crazy though.

Choose a safe place without slopes and bumps

Walk indoors or outdoors. If it is extremely hot or extremely cold, try walking indoors to stay protected. You can also get a good treadmill at home and walk slowly. If you prefer walking outdoors, the morning hours are the best. The air at that time is fresh and the weather is pleasant.

When to Call the Doctor?

You should stop walking and call your doctor if you notice any of the following warning signs.

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • If you feel dizzy
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Pain in your chest
  • Muscle weakness
  • Calf pain and swelling
  • Uterine contractions
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Fluid leak from the vagina
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