A pregnant woman benefits from regular exercise. A low-impact exercise such as walking is popular. It can result in a better pregnancy experience.
When a woman is pregnant, her energy level may be low. This is understandable since her body is busy creating a human being. Having low energy and a growing belly often makes lounging around more attractive. Research has shown a pregnant woman should actually be doing the opposite. She needs to engage in exercise such as walking during pregnancy for at least 30 minutes each day. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise a healthy pregnant woman do a minimum of 150 minutes each week consisting of moderate-intensity exercise.
Walking During Pregnancy
There are important reasons for walking during pregnancy. It is a low-impact exercise. Walking is something that can be done at any place and at any time. The main requirement is for a pregnant woman to have a good, comfortable pair of sneakers. It’s also important to take a water bottle. This is all that is required for a pregnant woman to enjoy a walk outside her office, in her neighborhood or in a park.
A woman will experience many benefits from walking during pregnancy.
- Strong Muscles—Walking will keep a pregnant woman’s muscles strong. This could result in an easier delivery and recovery. Delivering a baby is challenging for most women. Walking during pregnancy could provide the strength and endurance necessary to handle the situation.
- Decrease Delivery Complications—Walking can decrease the risk of complications during a woman’s pregnancy and delivery. Research has shown that when pregnant women regularly exercise, they have a decreased chance of developing gestational diabetes or an unplanned cesarean section.
- Burn Calories—Walking helps a pregnant woman keep her weight in check. Lower weight can decrease the chances of a woman’s having a premature delivery. It will also make it more likely she will return to her pre-pregnancy weight in a shorter time.
- Constipation Relief—It relieves constipation during pregnancy. This is a common symptom when a woman is pregnant. Walking will help move food through a pregnant woman’s digestive track faster. This will result in less water being absorbed by her colon. This will then make her stools easier to pass as they will be softer.
- Mood and Energy Levels—Research has shown that the mood and fatigue levels of pregnant women improve significantly when they walk a minimum of 30 minutes a day at least four times a week.
- Better Sleep—Walking helps a pregnant woman sleep better by helping her burn off excess energy. This will result in being able to more easily doze off. It’s important to exercise well before going to bed. If not, walking may have the opposite effect.
- Eases Pain—Walking eases back pain and other aches experienced by pregnant women. It is common for pregnant women to experience back pain. This will often interfere with their sleep as well as daily activities. A pregnant woman who regularly walks can keep her back muscles strong and warm. This will help to support the baby growing inside them.
There are some general safety tips a pregnant woman should follow when walking during pregnancy for exercise.
- Stop If Necessary—If a pregnant woman starts to have trouble breathing, experiences vaginal bleeding or feels dizzy, she needs to stop walking immediately. A pregnant woman experiencing any of these symptoms should contact her physician right away.
- Remain Hydrated—A water bottle should be taken when walking, and a pregnant woman should drink from it often. If the weather is hot, it may be best to walk inside and avoid getting overheated.
- Be Alert—A pregnant woman needs to carefully look where she is going. Her belly is growing and her sense of gravity is changing. It’s important she is always aware of what is in front of her to ensure she can avoid tripping or falling.
- Listen to the Body—It is important to not do too much exercise. When a woman is pregnant, it is not the time to push herself. If she is feeling tired, she needs to rest. It is common for pregnant women to break their walk into two sessions when necessary.
Regular exercise is essential throughout a woman’s entire pregnancy. Walking during pregnancy should be a daily habit. When a woman is physically active during pregnancy, she will often experience a better pregnancy as well as delivery. She will also have an improved postpartum experience.