Walking During Pregnancy: Myths, Benefits, and Side-Effects
Most of us assume pregnancy needs all time rest and passive lifestyle. But what many do not know is that this phase requires a woman to get stronger and ready for a healthy delivery. Walking during pregnancy helps immensely to keep oneself stay fit and healthy. It is a natural method of staying sound and healthy without rigorous body workouts and routine, and will, in turn, help to do a lot good for fetal development too.
Be it the case of long casual walks or brisk walk; it is always essential to inculcate the habit of walking in pregnancy time for longer run fitness. Today, we will give you a glimpse of the importance and benefits of regular walks for expectant mothers.
Is Walking Good During Pregnancy?
Walking while pregnant is a great sound and safe for mums-to-be. It is quite beneficial as it does not involve rigorous workouts and is easy on legs. One can stick in walking at any point in time into the schedule and can go smooth. Further, the walks can help in the heartbeat and lungs, also controlling unhealthy weight gain.
See More: Pregnancy Exercises for Normal Delivery
When to Start Walking During Pregnancy:
There is nothing like the hard and fast rule on when the expectant mothers can begin walks while pregnant. Walking for pregnant ladies is recommended by several medical professionals, and its importance is stressed by many. You can even start walking on the first day of pregnancy. It is a simple and mild form of exercise that can be done throughout the pregnancy period without any potential risks. However, as per the doctor’s advice, it is vital to keep in mind some safety tips and precautions as per the trimester.
Benefits of Walking During Pregnancy:
If you still have some apprehensions on, is it safe to walk during pregnancy, do not worry! Take a look at some fantastic benefits and advantages associated with regular walks for expectant mothers.
1. Healthy Baby:
The simple exercise of walking during pregnancy ensures the weight of the mother and the baby is in check. With this, the baby gains a healthy weight.
2. Gestational Diabetes:
One common thing every new mom experiences is higher levels of sugar in the blood that will lead to type 2 diabetes after delivery. It also increases the risk of pre-term labour. The other effect is an obese baby. Walking during pregnancy is quite healthy as it will keep the weight in check and ensure the gestational diabetes is at bay.
3. Higher Chances of Normal Delivery:
Walking during pregnancy will ensure you have a standard delivery and not cesarean. Walking increases the flexibility of the hip muscles and also its tones them up. Early morning walk during pregnancy for normal delivery has been attested to provide positive results.
4. Reduces Pain and Discomforts:
It is common for several expectant mothers to experience discomfort and aches in several parts of the body. Walking is immensely helpful in minimizing any pains. They help stretch legs, which can work around greatly to reduce aches.
5. Controls Weight Gain:
Walking helps oneself to stay fit in an overall perspective. It keeps a check on unhealthy weight gain and promotes an active lifestyle. Further, walking also tones the muscles down and improves cardiovascular health.
6. Happier and Stress-Free Lifestyle:
Be it the case of anxiety, sleeplessness or fatigue; walking helps to beat them all and work towards achieving an overall happier lifestyle. Sound sleep and a peaceful mind are yours now!
Adapting Walking in Pregnancy:
The importance of having regular walking during pregnancy cannot be stressed enough. We understand that adapting it to the lifestyle regularly be challenging. Here is how expectant mothers can go about to adapt to walking during pregnancy time.
1. Walking During Pregnancy: First Trimester
The first trimester, early pregnancy, is up to 13 weeks. Slow walking is ideal during the first trimester. The sole purpose of this stage is to walk. Increasing the pace can wait. 15 to 20 minutes of walk is good for four days a walk. You can gradually increase 5 more minutes five times a week.
The next step is the intermediate level. In this phase, walk for six days a week. Begin with 20 minutes of walk and make it six days a week. In the end, 20 to 40 minutes of a walk for six days a week is best.
The next phase is the advanced stage. Begin with 20 minutes of a walk for five days a week. Increase this to six days. Add uphill and stairs, and in the end, you should have covered 30 to 60 minutes for six days.
2. Walking During Pregnancy: Second Trimester
The second trimester is the 13 to 25th week. Begin with a 10-minute walk for 4 to 5 days a week. Increase it to 15 to 30 minutes and make it six days a week.
In the intermediate phase, start with 20 minutes of the walk for four to six days a week and the total time to 30 to 40 minutes.
In the advanced stage, walking for pregnant ladies should begin with 30 to 40 minutes of the walk for six days a week. One day a week, choose to walk for 50 minutes by climbing stairs or walking uphill.
See More: Benefits Of Running During Pregnancy
3. Walking During Pregnancy: Third Trimester
26 to 40 weeks is the third trimester. Five to six days a week is an ideal walk during this period. You might not be able to walk with a growing belly. In case you are a beginner, start with 10 minutes of the walk for four to five days a week. Walk slowly, and make sure you do not pant while walking at this phase. Stop and slow down at regular intervals. Walking at late pregnancy, especially nearing to delivery in9th month should be done cautiously with all precautions.
At the end of this period, you should have walked 15 to 30 minutes for five to six days a week.
While you do the following steps regularly, always remember to,
- Keep your walking safe. Do not overstress and remember that you don’t live for walking. It is just a measure to keep yourself fit and healthy. Pregnant lady walking is a welcome step to keep themselves fit.
- Talk while walking every couple of minutes. If you find yourself gasping for breath, it is probably time to stop.
- If you find yourself in too much pain after walking or sudden swelling, dizziness, fainting, then you need to stop walking right away and talk to your doctor about the safety of further walking.
- Know your fitness level. If you are a beginner, start by walking slow and thrice a day, trying to put a day off between each walk. Add in a day or so once you feel like you are ready. By the time your pregnancy ends, you should be able to walk faster than before and at least 3-4 days a week. In case you are in intermediate level, Begin by walking four times each for about 20 minutes. The speed should be experimented with, and by the end of your pregnancy, you should be fitter than you were before, and you must be able to walk for about five days a week and still feel energetic about it.
Side-Effects of Walking in Pregnancy:
While we all understand that walking is great for expectant mothers, there may be few side-effects too.
- Watch out for fainting, exhaustion, dizziness, contractions, vaginal bleeding, chest pain, or weakness. In case you experience any of this while walking, see a doctor immediately.
- In case you have high blood pressure, heart disease or lung disease, consult a doctor before you start exercising.
- Brisk walking during pregnancy might not always be right. In case you experience any difficulty with the pace, slow down and watch out!
Preparing for Walks:
We understand it is not quite easy to get up and set straight on walking. Preparing for regular walks can be worrisome too. Here are some tips.
1. Don’t Push Yourself:
Usual guidelines deem walking about 150 minutes a week safe for a pregnant lady. When divided, it is a 30-minute walk five days of the week. It should not be irregular, and the timing should be active. The more active you are, the more benefits you will experience.
2. Carry Water Bottle:
Avoid dehydration. It is the most important thing to do during pregnancy. Drink lots of water when you are in walking and exercise routine.
3. Walking Shoes:
If you want to support your ankles and arches, then the best method is using walking shoes. Do not wear ordinary slippers as they may slip.
4. Never Forget Your Sunscreen:
If it’s a summer day, stepping out without sunscreen could keep your baby’s life at risk owing to the ultraviolet rays. Umbrella, cap and a bottle of water are other essentials that you shouldn’t turn a blind eye to. Dehydration might increase your body temperature, and your child won’t be too happy about it.
Safe Walking Tips:
Although walking is an exercise that has minimal issues for either the mother or the baby, there are still a few things that should not be ignored.
- Don’t walk too fast or too slow, allowing your body to absorb all the heat on a sunny day. This might lead to premature contractions.
- Keep your center of gravity fixed around your belly.
- Wear comfortable shoes always and walk with extreme attention, so you don’t trip or slip.
- Sip in the water you take along with you every few minutes to keep yourself hydrated but in little measures.
- Look forward when you take walks. Avoid any falls.
- To improve the posture of walking, you can always use maternity belts which are available in several medical stores.
- Take breaks. Do not let your body heat up and cause health concerns.
- If you feel any soreness near hips or pelvis, stretching can help. They offer relaxation to muscles and ligaments and in turn, improves flexibility.
- Duck walking during pregnancy is also quite frequent and safest exercise, especially in the beginning trimester. But take your doctor’s advice before this.
When to Consult a Doctor:
If you observe or suffer from the following symptoms, you must rust and see your medical professional immediately,
- Dizziness, breathlessness or feeling of too much exhaustion.
- Blurred vision, muscle weakness and bad pains near legs and calf.
- Decreased fetal moments and chest pain.
- Vaginal bleeding and fainting.
See More: Meditation for Pregnancy
In case you have heavy blood pressure, heart issues, or risk associated pregnancies, you must always consult with your doctor’s opinion before beginning exercising.
Always consult your medical professional’s advice before you begin exercising when pregnant. The case and condition of every expectant mother are different, and hence, the level and limits of exercising may differ as per individual.
Walking during pregnancy at regular intervals can help expectant mothers stay fit, motivated, happy, stress-free and overall healthy. It is always recommended to have mild to small exercises and a healthy lifestyle for healthy delivery too. Given these benefits, it is also essential to check with the doctor as per individual health scenarios.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Q1. How much walking is recommended per day during pregnancy?
Ans: The most common question posed by pregnant women is how long should I walk! On average, 150 minutes a week is a standard guideline for expectant mothers for healthy living and delivery.
Q2. Is it safe to walk with twin during pregnancy?
Ans: Walking while pregnant is most recommended for overall healthy life and delivery. It is safe thoroughly to exercise even when you are expecting twins.
Q3. Is it safe to walk on the treadmill during pregnancy?
Ans: Exercise machines like treadmill or rowing are wonderful to be used when pregnant, but make sure you take proper cautions on now to slip down and fall.
Q4. Is too much walking bad during pregnancy?
Ans: Walking is among the best way for a healthy pregnancy phase. Hence there is nothing called too much walking when one is expecting. Staying active and healthy can be beneficial for both mothers and fetus. Just make sure you don’t feel too tired, fatigued, dizzy, or nauseous.
Q5. Is walking after eating during pregnancy, right?
Ans: Mild and slow walks post-meal around your place can be useful when you are pregnant. But do not do rigorous and regular walking, which should be part of the day. It is best advised to have early morning walks or evening walks.