Walk This Way: The Simple (and Powerful!) Guide to Walking During Pregnancy

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Let’s face it, finding time to exercise can feel like another item on the never-ending pregnancy to-do list. But here’s the good news: walking is one of the best (and easiest!) exercises for expecting moms.

Walking can be done anytime, anywhere. No fancy gym memberships, no complicated routines – just you, some comfy footwear, and the open road (or sidewalk, or treadmill). Plus, the benefits are pretty darn amazing:

  • Decrease Chances of Complications: Walking can help reduce the risk of gestational diabetes, and preeclampsia.
  • Optimal Baby Positioning: Walking, especially in the last trimester, helps your baby achieve optimal uterine positioning. It also helps prevent pain in the SI joint by strengthening the muscles of your back.
  • Blood Sugar Control: Walking helps keep blood sugar levels in check, especially if you take a stroll after a meal.
  • Energy Boost: The spike in endorphins will keep you feeling energized and focused, even on the days you’re feeling lethargic. 
  • Feel Better, Rest Better: Walking can improve your mood, help you cope with pregnancy anxiety, and even help you sleep better. 
  • Healthier Baby, Happier You: Studies suggest walking during pregnancy might lead to a healthier birth weight and lower the risk of preterm birth.
  • Mega Benefits: Walking might improve labor outcomes by:
    • Preparing the cervix for delivery (better Bishop Score)
    • Increasing the likelihood of natural childbirth (spontaneous labor)
    • Reducing the need for interventions like induced labor and cesarean sections (Shojaei, 2021)

But wait, there’s more! Walking is totally doable even when pregnancy throws some curveballs your way. Maybe you’re feeling extra tired one day? No problem, shorten your walk. Back pain got you down? Stick to smoother terrain. The beauty of walking is you can adjust it to fit your needs- and you should.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start Slow & Grow: Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Even short walks throughout the day add up! 
  • Grab a Buddy: Enlist a friend or family member to join you. Walking is more fun with company, and they’ll help keep you motivated.
  • Multitasking Mama: Sneak walking into your routine. Park far away at the store (forget those expecting Mama parking spaces!), take the stairs instead of the elevator, or walk during your lunch break. Every step counts.
  • Listen to Your Body: Don’t push yourself if you shouldn’t. Take breaks when you need them, and don’t be afraid to adjust your routine to meet your daily needs.
  • Shopping Spree: Invest in supportive insoles that make walking comfortable and prevent injuries. I swear by these supportive insoles! You heat them in the oven and let them form to your feet for maximum arch support. I formed mine to my feet every trimester. Use code EMPOWERED for 10% off at MommySteps.
  • Safety First: Stick to well-lit, paved paths, especially if you’re walking alone. Let someone know where you’re going and when you expect to be back.
  • Pregnancy Power Walk: Tons of resources offer pregnancy-specific walking plans tailored to your changing needs.

Remember, consistency is key. Even short, regular walks can make a big difference in your pregnancy’s comfort and mobility. Chat with your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, and then get moving. Drop your walking goals in the comment and let’s cheer each other on!

 

References

Connolly, C. (2018, November 11). Walking for health during pregnancy: A literature review and considerations for future research. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6742678/

Dawe, K. (n.d.). The health benefits of walking during pregnancy. Lovelace Health System in New Mexico. https://lovelace.com/news/blog/health-benefits-walking-during-pregnancy

Shojaei, B. (2021, July 30). The effect of walking during late pregnancy on the outcomes of labor and delivery: A randomized clinical trial. PubMed Central (PMC). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8395880/

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