Women's Healthcare Topics

Is a Brisk Walk Good Exercise for a Pregnant Woman?

Reviewed by James Brann, M.D.

Tips For Walking Efficiently

While walking won't guarantee a quick labor, it will help improve your endurance and help you recover much more quickly from the trials and tribulations of birth. Most doctors recommend that pregnant women engage in some form of regular exercise. If you haven't exercised prior to becoming pregnant, you might consider walking during pregnancy the best form of exercise available.

Walking during pregnancy is one of the simplest and easiest ways to maintain your fitness levels and help promote a fast and easy labor.

Walking during pregnancy is not only good for your body but also good for your soul. Just getting out and enjoying some fresh air will do wonders for your spirit and your mood during pregnancy. While a casual stroll will help lift your spirits, a vigorous walking routine is what you'll need to engage in to provide maximal health benefits. Here are some tips for maximizing your walking regiment and promoting your health and fitness during pregnancy.

  • Maintain good posture when walking. You don't want to casually stroll down the street with your shoulders humped over or lean over your child's stroller when walking. This will not help improve your health and may even contribute to back pain. When walking during pregnancy you should make a point to stand tall, you can practice at home by standing in front of a mirror. Relax your abdomen then pull your abdomen and shoulders back. Some women find wearing a maternity belt during pregnancy helps correct their posture, relieve back pain and improve their posture when walking. If you don't have a maternity belt you can easily acquire one online or at a local maternity store.
  • Look forward while walking. You don't want to focus on the ground or look from here to there. You should look ahead a few feet in front of you. This will also help promote good posture and prevent you from accidentally walking into something (lets face it, we are all a little clumsier when pregnant).

  • Walk quickly. You don't need to run and you don't need to job to reap the health benefits of walking. That said, you'll get a lot more out of your exercise routine if you walk at a swift pace. You can actually keep track of your heart rate while walking. You'll want to walk at a pace that is vigorous enough to get you breathing but not so fast you can't carry on a conversation. Most doctors recommend keeping your heart beat around 140 BPM while exercising during pregnancy.

  • Stretch. You should stretch both before and after walking during pregnancy. During pregnancy our muscles and ligaments are more relaxed than normal thanks to circulating relaxin in the body, a hormone that helps prepare our bodies for labor and delivery.
Learn about the tips for walking in pregnancy.

This handy little hormone can however also increase our risk for injury during pregnancy and make us feel a bit sorer than usual. Start your exercise routine slowly so you can monitor for soreness. You may find walking too quickly initially results in pelvic or hip soreness. Take things easy and work up to a more vigorous pace. Stretching before and after any physical activity may help improve your flexibility and cut back on any soreness you experience.

If you find you are having trouble getting motivated during pregnancy consider teaming up with a friend. Find another mother who is pregnant or a neighbor that has children and needs to go for a walk. The two of you will become best of friends and help keep each other motivated during and after your pregnancy.


Doctor's Corner

Pregnancy Week by Week - Women's Healthcare Topics