Walking during pregnancy

The NHS encourages mums to be to stay active and exercise during pregnancy and walking is one of the most popular activities to do, alongside swimming, pilates and yoga. It’s low-impact, free, you can do it from your own front door and it’s easy to adapt your walks to the changing needs of your body.

Benefits of walking during pregnancy and beyond

Walking can lower the risk of developing morning sickness, constipation, cramps and varicose veins and of being sleeplessness at night during pregnancy. You should be able to walk as normal during the first two trimesters and continue into the third trimester as long as you can.

Being active through walking will help you cope with labour, and will help you get back into shape after the birth. Joining a walking group can be a great incentive to get active on foot when your baby is born and you’ll also get to meet other people.

By getting in the walking habit during your pregnancy and keeping up walking after the after the birth you’ll be setting yourself up for a happy, healthy lifestyle and you’ll be more encouraged to walk as a family as your little one grows and finds their feet.

Walking advice

If there are, or are likely to be, complications during your pregnancy, seek medical advice before starting a programme of exercise.

The right level of exercise for you to do during your pregnancy will depends on how fit you were before – pregnancy isn’t the time to push yourself but you don’t need to put your feet up for the whole of your pregnancy either. Listen to your body and don’t overdo it.

As a general rule of thumb you should be able to hold a conversation and you shouldn’t get too out of breath when exercising during pregnancy. Walk slower than your normal pace if you need to, factor in rest stops and make sure you have a good walking technique.

If you experience exhaustion, dizziness, fainting, breathlessness, blurred vision, contractions or vaginal bleeding while out walking during your pregnancy you should stop and, if necessary, seek medical advice.

Here are some simple practical tips for walking during pregnancy:

  • Wear supportive shoes and comfortable clothes
  • Stay on level ground and off dangerous paths, such as along a cliff edge
  • Avoiding exercising during the hottest part of the day in hot weather
  • Carry water with you and drink it regularly
  • As your due date gets closer, stay closer to home, keep your mobile phone with you when out walking or walk with other people
  • Consider shorter walks or walks with a short cut you can take if you get tired

Our volunteers have developed hundred of shorter, easier walking routes across Britain which are free to download from our online library. All you need to do it register online to get access to walks to inspire you to get walking during your pregnancy and beyond.

For more information on exercise during pregnancy visit the NHS website.

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