Walking in Pregnancy: Everything you need to know

Walking during pregnancy isn't just a stroll in the park - it's a step towards keeping your mindset positive and preparing your body physically for the big day.

But let's face it, with pregnancy comes responsibility—not just for eating that extra biscuit (because now you're eating for two, right?), but also for making sure that your exercise routine is safe as well as effective. So, let's jazz up those maternity leggings and talk about why walking is the perfect exercise for expecting mums, and how you can make it a safe, enjoyable, and effective part of your pregnancy routine.

The Benefits of Walking During Pregnancy

Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that's perfect for all stages of pregnancy (even when your toes start to feel like distant relatives). It doesn't just keep you fit; it lifts your mood (hello, endorphins!), improves your sleep, and, as with all exercise, may even decrease the risk of complications during delivery.

You don’t need any level of fitness to start and can take it as gently or as briskly as you feel comfortable with. It's a fantastic excuse to get some fresh air and perhaps enjoy a little gossip with fellow pregnant pals, if you can find some buddies to walk with. Plus, it’s a great way to justify another pair of comfy maternity leggings!

Top Tips for Walking in Pregnancy

  •  Get the Gear:

Investing in a pair of supportive walking shoes or trainers is crucial. Look for shoes with extra arch support and a cushioned sole to take the pressure off your feet as your weight increases to protect your not-so-little piggies and prevent the dreaded "pregnancy waddle." Your feet might swell during pregnancy, so consider shoes that are a size larger than usual.

A supportive belly band can work wonders for reducing pressure on your back and abdomen in the latter months, or invest in a pair of our maternity leggings or maternity shorts that have gentle support in the bump band for a totally comfortable walk.

Pregnancy can play havoc with boob sizing and if you are finding yours are getting uncomfortable, make sure you also have a supportive bra that can encompass different sizes as you grow. Our nursing sports bras all come with adjustable back extenders so they can be worn throughout pregnancy as well as breastfeeding.

  • Timing is Everything:

When the sun is at its peak (especially in the summer months), aim for early morning or late evening walks. Remember, you’re basically walking with a built-in heater, so layer up wisely! Not only is it cooler, but the serene atmosphere can be really therapeutic and a morning walk is fantastic for boosting energy levels. Walking after dinner? A gentle stroll can help your food digest (indigestion in the third trimester can be really uncomfortable) and help you wind down before bed.

  • Hydration and Nutrition:

Carrying a water bottle might feel like added luggage, but staying hydrated during pregnancy is crucial. You’re drinking for two now! Keep hydrated when walking in pregnancy, with a lightweight, reusable water bottle. It’s also smart to carry a small snack like a banana or a handful of almonds, especially as your metabolism kicks into higher gear in later months and the hunger can come on quickly and unexpectedly.

  • Listen to Your Body when walking in pregnancy:

If your body says, "Hey, let’s take it easy today," then it’s probably wise to listen. Your body knows best, and during pregnancy, it’s working overtime. Stamina and energy levels can really vary from day to day. Some days you might feel like you could walk for miles, while other days just getting to the corner shop can feel more than enough. Respect your body’s signals and don’t push yourself too hard. Shorter, more frequent walks might feel better than one long expedition. On the flip side, sometimes making yourself go for a walk when you feel shattered can be a great way to boost your energy levels – as long as you are feeling well, give it a try!

  • Pick a safe route when walking in pregnancy:

Choose well-maintained paths or tracks. While mountain climbing sounds adventurous, the risk of tripping over a rock or slipping is higher when your belly alters your centre of gravity. A loop in your local park or a walk along a scenic route in your neighbourhood is perfect.  

Things to Avoid While Walking in Pregnancy

  • Overdoing it

This isn’t the time to break personal speed records. A good rule of thumb when walking in pregnancy is the "talk test." If you can chat comfortably while walking, you’re at a good pace. If you're gasping for air, slow it down.

  • Routes that are a bit ‘much’

If you are walking in the countryside, try and avoid really muddy tracks or route with lots of stiles to climb over, especially when you are more heavily pregnant, unless you are confident that you are steady on your feet. Personally I’d also avoid cow fields - if you need to sprint away from a cow, you don’t want to be doing it heavily pregnant!

  • Isolated routes:

Try and avoid isolated trails. It’s best to walk where others are present, or bring along a walking buddy for company and safety. While walking in pregnancy is a comparatively ‘easy’ way to exercise, ideally you want to make sure you are somewhere where someone can easily pick you up if you aren’t feeling great, or where you can cut a route short and head home if you feel you have over done it a bit.

  • Overheating:

Pregnancy increases your susceptibility to overheating which isn’t great for you or your baby. When walking in pregnancy avoid high humidity or walking in the hottest part of the day to prevent dehydration and other heat-related issues. If you do need to go out when the sky is at its sunniest, wear a cap and loose-fitting clothing to help keep cool, and try and pick a shadier route to walk.

 How to Make Walking in Pregnancy More Enjoyable

  • Mix It Up:

Vary your routes to keep things interesting. If you’re feeling social, look for a local prenatal or mum and baby walking group, or start one yourself! It’s a great way to meet other mums-to-be or mums that are a bit further down the path (no pun intended!) that can give you the tea on everything you need to know when your baby arrives.

  • Add Some Tunes:

Boost your mood and your pace by create a playlist of your favourite uplifting songs. Just make sure to keep the volume at a level where you can still be aware of your surroundings. Alternatively use your walk to listen to a podcast to prepare you for labour and babyhood (we love the pod from Midwife Pip) or use it as a quite time to go over your birth affirmations.

  • Include Your Partner:

Make walking in pregnancy a couple’s activity. It’s a nice way for you both to unwind and spend quality time together before the baby arrives. Also, who else is going to carry your water and fan you like royalty when needed? And if there are any debates to be had over baby names or nursery themes, a good walk is a perfect time to make sure you persuade them to your way of thinking!

 Walking in pregnancy isn't just about keeping fit—it's about enjoying the journey, one step at a time and can be a real highlight of your pregnancy routine, especially at this time of the year when the weather is (mostly) lovely. So, tie up those laces and head on out there!