Often when we think of exercise during pregnancy, we think of cardio or maybe a low impact perinatal fitness class. Cardio during pregnancy can be healthy when approved by your OB or midwife; however, cardio is not the only exercise regimen that provides health and wellness. During the very first few days of pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is released. This hormone helps hip joints to have more flexibility and to help the pelvis expand and grow during pregnancy. Relaxin can cause hip joints to be sore sometimes. Pain in the SI joint, otherwise known as sciatica, can make some exercises difficult. Walking is a typical yet helpful, and health promoting, perinatal exercise routine.
Walking is easier to fit into a day than some exercises as you can sneak in walks while running errands, on breaks at work, or as a way to wake up or wind down the day. Walking, especially in the last trimester, helps baby achieve optimal positioning in the uterus. It also helps prevent some of those SI joint aches and pains by strengthening back muscles. Walking even improves mental health by boosting energy levels as well as mood. Mental health gets an extra boost when you take time to literally stop and smell the roses, look up at the stars, feel your breath or count colors. Walking helps keep gestational diabetes in check as well by providing a healthy way to burn calories.
How often and how long should one walk in pregnancy? According to CDC guidelines, walking for just 30 minutes a day at a mild to moderate pace is comparable to a one-hour yoga or cardio exercise routine without the risk of straining muscles. You should always speak with your provider about any exercise routine. Each pregnancy is different, and medical conditions that prohibit some exercises during pregnancy do exist. With approval from your provider, it is safe to walk as often as you desire.
Lovelace Labor of Love we will soon be offering a walking group. As fall settles in, our Fitness in the Park, class will change to a walking group. Dress for the weather, wrap your baby if they he or she has arrived and join the fun! Walking offers a great way to continue being active during and after your pregnancy. We look forward to seeing you in our group. Call Labor of Love with any questions 505.727.7677.
Blog submitted by Kristin Dawe, Birth Educator, CHW, CSW