One thing that we feel very strongly about at Metro Midwifery is that physical activity is a critical element for a healthy pregnancy and straightforward birth. So much of what unfolds during care is out of our hands, but diet and exercise are squarely on our shoulders. While there are many ways you can engage in exercise while pregnant, our standard recommendation is a daily walk of three miles.
All exercise is beneficial*, but walking has a number of specific benefits:
- It is good cardio. While you’re pregnant, your blood volume expands by as much as 50%! This is a lot of extra work for your heart, and walking helps keep your heart strong and assists with the circulation of all that extra blood.
- It promotes optimal fetal positioning. As your baby grows, the pelvic mobility that long walks promote assist the baby into getting into the best position for delivery. This is especially true for first time pregnant people.
- It helps keep blood sugar stable. Pregnancy is a time of increased insulin resistance, and there are significant implications of that on the health of mom and baby. Walking helps utilize glucose and decreases the risk of developing gestational diabetes.
- It will help maintain, or even increase, your stamina–something you’re going to need for the ultimate marathon of labor!
- It is important for mood, stress reduction, sleep, and more! Exercise confers a number of benefits, and pregnancy is a time when we could all use a little boost. Walking, specifically, seems to have a meditative effect and–as a bonus–if you walk outside you’re going to get more vitamin D, which is also important for mood!
So, don’t delay, lace up those shoes and hit the trail!
*As long as it doesn’t put you at undue risk of a fall or injury or is in any way inappropriate for your own care–please consult your provider for approval before starting any fitness regimen.