I’m a walker. I love to walk and I’ve been walking for years. My mom is also a walker and you could say that I’m following in her footsteps, pun intended. So when I found out I was pregnant, my doctor encouraged me to continue my walking routine. And he advised me that walking would do wonders for my mind, body and spirit during my pregnancy. Boy was he ever right!
In about my third month of pregnancy, after the morning sickness subsided, I began a consistent workout routine. Whether I hit the treadmill or the pavement, I religiously walked ever other day for about 40 minutes. And I’m convinced that my dedication to walking enriched my pregnancy, my labor and delivery and my recovery.
Like many pregnant women, I worked throughout my entire pregnancy, so there were many times when I had to force myself to get out there and walk. But inevitably, after my walks, I felt wonderfully refreshed and rejuvenated. And I attribute the fact that I did not experience even one sleepless night during my pregnancy, to my consistent walking routine.
According to my doctor, the acceptable weight gain for pregnant women is approximately 20 to 30 pounds. Many women exceed this amount thus causing sluggishness, discomfort, lower back pain, fatigue and more. Walking helped me maintain my weight within these suggested parameters but without depriving myself of much needed calories. I gained a total of 22 pounds centrally located to my stomach region, while my legs remained muscular and toned. I also never suffered from annoying and unattractive stretch marks!
Pregnant women face many obstacles during their nine months. High blood pressure happens to be one of these issues that can be harmful to both mother and child. Gestational diabetes is yet another concern. My doctor feels as though exercise helped me to successfully ward off these would be problems. I also went through an entire flu and cold season without even a sniffle! Exercise is proven to strengthen our immune systems therefore making us less susceptible to illness. I firmly believe that walking helped me to maintain a healthful pregnancy.
Labor and Delivery
In my third trimester, the doctor kept telling me that the baby’s head was down and low. He claims that exercise helps encourage the baby to get into position. So when I went into labor, it was no surprise to him that I dilated quickly. I also had a relatively uneventful and somewhat fast labor and delivery. After an epidural (hey, I’m no hero) and a dosage of an induction drug to move things along, I pushed for a total of 15 minutes before my little miracle arrived.
Many people have told me not to expect my stomach to miraculously disappear immediately after childbirth, but that is precisely what happened. Minutes after my daughter was born, I marveled at the flatness of my stomach. Sure, there was the normal abdominal swelling, but for the most part my tummy looked pretty good. And by the time I returned home from the hospital I had lost 16 pounds! Not only did I lose the weight, but I also felt great in the days that followed the delivery and I am certain that walking was the key to my positive pregnancy experience! Now when I walk, I push a buggy!