The Benefits of Walking for Pregnant and New Moms

Whether you're pregnant or a new mom, you can get in shape just by putting one foot in front of the other.

Dos and Don'ts for Pregnant Walkers

pregnant woman walking in stretch pants and sweater

These days, store shelves far and wide are stocked with DVDs of every exercise from Pilates to belly dancing. But when you're pregnant or adjusting to the demands of new motherhood, learning the vocabulary and new moves of the latest fitness fad is probably not a top priority.

That's why walking is such a terrific way to stay fit. You can adjust the time and pace to suit your needs, and all you need is a pair of good shoes and the will to move. So get the go-ahead from your doctor to exercise and follow these simple steps from walking experts Liz Neporent and Debbie Rocker.

Dos and Don'ts for Pregnant Walkers

Don't measure your performance against your prepregnancy fitness level. During pregnancy, the idea is to maintain your level of fitness, not necessarily improve upon it.

Do be aware of your altered sense of balance; a big belly changes your center of gravity, so it'll take some time to get used to walking with extra weight around your middle.

Don't walk in extremely hot weather. It's very easy to overheat during exercise when you're pregnant, so you may want to do your walk on a treadmill when the weather's sultry.

Do listen to your body, carefully. Now is not the time to test your fitness limits. "If your body tells you to put on the brakes, do it," says Neporent. Getting thirsty, very tired, or lightheaded isn't good for you or your baby.

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