Walking and pregnancy

Walking is a safe and simple way to stay active during pregnancy. It’s a great activity to start with if you’re not used to exercise.

Benefits of walking

There are lots of benefits to keeping active during pregnancy. There are more good reasons to start walking too. 

  • It is free.
  • You do not need expensive kit.
  • You can do it wherever you are.
  • It is easy to fit into your day – for example, at lunch or for short journeys instead of using the car. Or you could get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
  • You can walk alone or with friends. 
  • It is low impact, so you can do it right up to the birth if you feel okay.
  • You can continue after the birth, taking your baby out and about in the pram.

Download our guide to staying active in pregnancy

Tips for walking in pregnancy

Try to walk faster than you normally would so that your heart is beating faster. 

If you exercised before pregnancy, aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity, such as walking, every week.

If you are new to exercise, start off gently and gradually build up your speed and distance.  

If you are planning to walk fast or go on longer walks: 

  • wear comfortable shoes
  • stay on level ground
  • walk tall and pull your tummy muscles in
  • make sure you can pass the ‘talk test’
  • avoid walking in hot weather – try going out early or late in the day when it is cooler
  • take water and healthy snacks with you
  • think about using a pedometer or step-counting app to keep track of your movements and see your progress.
  • Listening to music or trying out new places to walk will help keep walking interesting. 

“I loved finding new routes on our walks and talking through our days with my partner.”

  1.  ACOG (2020). Physical Activity and Exercise During Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period. Committee Opinion Number 804. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/committee-opinion/articles/2020/04/physical-activity-and-exercise-during-pregnancy-and-the-postpartum-period
  2.  Mottola MF, Davenport MH, Ruchat S et al. (2018) 2019 Canadian guideline for physical activity throughout pregnancy. British Journal of Sports Medicine 2018; 52: 1339-1346.
  3.  DHSC (2020). Physical activity guidelines: UK Chief Medical Officers’ report. Department of Health and Social Care https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/physical-activity-guidelines-uk-chief-medical-officers-report  
  4.  Connolly CP, Conger SA, Montoye AHK et al. (2019) Walking for health during pregnancy: A literature review and considerations for future research. J Sport Health Sci. 2019; 8(5): 401-411.
  5.  NHS. Walking for health. www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/running-and-aerobic-exercises/walking-for-health/ (Page last reviewed: 10/07/2019. Next review due: 10/07/2022)
Review dates
Reviewed: 29 May 2023
Next review: 29 May 2026