Benefits of squat exercises during pregnancy.

Exercising during pregnancy provides a number of benefits for both the mother (shorter labour) and the baby (less colic). What should also be highlighted is that for many mothers keeping active makes them happier, less anxious and helps them feel more in tune with their growing body. So it makes sense to help pregnant women stay as active as they can.

The short answer to the question of how much and what type of exercise is safe is simple. Listen to your doctor and listen to your body. If something hurts, then STOP!

Benefits of adding squats to your exercise routine:

  • Increased pelvic floor muscle strength – Squats will help to prepare the pelvic floor muscles for birth even better than kegel exercises.
  • Prevents lower back and pelvic pain – Strong gluteal muscles help to stabilise your pelvis by supporting your sacroiliac joint. This prevents pain which is often caused by ligaments loosening due to the pregnancy hormones relaxin and progesterone.
  • Prepare you for labour – Squats can help you prepare for labour and birth. The exercises mirror positions you can hold to help you cope with contractions in early and late labour. They can also help the baby to descend deeper down into the pelvis.
  • Stronger birth positions- Strengthening leg muscles during pregnancy by performing a variety of squats giving you more endurance in your birthing positions. This will allow gravity to assist with making the pelvic opening wider which gives baby a bit more room to push through!
  • Great looking bottom! – Squats make your bum look fantastic.

Reasons not to squat:

  • When baby is not in optimal birth position after 30 weeks gestation – Squats help baby to descend deeper down into the pelvis. So, if baby’s feet or bottom (breech position) are presenting we don’t want them to descend in this direction. Encouraging baby to turn first and then resume your squats.
  • Pain – If there’s any pain involved when you exercise you need to get your technique assessed for correct alignment.  Exercises should feel a little uncomfortable or challenging but should cause pain.
  • Medical reasons – There are certain medical circumstances where you don’t want to encourage an early labour, such as Vasa Previa. Make sure to listen to your doctors advice on your pregnancy and exercise options.

How often?

“Squat 300 times a day and you are going to give birth quicker.” – Ina May Gaskin.

We love Ina May at The elbowroom but 300 may be a touch excessive. You already squat often throughout the day (every time you pick something up off the floor). You can add extra squats to your gym routine if you are a gym bunny.  If you are exercising at home start slowly and early in your pregnancy and let it build up naturally during your pregnancy while keeping within your tolerance limits. Be careful of you balance, deep squats during pregnancy can leave you a little off balance so have a wall or a chair close by to steady yourself.

Prenatal yoga and Prenatal Pilates have lots of squat exercises built in. Click here to view our prenatal yoga and Pilates classes.


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