No doubt, Pregnancy is the most demanding stage of a woman’s life. Throughout this period, your body goes through significant hormonal and physical changes, and one can feel pain in literally every muscle, joint, and ligament of the body. During this period, the healthy growth of the baby in the womb is the foremost priority of every pregnant lady out there. Therefore, there are specific guidelines set by healthcare professionals and doctors that every pregnant lady pays strict attention to and follows them accordingly.
We all are well are well-aware of the positive association of gentle exercises with Pregnancy. In this regard, an exercise that every gynecologist swears by is Squats! In recent years, these have become extremely popular due to the incredible benefits it provides, especially when the tendency of the body of a pregnant lady changes its center of gravity. These ladies consider squats as an excellent source to realign the lower body and alleviate other discomforts caused during the pregnancy period.
However, there are some strict safety guidelines that must be followed to reap maximum benefits by squats. Therefore, here we thoroughly discussed this concern in detail. Although the internet is flooded with a wide array of information on his aspect, unfortunately, most of it isn’t able to provide comprehensive answers, which ultimately leads to further confusion.
Therefore if you are expecting a loved one any time soon, this article is a must-read!
Safe Exercising and Pregnancy
A woman’s womb is extremely delicate, from fetus to the point when the baby has fully developed; therefore, pregnant ladies are not recommended to carry out any physical workout without consultation. You are strictly instructed to avoid the majority of the high impact exercises, including excessive bouncing and jumping, etc.
In the developmental stages of the baby, the hormone relaxin is released, which loosens most of the ligaments and joints of the lower body. You may feel more flexible in this stage, but you must avoid over-stretching at all costs to prevent any inner injury.
Moreover, heavy resistance training also involves huge risk; as a result, it’s best to avoid it unless you were training at a very high intensity prior to Pregnancy.
In this regard, low squats with the right training are a perfect way to physically workout, without any major impact on the womb. You are recommended to always move slowly and in a controlled way, to avoid falling.
Yet, in case you ever experience the following symptoms while working out, you should immediately stop that particular exercise and consult your gynecologist:
- Vaginal bleeding
- Shortness of breath
- Racing heartbeat
- Chest pain
- Vaginal fluid leaking
- Uterine contractions
- Muscle cramps
Benefits of Squats during Pregnancy
As mentioned above as well, Pregnancy is a physically demanding stage; therefore, requires proper training. Exercises, particularly squats, are proven to work phenomenally in alleviating discomforts and prepare the body for labor. The benefits of squats include:
Strengthening of the Pelvic Muscle
A women’s pelvic floor muscle goes under intense strain during Pregnancy due to the additional weight of the baby. In fact, it’s an essential muscle involved in labor, delivery, along with recovery. As a result, by performing squats, you can particularly target this muscle group and increase its strength.
Prevents back pain and pelvic pain
Throughout the Pregnancy, several hormones are produced, which loosen up the major ligaments and joints of the body, which eventually causes muscular pain. Squatting strengthens the butt muscles and stabilizes the pelvic; hence, alleviating the pain.
Healthy body weight and cardiovascular fitness
Studies suggest that body weight can be unhealthy during pregnancy. Excessive fat accumulation is definitely not a good idea when research proves that exercising regularly promotes healthier weight gain. Besides, it will also keep your digestive system on track!
From the initial stages of pregnancy until delivery, your baby’s proper development is entirely dependent upon you, including its cardiovascular system. As your blood volume regularly increases, and heart rate keeps on fluctuating, being sedentary in this period is definitely not recommended. Thus, by doing regular squats, you can easily keep your cardio-vascular fitness, endurance, and muscle strength well-maintained!
All the extra weight during Pregnancy is borne the lower body; hence a woman’s posture is greatly disturbed. Squatting is an ideal solution to all the posture-related issues, as it improves the body mechanically and strengthens up the muscles. Plus, the intensity and frequency of lumbar pain and back pain are greatly reduced by squats!
Easing of labor
One of the most significant benefits of squats is the ease in birth. Very authentic evidence proves that women who were physically active throughout the Pregnancy, especially those who performed squats during the 9th month, had a shorter onset duration of labor with minimal complications. Not just that but the APGAR scores (done by pediatricians to determine baby’s health) were comparatively higher among active women.
Recently, there’s been quite an emphasis given to squats to bring on labor and to deliver in the same position. Squats are given importance to the extent that many hospitals now design labor room tables such as to allow delivery in a squatting position.
Alleviates minor Discomforts
Without any doubt, the entire pregnancy period is filled with countless discomforts and uneasiness. These include the very common issues during Pregnancy such as poor bladder control, varicose veins, insomnia, heartburn, and leg cramps, and most importantly constipation, Although squat wouldn’t entirely eliminate these discomforts, yet it will be able to alleviate its intensity significantly. Many pregnant ladies have also reported that only 3-5 minutes of exercise effectively reduces the symptoms of morning sickness.
Pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum period indeed have a very strong psychological effect on a mother. Regular exercise has proven benefits on maternal mental health, leading to decreased depression. Plus, it also has a major impact on positive self-esteem and confidence in your body.
Types of Squats for pregnant Ladies
There are various squatting positions as mentioned below, which you may prefer to utilize during Pregnancy, including:
This squat position specifically targets your inner muscles of the thighs and glutes. This is an incredible stretch that can easily open up your hips. However, as your joints are more flexible during pregnancy, there’s a higher risk of strain. Thus, don’t go past your normal stretching point.
- Stand straight with a wide stance between your feet-greater than shoulder width.
- Slightly rotate your legs to the extent that toes point outwards.
- Stretch out your arms or keep your hands on your hips.
- Lower yourself into the squat position, while keeping your back straight and weight onto your knees and heels.
- Go down till a point you are comfortable not overstretch or stress up your knees!
Wall Squats with exercise balls
This exercise uses a ball to create little instability during your workout to engage your core muscles further. During the wall squats, you are recommended to only go down to the extent that you can tolerate, to avoid overstretching of any muscle.
- For wall squat, you require a smooth wall for proper sliding during exercise, preferably of a ball.
- Make sure to keep your feet and shoulders wide-apart.
- Keep the ball between the wall and your back, and if you wish to do it without the ball, lean against the wall.
- Slowly lean back and start lowering your knees gently while keeping them stable.
- Take a deep breath and give a small pause.
- To avoid stress on your knees, keep squat only to the point you are comfortable with.
- Use your outstretched arms to provide you with stability and balance.
- In the end, slowly slide upward while leaning against the ball or wall.
Deep squat Hold
This type of squat particularly focuses on pelvic contraction. Your pelvic floor includes a wide array of muscle that supports the bladder, uterus along with several other organs. Unfortunately, during Pregnancy your pelvic floor is under extreme stress; consequently, the pelvic muscles weaken up. This weakening may lead to urinary incontinence along with other post-pregnancy issues. Now, this deep squat particularly keeps these pelvic muscles active which also assists in labor.
- Stand in a sumo squat position while facing the wall.
- Go all the way down, while ensuring not to over-stretch!
- Keep your arms extended and you may place your hands on the wall if needed.
- Make sure not to lean against the wall.
- While you are at the squatting position, hold on yourself while squeezing your pelvic floor as if you were stopping your urine.
- Keep the position for at least 10 seconds, and then slowly rise up.
Not comfortable with regular squats? No worries, as these chair squats will work phenomenally for you! This type of squat is extremely favorable for women who have compromised upon balance during the pregnancy period. And luckily, the method of chair squats is incredibly simple!
- Stand at least one foot away from the chair while making sure the chair is perfectly placed with a wall for support-so that it doesn’t slip from under you!
- Slowly bend down while keeping your hands on the hip.
- Sit back into the chair, and rest your bottom for a second or two.
- Without waiting for more than a second or two, immediately stand up utilizing your gluteus muscles.
- Perform at least 3-5 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions for an ideal workout.
Butterfly squat is, although not very popular among pregnant ladies; however, it’s perfect to target your inner thighs, groin, hips, and lower back. Although this form of squat may cause slight inconvenience, it is highly recommended by fitness experts.
- Press the sole of your feet together and sit up straight.
- Gently pull you are abdominal inwards and lean forward.
- Now carefully grasp your feet and gently pull them slightly forward.
- You will feel the stretch throughout your thighs, inner muscles, and lower back.
When to start squats during Pregnancy?
We would highly recommend you to start your squats during the early pregnancy period as it prepares your body for squats during later stages. The balancing is extremely hard during the last months as a result; by starting early, you would be able to do a diverse range of squatting exercises even during the last months. However, make sure to perform any squatting exercise in the presence of a friend, or preferably your husband to avoid any unfortunate incident.
Why must you be careful doing Squats?
Squatting may have countless health benefits; however, it’s not recommended to initiate it without consulting your healthcare professional. Hence, there are certain aspects that you must consider before or while doing squats, including:
- Squatting helps the baby to descend deeper into the lower pelvis. So if your baby’s feet or bottom are presenting in the same direction (especially during the last period of Pregnancy), you wouldn’t want them to descend further in the same direction. As a result, I always wait for your baby to come in the right direction before starting squats.
- Squatting helps in bringing early labor, however, there are certain medical conditions like Vasa Previa where early labors are strictly not encouraged. Therefore, always act upon your doctor’s advice before following up with an exercise.
- Hemorrhoids are one of the most prominent issues faced by pregnant ladies after heavy squats. So if during the last stages you are having constant constipation, then most probably you have hemorrhoids. Thus in order to avoid this, we recommend you start squats during the early stages of pregnancy and include lots of fiber-rich foods in your diet.
Undoubtedly, every pregnant lady must include squats in their daily routine as it doesn’t just ease the labor but also makes the body absolutely stress-free throughout the pregnancy period. Ladies who have adopted squats in their daily routine are shocked by the remarkable benefits.
However, you must consult your doctor first before initiating squats as the safety of your tiny bundle of love inside your belly has to be your top-most priority! Stay Strong, Beautiful!