“Don’t squat during pregnancy, or better yet, avoid exercise all together!”
If you are expecting or have been pregnant before, chances are well-wishers have offered this bit of misguided advice to you. While there are exceptional situations where certain movements are contraindicated, generally speaking, exercise and squatting, in particular, can offer immense benefits to the pregnant woman. Let’s take a closer look.
Benefits of Squatting during pregnancy
- Relief of Lower Back Pain
During pregnancy, hormonal changes can lead to loosening of ligaments thereby compromising joint integrity. The weight of the baby, in addition to the weight a woman gains during this time, leads to the spine being pulled forward. Squatting strengthens the legs as well as the lower back region alleviating this pain.
- Strengthen the Pelvic Floor
The pelvic floor muscles become tight and stiff due to lack of adequate movement. Squatting can help stretch, relax and strengthen these perineal muscles. This, in turn, puts the pelvic region in a better position for childbirth.
- Maintain Posture and Balance
The center of gravity tends to shift forward during pregnancy especially during the latter months because of excessive weight in the front of the body. This can create risky situations as the woman is prone to falling or tripping over forward. Use squats as a means to counter this by strengthening the posterior group of muscles.
- Reduce Constipation
Constipation and other digestion-related problems are common towards the end of pregnancy. This is usually due a combination of hormonal changes and abnormal pressure in the abdominal region. Squats can help relax this area of the body, thereby providing relief from bloating and flatulence.
- Better Birthing PostureThe squat position is ideal to replicate birthing posture. Regular squatting helps to widen the birth canal and stretch the perineal muscles thereby facilitating a smoother and unobstructed descent of the baby.
- Stabilize Hormonal Levels
It is common knowledge that strength training can help regulate hormones and lead to improvement in mood. Compound movements like squats exercise large muscle groups like your legs and glutes and in the process lead to better insulin sensitivity and nutrient absorption.
Why not preserve that pre-pregnancy body? Squatting is the king of exercises when it comes to developing and maintaining lower body shape and muscle mass. It becomes much easier to look good during and get back to your usual gorgeousness
after pregnancy if you are used to a good strength training routine, the cornerstone of which is the squat.
Do’s and Don’ts
Now that you know why you should be squatting during those crucial months, let me give you some quick tips that will make this safer and more enjoyable for you.
- Always ensure correct form while performing the movement, preferably under the guidance of a qualified instructor. There are plenty of variations to choose from – Box Squats, Goblet Squats, TRX Squats and Sumo Squats to mention a few.
- Ensure proper ventilation in your exercise area. Avoid excessively humid areas. Make sure that your hydration is on point.
- Any abrupt or unusual pain, especially in the lower abdominal region, should be a sign to stop or change the exercise.
- If, according to your physician, the baby is not in an ideal position after 30 weeks of gestation, you should avoid squatting.
- Needless to say the squat is a beneficial but challenging movement, which needs the right fuel. Make sure your nutritional needs are being met during the process.
There you have it – some very good reasons to be squatting during your pregnancy. Do seek the guidance of an instructor qualified for Antenatal and Postnatal Exercise and squat your way to a healthy childbirth.
Author credits – Rupesh Choudhury