Keeping fit when you’re pregnant can feel like a minefield, and knowing what exercises you can do safely is challenging.
Squats are one of the most effective exercises for building lower body strength and muscle mass, and pregnant women may choose to incorporate them into their workout regime.
In this article, I cover some key information on squats while pregnant, including safety, benefits, and guides, so next time you want to work out you are well informed. Here are some nice sports leggings for postpartum too.
So, let’s begin.
During pregnancy, squats are an excellent resistance exercise to maintain strength and range of motion in the glutes, hips, core, and pelvic floor muscles.
Safety of doing squats during pregnancy
It’s generally advised that you avoid high-impact exercises that include excessive bouncing and jumping during pregnancy. Additionally, unless you were training at a high level prior to pregnancy, heavy resistance training isn’t recommended due to the risk of injury.
As your belly grows, your center of gravity shifts, and the hormone, relaxin, can cause the ligaments and joints to become increasingly loose to prepare your body for birth. This, in turn, can increase your risk of injuries, and you will need to avoid overstretching yourself.
To ensure that you are safe when exercising, always perform movements slowly and make sure that you’re controlled the entire time. Due to the fact that your center of gravity shifts, your risk of falling is higher, so keep the exercise slow to ensure that you’re balanced.
Whether you use equipment when you workout is a personal preference. That being said, when using equipment when squatting, the extra weight can put added stress on your joints and muscles in the lower back and pelvic region. The further along you are in your pregnancy, adding unnecessary weight to your workout routine isn’t recommended, as your growing belly is going to be affecting your balance and is already an additional weight. Whether you use weights, then, comes down to how far along you are. However, every pregnant woman should know that it can significantly increase their chance of injury. This is a maternity belt for back pain, that might help too.
Additionally, it is always crucial that you get approval from your doctor before starting a pregnancy workout regime, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy or intend to be doing high-impact exercises or weight training. It’s fundamental that you listen to the advice that your doctor gives you on your pregnancy and exercise options. They have your and your baby’s best interests at heart.
Alongside this, once you have been advised, you will need to stop exercising and consult with your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms below:
- Shortness of breath.
- Chest pain.
- Vaginal bleeding.
- Leaking vaginal fluid.
- A racing heartbeat.
- Muscle cramps.
- Uterine contractions.
Incorporating an exercise routine during your pregnancy is a great way of staying fit and healthy. That being said, the safety of you and your baby should be your priority, so you need to make sure that you visit your doctor if you notice anything abnormal that could have been brought on by exercise.
Always make sure that you’re in tune with your body and what it needs. There’s no shame in taking things slower, and the further along in your pregnancy you get, the more you’ll realize just how much you need to slow down. After all, you’re growing a new life!
Benefits of squats during pregnancy
Exercise is generally considered safe if you’re working at the same intensity (or below) as your pre-pregnancy activity level.
Squats are a great exercise for maintaining lower body strength and endurance throughout your pregnancy. You might like to use dumbbells – but this might change as your belly grows.
During pregnancy, incorporating squats into your workout regime can help to strengthen your legs and maintain mobility in your hips.
Alongside this, squats can help you to maintain your balance and coordination as your center of gravity shifts as your tummy continues to grow.
Squats strengthen your glutes, which can help to stabilize the pelvis and reduce your chance of experiencing lower back pain.
The great thing about squatting is that it is relatively low-impact, and as your belly grows, is an excellent exercise to work the entire lower body without the need for weights.
Keeping fit throughout pregnancy can provide you with more energy, and there are a variety of benefits of an active pregnancy.
A few of the physical benefits of exercise include but are not limited to:
- Improved sleep.
- Improved posture.
- Increase in your energy.
- Reduced swelling.
- Reduced backache.
- Promotes muscle strength, tone, and endurance.
Alongside this, there are multiple mental health benefits associated with exercising throughout your pregnancy including:
- A positive mindset.
- An increased sense of control.
- An increased self-confidence.
Exercising throughout pregnancy may also make it easier to get back in shape after your baby is born, as you will have been maintaining your fitness level through the entirety of your pregnancy.
Guides for squats during pregnancy
Depending on where you are in your pregnancy, the weight of your body may offer enough resistance for you to work out effectively.
It is worth mentioning that your joints are much more flexible during pregnancy, so it can be easy to strain yourself by stretching too far. To avoid this, make sure that you aren’t going past your normal range of motion.
- Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Make sure that you hold your arms straight out in front of your body for balance.
- Lower yourself into a squat position. Only go as far as you feel comfortable while being careful to keep your back straight, weight in your heels, and knees behind your toes.
- Return to the starting position, making sure to squeeze your glutes on the way up.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
- To begin, step into a wide stance with your feet bigger than shoulder-distance apart and toes pointing outward, with knees tracking in line with the toes.
- Next, lower yourself into the squat position. Only go as far as you’re comfortable while keeping your back straight, weight in your heels, and knees behind or in line with your toes.
- Keep your legs turned out throughout the exercise, making sure your knees do not cave in toward each other.
- Drive up through your heels to return to the starting position, squeezing your glutes on the way up.
- Repeat for 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
Deep squat hold with pelvic floor contraction
As you get further into the pregnancy, your pelvic floor can begin to get weaker. As a result, you need to make sure that you keep your pelvic floor muscles active throughout the pregnancy. Incorporating them into a squat is one way of doing this.
- Begin by standing facing the wall with your feet in a wide sumo squat position.
- Squat as far down as you can. Go as far as you’re able to, but be careful not to overstretch yourself. Remember, your joints are more flexible than usual but don’t overdo it.
- Keep your arms extended in front of you. If needed, you can also hold onto the wall for further balance.
- Perform a Kegel exercise at the bottom of your squat. Squeeze your pelvic floor in the same way as you would to try to stop the flow of urine.
- Hold this position for 10 seconds and return to the starting position.
- Repeat 5 times.
There are a variety of different exercises that you can try when you’re pregnant, and squatting is a great way to stay fit, maintain your lower body strength, and maintain endurance.
That being said, you don’t want to overextend yourself, and you should always check with your doctor that it is safe for you to work out before you create an intense workout regime. After you have your baby, you can always get a running stroller and get outside with your babe!