Squats are a fantastic and relatively safe exercise for pregnant women. We get asked all the time, are squats safe in pregnancy? At Polkadotsi we train pregnant women to be strong, stable, and have the best birth they can.
An active birth has many benefits, and being able to stay mobile can help with pain management, blood flow to the baby, and reduce the likelihood to use epidural medication.
Squats are safest done with body weight only, unless you have clearance from your doctor to load and add weight.
So why are squats so fantastic during pregnancy? And what is the point in subjecting ourselves to this particular exercise?
Squats build your leg and glute muscles
A strong butt means a stable back! It also can mean you're more able to have an upright, active, labour. And let's face it, we all want an easier labour, am I right?!
Strong glutes can mean less lower back pain (hurrah!)
During pregnancy, we have a lot of relaxin in our body - this is BRILLIANT for labour because we want our pelvis to be nice and flexible to accommodate a baby. It's NOT so fantastic for maintaining stability in our lower back. Squatting during pregnancy means we can create a strong core and glutes to help keep your back safe.
When executed correctly, squats can help with your pelvic floor
There are some schools of thought that suggest squats might be a more effective exercise for pelvic floor function than kegels - personally, I see the benefits of both challenging the pelvic floor muscle dynamically using squats, and being able to isolate the muscles that help us control continency via kegels.
Hey Chloe, Ina May Gaskin said I should squat 300 times a day
Ina May, for all of her brilliant advice is in direct opposition with me on this one. I do NOT think you should be squatting 300 times a day, especially not when you're pregnant.
All you'll do is overwork your muscles, end up sore, and most likely injured.
You can have too much of a good thing, and frankly there is no association between squats and the speed of your birth.
3 sets of ten is enough thank you very much. And that's ONLY if it feels good to do.
When is it NOT okay to squat
Before engaging in ANY exercise program, always follow the advice of your doctor and ask them if squats are safe in pregnancy for you. Stop immediately if:
- It hurts
- You have a medical condition that makes squatting dangerous,
- You call under any of the pregnancy exercise contraindications
- Your doctor has told you NOT to squat
- It doesn't feel right.
Remember, NEVER undertake any exercise program without the advice of your doctor.