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Exercise for Pregnant Ladies - Squats

I knew exercising when pregnant was good for the mummy to be and baby. However I did not specifically understand the relevance of squats and their benefit to pregnancy and birth.

I attended a MamaBfit Q&A session this morning with 3 highly experienced midwives. They were there to answer questions about pregnancy and birth. They discussed hypnobirthing, waterbirths, positioning during birth and so on. After the session there was a complimentary pre- natal fitness session with their specialist trainer Anna Holmes - @annaholmes_dubaifitness.

There were squats.... lots of them and there was a reason for it. Doing squats during pregnancy can have the following benefits :-

1)Helps prevent back and pelvic pain

Strengthening your glutes helps stabilize your pelvis by providing support to your sacroiliac joint. Your ligaments can loosen during pregnancy due to hormones and by supporting your sacroiliac joint you can reduce pain due to this.

2)Helps your body prepare for labour - and can actually help the baby move down through the pelvis during  birth

The exercise of doing squats is reflective of some of the positions you can use to help you through labour. The motion can help open up the pelvis making it easier for the baby to move down.


3)Helps strengthen pelvic floor muscle

I didn't know until today that if done properly, squats can actually strengthen your pelvic floor muscles better than kegels! I know which I prefer :-)

4)Increases endurance for the many birth positions that can help make labour that bit easier

If you can hold squats for longer due to preparing before birth, this will help you do the same in labour. One lady today who has been attending the classes at @smartfitnessuae commented how the midwives at Al Zahra where she delivered had never seen anyone hold a squat for so long. You'll also have strength to do a variety of positions that without stronger leg muscles, many would not be able to attempt. These positions require strength to do, but with the use of gravity they help make the pelvic opening wider- giving the baby more room to push through.

5)Gives you a great looking behind!

Who doesn't want that? You'll be too busy to worry about what you look like from behind, do the squats and you won't even have to think about it - you'll know you look ace!

There are also times you shouldn't squat:-

1)If you feel pain or any discomfort - listen to your body of something doesn't feel right it probably isn't. Its possible your technique needs a little tweaking which a fitness professional could help you correct.

2)If the baby is not in the intended position e.g. breech position the last thing you want to be doing is pushing their bottom further down the pelvic channel. If they turn in the meantime to the intended position, squatting is back on the cards again (providing your health professional has given the all clear).

3)Sometimes there are medical reasons for not doing certain forms of exercise e.g. early labour is a risk. Always check with your health professional before embarking on any exercise regime.

So there you go - I certainly am more in the know now, hope you are too

Source Ref: Lorraine Scapens www.pregnancyexercise.co.nz

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