*Squats are one of the best exercises to work on while you are pregnant!!
Here are 5 great reasons why:
1. The squat is a great labour and delivery position.
From a squat position, you work with gravity to help bring your baby down
towards your birth canal. Squatting also helps to expand your pelvis for delivery.
The more you practice, the easier they are when the time comes!
2. Squats help prepare pelvic floor muscles for labour.
Having the ability to relax and open pelvic floor muscles is essential for a vaginal
delivery. At the bottom of our squat, our pelvic floor opens and lengthens. Proper
breathing during squat exercises helps the pelvic floor to open and relax even
more. I like to cue women to inhale as they lower into their squat and think about
“opening and lengthening” the pelvic floor, then exhale and think about “lifting”
the pelvic floor as they come up.
3. Squats are a multi-joint exercise.
Squats utilize many muscles in your legs and hips. Building strength and
endurance in many muscles is not only useful for everyday life, but also in
preparation for the marathon of labour and delivery.
4. Squats can help increase pelvic stability and decrease pelvic girdle pain.
During pregnancy, the relaxin hormone produced helps to relax the ligaments of
the pelvis in preparation for childbirth. Unfortunately, this ligamentous laxity can
sometimes lead to pain in the low back and pelvis due to the increased
movement now found in these joints.
Strengthening your pelvic and hip muscles helps counteract all this extra
movement. Squats work your glute and hamstring muscles and these muscles
help support your pelvis and create stiffness at the sacroiliac joint, decreasing
pelvic girdle pain.
5. The more you squat… the more you squat.
As you practice squats your strength and comfort with this, movement increases and
the more likely you are to use the squat in daily life. To prevent injury when
lifting, use your legs in a squat motion instead of bending over and lifting with
your back muscles. Think about all of the lifting ahead of you! Groceries, babies,
and car seats are all heavy on their own! Adding groceries + babies + car seats
= even heavier! Do yourself a favour, get your squat on!
So all you pregnant ladies out there… if you haven’t started incorporating squats into your routine yet, please start today!
*Doing squats correctly should not lead to, or increase, low back or pelvic pain. If you are having pain during this movement, contact your Pelvic Health Physiotherapist or other Health Care Provider to ensure this exercise is right for you!