Are you pregnant and looking at safe exercises that will help you stay healthy and fit during pregnancy and also help you enjoy a smooth labor? Have you tried squats earlier and want to know if it is safe to practice squats during pregnancy? Do you want to know of some specific squatting exercises that you can safely do without causing any hurt to your unborn baby?
If you are looking for any of the above, it is time for you to scroll down and check out our recommendations below, along with some safety measures you need to follow during this delicate phase.
Is It Safe To Exercise While You Are Pregnant?
While you are pregnant, once you have your doctor’s approval, it is safe to continue with some forms of exercise. It will help you stay in shape and will also help prepare your body for labor and childbirth.
Benefits Of Practising Squats During Pregnancy:
Squatting is a very old form of exercise. Here are some benefits of performing squatting while pregnant:
- As your pregnancy progresses, your baby bump will start growing big. During this time, you may start face certain health issues as well as have fitness concerns. Squatting will help you stay fit overall and alleviate your discomforts.
- Doing squatting during pregnancy will also help to stretch your lower back. It will help to relieve any pressure or pain you feel in the lower back area.
[ Read: Exercises For Back Pain During Pregnancy ]
- As your pregnancy advances, the center of gravity of your body will shift, making your body’s sense of balance go for a toss. Doing a squatting exercise on a regular basis can help your center of gravity stay in place and will also help to realign your body.
- Constipation is a very common complaint among pregnant women. Squatting exercises during pregnancy will help to cure flatulence. It will keep your digestive system in perfect order, regulate your bowel movement and prevent any constipation.
- When you squat instead of sitting all the time, it will also help to reduce the pressure you may feel on your pelvic floor. It will be especially helpful during your third trimester when the pressure on your pelvic floor will be at its peak.
- Squatting is also one of the most natural positions for giving birth. If you decide to squat while you are giving birth, it will help to widen your birth canal. It will also help to provide more oxygen to your baby and will relax your perineal muscles. All these factors will help to reduce any chances of tears that you may otherwise suffer while pushing your baby during a vaginal birth.
- If you choose to squat while giving birth, the gravitational pull will make it easier for your baby to travel through the birth canal and come out finally. It will also give your baby more space than any other birthing position to travel through, making it less stressful for both you and your baby.
- When you practice squatting during pregnancy months, it will help to stretch and strengthen the pelvic muscles that will help you go for a normal delivery.
[ Read: Stretching Exercises For Pregnant Women ]
Safe Squatting Exercises During Pregnancy:
Here are a few squatting exercises that you can safely try out while you are pregnant. Even though they are safe exercises, you should check with your doctor first before trying them. Once you have the go-ahead from your doctor, start practicing the following:
1. Sumo Squat:
- For the sumo squat, stand straight with your spine erect. Make sure that you place your feet shoulder-width apart, and your legs and toes point outward.
- Take a dumbbell in each hand and stretch out your arms in front of you. Make sure that as you do so, your palms are facing your body.
- Keeping your back completely straight, gently bend your knees.
- Try and do a set of about 12 to 15 repetitions. If you feel comfortable, you can take a break and repeat the set.
2. Quadruped Extension:
- For the quadruped extension, you have to get down on the floor first and position yourself comfortably on your knees and palms.
- Make sure that you place your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees directly under your hips.
- Once you are in position, slowly extend your right leg towards the hip. You have to raise your leg slowly.
- Now, extend your left arm in front of you to your shoulder height.
- Hold the position for about two to five breaths. Next, return to your starting position and repeat all the steps with the opposite limbs.
- Try and do a set of 12 to 15 repetitions each. Take a break and repeat the set if you feel comfortable.
[ Read: Safe Cardio Exercises During Pregnancy ]
3. Wall Squat Sliding Down:
- For the wall squat exercise, you will need a few pillows that will help support your body during the different steps.
- Place the pillows next to the wall and stand in front of them. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart. Your toes should also be pointing in the forward direction.
- Now slowly lean back and bend your hips, your shoulders, and your head against the wall.
- Take a deep breath and slowly exhale, as you bend your knees slightly. Make sure that as you are bending down, you start to slide toward the pillows. You have to squat down and land on the pillows.
- As you do so, you have to keep your back straight and tuck your chin in towards your chest.
- Also, place your arms on your knees to help you balance and gently slide down.
4. Wall Squat Sliding Down And Sit Down:
- For the wall squatting in pregnancy, you will need a few pillows that will help support your body while you perform the steps.
- Place the pillows next to the wall and stand in front of them. Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart and your toes are pointing in the forward direction.
- Now slowly reach back and bend your hips, your shoulders, and your head against the wall.
- Inhale deeply and hold the position for about 12 breaths. Now, slowly stretch out your legs and sit down against the wall on the cushions.
- Relax for a minute and breathe normally.
[ Read: Kegel Exercises During Pregnancy ]
5. Simple Squat:
- Stand on the floor with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Turn your feet in an outward direction to maintain your balance.
- Bring both your arms in front of you and press your palms together. Place your palms directly in front of your heart.
- Take a deep breath and as you exhale, make sure you bend your legs in a deep squatting position.
- Open out your palms and press your knees with both your hands, keep them a little apart so that your tummy gets enough space, and you are comfortable. Just bend very slightly towards the front, and make sure you can maintain your balance comfortably. Take a deep breath.
- Very slowly breathe out, and as you do so, remember to stretch your spine upwards.
- Now, relax your tailbone. Make sure you do not overarch your lower back. If you can do this step properly, it will help the muscles in your lower back to relax. When you gain extra pounds during pregnancy, you may often find yourself overarching your lower back, which can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Practicing this particular step will help prevent or reduce the pain and discomfort in your lower back area.
- While you are coming down, you may lift your heels a bit from the ground. If that happens, you can roll up a towel for each heel and place it underneath so that you can maintain your balance well.
- Hold the position for about three minutes or until you feel comfortable.
6. The Chair Half Squat:
- For the chair half squat exercise, you will need a sturdy chair that can help you balance easily, without the risk of toppling.
- Place a chair and stand in such a way that you are facing its back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Also, make sure that your toes are pointing outwards.
- Keep holding the back of the chair to support yourself properly.
- While you are still standing, contract the muscles in your abdomen area. As you do so, lift your chest upwards and relax the muscles in your shoulders.
- Now slowly lower your tailbone towards the floor. You can pretend as if you are going to sit down on a chair.
- Make sure you do the steps slowly so that you can maintain your balance and keep your body steady. Most of your body weight should fall on your heels during this step.
- Breathe deeply and slowly. As you are exhaling, push your legs to stand up straight.
- Make sure that you get up slowly. You can first lift your hips and then bring up the rest of your body.
- Try and do one or two sets of about eight to ten repetitions each.
- Once you feel more comfortable with the exercise, you can make it a little more intense by increasing its duration. You can increase your holding time to about 15 seconds and gradually until you can do it for about 60 seconds without feeling uncomfortable.
7. The Chair Full Squat:
- For the chair full squat exercise during pregnancy, you will need a sturdy chair that you can hold on to safely for balancing.
- Place a chair and stand in such a way that you are facing its back. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart. Make sure that your toes are pointing outwards.
- Keep holding the back of the chair to give you proper support.
- While you are still standing, contract the muscles in your abdomen. As you do so, lift your chest upwards and relax the muscles in your shoulders.
- Now slowly lower your tailbone. For performing this exercise, you have to try and bring your tailbone towards the floor, as low as you can squat comfortably.
- Make sure you do the steps slowly so that you can maintain your balance and keep injuries at bay. Most of your body weight should fall on your heels during this step.
- Take a deep breath and exhale slowly. As you are breathing out, push your legs to stand up straight.
- Make sure that you get up slowly. You can raise your hips first and then lift the rest of your body upward.
- Try and do one or two sets of about eight to ten repetitions each in the beginning. Gradually, you can practice increasing your holding time until you can do it for about 60 seconds without feeling any discomfort.
[ Read: Safe Arm Exercises During Pregnancy ]
8. Super Simple Pregnancy Squat:
As the name suggests, the super simple squatting exercise during pregnancy is one that you can try doing on those days when you feel extra tired. You can do this squat exercise easily without straining yourself.
- Stand straight and place your feet about two feet apart. Make sure your toes turn outwards and you are in a comfortable position.
- Very slowly, start bending your legs down. While you do so, make sure your back is straight and you are not bending forward or leaning towards your sides.
- Very slowly start getting up, and as you do so, concentrate on your leg muscles as you push yourself upwards.
- You can initially do five repetitions of the same, and as you get comfortable, you can increase it to about 20 repetitions.
- On days when you want to make it a bit more intense, hold your position for 15 to 30 seconds when you go down, and gradually rise.
Things To Remember While Doing Pregnant Squats Or Any Other Exercises:
The first and foremost thing to remember before you do any exercise while you are pregnant is to take your doctor’s advice and approval. After assessing your health condition during pregnancy, your doctor will tell you whether or not it is safe for you to exercise. She will also advise you the time till when you can practice them safely.
Here are a few safety tips you should follow while you are performing the above exercises during pregnancy:
- During the first trimester, as long as you feel comfortable, you can increase the intensity of your exercise. You can do this by increasing the number of repetitions. You can also increase the intensity of the exercise by using a little weight during the regimen.
- As you enter your second trimester, tone down the intensity of your workout. You might also need to stop doing a few exercises completely, as they could be difficult to perform now or may hurt the little one in your womb.
[ Read: Exercises to Avoid During Pregnancy ]
- Sometimes, you may need to use props to do certain squatting exercises. If you have not used the props earlier, make sure you ask your partner or a friend to help you adjust to the same the first few times. Ask for help so that you can balance yourself properly and learn to use them appropriately. It will prevent a nasty fall or the risk of injury. After practicing a few times with the help of a support, you can slowly start doing it by yourself.
- Always stay hydrated before you set out to do any exercise. Make sure you drink water and fresh juices throughout the day. You can keep a bottle of water handy so that you can take small sips from it in between your sets. It is a simple way to keep dehydration and cramps at bay.
- Wear cotton clothes that have a comfortable fit to allow easy air flow and prevent excessive sweating while you are exercising.
- Make sure you are wearing a good bra that gives your breasts extra support as you exercise. Avoid wearing bras with underwires, as they can cause injury or pain and discomfort.
- The shoes that you wear while you are exercising have a major role to play in keeping you safe. Make sure they have a firm anti-skid sole to prevent any fall. Your shoes should fit you properly and not pinch or hurt your toes. If you are wearing shoes that have shoelaces, make sure you tie them properly before you begin exercising.
- Always exercise on a flat and dry surface so that there is no risk of slipping and falling.
- Never exercise right after a meal, even if you ate light. Maintain a gap of at least one hour between your meals and exercise routine.
- Make sure you eat a balanced meal and never exercise while you are hungry.
Follow your doctor’s advice and try the above squatting pregnancy exercises to enjoy a safe pregnancy.
Did you try squatting when pregnant? Please share your fitness regimen with other moms-to-be in the comments box below.
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