There are many reasons why exercise during pregnancy is recommended. It helps to improve aerobic and muscular strength and facilitates quick recovery from labor. Exercise enhances maternal physiological well-being that helps to counter stress, anxiety, and feelings of depression often experienced during pregnancy. When a woman exercises during pregnancy, she gets used to healthy lifestyle habits and it is easy for her to maintain them even after delivering. Exercise also makes it easier to return to pre-pregnancy weight and flexibility levels. With exercise, there are fewer chances for obstetric interventions and shorter active labor which translate to less pain. Exercise reduces back pain and also reduces “postpartum belly”. Other general benefits of exercise include less weight gain, improved digestion, and greater energy reserve.
Squats are not only good for a great-looking bum but also for preparing the body for the critical job ahead – delivering. The majority of pregnant women incorporate squat workout for pregnancy in their workouts. Squats increase the pelvic floor muscle strength thus preparing the pelvic floor muscles for birth. They strengthen the gluteal muscles that help to stabilize the pelvis by supporting the sacroiliac joint. Consequently, there is less pain when ligaments are loosening. Overall, squats prepare you for labor, strengthen the necessary leg muscles for stronger birth positions and help you to maintain your body in good shape.
Types of squats for pregnancy
- Wide (Sumo) squats:
These pregnancy squats are often performed using the core ball. Put the ball between your body and the wall and stretch your legs outwards past shoulder width. Slowly squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that the knees are in line with the toes. Do 10 repetitions 2 to 4 times with 30 seconds of rest between the sets.
- Chair squats:
Stand in front of a chair with your feet shoulder-width apart. Spread your arms straight at shoulder level to keep balance. Slowly squat down, making sure that your knees are in line with the toes and arms are out as in the initial position. Squat down until your bottom touches the chair. Stand back up again and do another repetition. Do 10 such repetitions 2 to 4 times, taking 30 seconds to rest after every set.
- Bulgarian split squat:
This is one of the advanced squat variations that don’t need equipment. The Bulgarian split squat is an incredible way to burn fat and develop greater strength for delivery. Stand before a chair, bench or any other raised platform facing away from it. Place one foot on the raised platform and push the hips back. Keep the torso upright while you bend the raised leg at the knee. Squat down until your knee touches the ground. Resume your starting position.
- Curtsy squat:
The Curtsy squat is an effective exercise for toned legs and glutes. Start with spreading your feet hip-width apart and resting your hands on the hips. Take the right foot behind the left leg as far as possible. Squat down trying to maintain your body weight on the front leg. Resume the start position.
One common mistake that people make while performing squat workouts for pregnancy is overlooking the type of shoes they are wearing. Using the right squat shoes allows the torso to stay in an upright position. It reduces stress in the lumbar spine and increases the engagement of the quadriceps muscles. When combined with heel lifts, squat shoes help the user to stay more upright thus preventing imbalance in the lower body. Imbalances can cause a valgus collapse.
Though the best shoes for each type of squat depends on how the user squats, all squat shoes have an incompressible sole for maximum stability. In low bar squats, there is more leaning forward and less depth while in front squats the torso is more upright and one goes deeper. It is, therefore, important to use the right kind of squat shoes during a squat workout for pregnancy.
Kelly is the founder of RegularityFitness, where she and associates blog about the best fitness exercises, weight loss methods, diet, muscle building. That will help you get a good shape and healthy. RegularityFitness concentrated on the benefits of exercise and provides effective training methods to achieve it. She has three years of experience fitness and that is the biggest passion in life.