Any doctor will tell you that exercise and toning during pregnancy is a great thing to do. The benefits of certain exercises done while pregnant will come into play during the third trimester and also during labor and delivery. These exercises are used to stretch and strengthen the body to prevent discomfort. One of these exercises to do is squats.
Starting Out with Partial Squats
For someone who has never worked out before or is new to working out, doing any exercise during pregnancy needs to be done with caution. It needs to be started very slowly and worked up to another level once it is felt that you are ready. Doing too much too soon can cause issues and pain. Do not use weights when starting to do squats. A chair will be needed for balance.
Stand behind the chair with both hands placed on the chair and use the chair as a guide. Do not start out doing a full squat. Go about halfway down into a partial squat and hold that position for about 10 seconds. Then rise slowly up back to the starting position. Repeat these steps 10 more times. As the 10-second hold gets a bit easier, hold the squat position for longer periods of time, working your way up to holding for 60 seconds. Once you can hold the squat position for 60 seconds and do so easily, it is alright to progress to the full squat.
Doing full squats are recommended by many birthing classes as a preparation for labor and delivery. As with the partial squat, a full squat should not be done to the full bend. The full bend is not done for a few reasons. One reason is to prevent strain on the knees. With the additional weight, there is more pressure on the knees, and continued pressure can cause damage. Also, there is potential for back pain. If the squat is done too far down, extra pressure is placed on the uterus, which then places extra pressure on the pelvis and can cause the pelvis to tilt. This tilting will cause pain in the back.
When doing the full squat, it is recommended that a chair or a partner be used. The farther along the pregnancy is, the more unstable you will be. Go slowly until balance is established and then proceed with doing the squats. Start out with a hand on a chair or a partner and bend down as if you were to sit in a chair. Go about half way and then slowly rise back up to the starting position. Repeat these 10 more times.
Squats are great for toning the leg muscles and the gluteal muscles. With these muscles strong, it is said that labor and pushing during birth will be a bit easier. No one knows for sure how their labor will be, but if doing a simple exercise such as squats can help elevate any pain during that process, it is an exercise worth doing.