Exercise Pregnancy

How To Squat Safely During Pregnancy

Squats are a universally popular exercise because their compound-nature work multiple muscle groups in one go, giving you a lot of bang for your buck.

So if you are a fan of this multi-joint exercise then you’re probably wondering if they are safe to do during your pregnancy.

For most women the answer is yes, squats are not only a safe form of exercise while expecting, but they also provide multiple benefits for pregnant women.

But what sort of modifications should you make, if any?

And can they induce labor in your third trimester?

Let’s take a look.

Is Squatting Safe While Pregnant?

Yes, squats are considered to be safe for most pregnant women.

In fact, they are a great way for pregnant women to not only get some exercise, but they can also help strengthen the muscles needed for pregnancy, labor and delivery (more on this later).

Related: Your Complete Guide To A Happy & Healthy Pregnancy

Benefits Of Squatting During Pregnancy

The are many advantages to squatting during pregnancy, and some of the most notable benefits include:

  • Strengthens your pelvic floor muscles.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Can relieve pain and pressure on your back.
  • Promotes muscle tone, strength and endurance.
  • Helps maintain a healthy body weight.
  • Improves your core strength.
  • Improves your posture.
  • Versatile exercise that can be done anywhere, without equipment (if using only body-weight).
  • Doing this exercise during labor and delivery can open your pelvis and therefore help your baby’s descent.

Pregnant Woman Exercising at Home with Her Personal Trainer

Frist, Second & Third Trimesters

We recently covered that pregnant women can deadlift throughout their pregnancy, but what about squatting?

For most women the answer is the same as with deadlifts and the same with lifting weights in general – provided you make a few modifications where necessary, it should be safe to squat during your first, second and third trimesters.

The thing to always keep in mind is that as your pregnancy progresses and your bump grows in size, you will need to make room for your belly (especially in your third trimester).

Don’t be surprised if you therefore find the exercise to be more difficult towards the latter end of your pregnancy, especially as your joints will naturally be under more stress and strain as you progress towards full term.

Some modifications you may wish to make, but especially in your third trimester, include:

  • Use a wider stance than normal.
  • Use a chair or table for additional support if needed.
  • Reduce the depth of your squat if you are finding it challenging to get up from the lowest point.
  • If using weights, it’s also a good idea to reduce the weight compared to what you’d normally lift before you became pregnant.

Other Tips For Safe Squatting While Pregnant

    • Use proper technique and good form at all times, and avoid weights that are too heavy.
    • Breath properly, which means inhaling before you begin to lower down, and exhaling as you extend your legs back to the starting position.
    • Aim for endurance rather than trying to lift heavy weights at very low reps.
    • Don’t push yourself too hard.
    • Your body often knows best, so if something is uncomfortable or feels unusual, then stop immediately.
    • If ever in doubt, it’s wise to speak to your midwife or doctor first.

5 Pregnancy-Safe Squats

  1. Bodyweight: you may find the weight of your body is enough resistance, but if not try holding weights in your hands or use a barbell.
  2. Wall (With or Without Exercise Ball): helps engage your core muscles.
  3. Deep: excellent for opening your hips and pelvis.
  4. Sumo: another great way to stretch and open your hips.
  5. Chair: a good exercise if you are struggling for balance or aren’t comfortable with the regular variety.

Pregnant Woman Squatting Against A Wall

When To Start Squatting During Pregnancy

Because squats offer a wide range of health benefits, there’s nothing to stop you doing them from very early on in your pregnancy.

Squats are a great way to prepare your body for childbirth as we’ve seen above, but if you can incorporate them into your exercise routine in your first or second trimester then you should go right ahead.

100 Squats A Day While Pregnant

There has been a lot of talk and coverage recently about doing 100 squats a day while pregnant, which leads many people to ask how many squats a day should I do during my pregnancy?

The truth is that every body and our individual circumstances are different, so there’s no right answer as to whether 100 a day is the right number for you.

It’s more important to maintain good form, breath properly, maintain your balance and not push yourself too hard, rather than aiming to do a set number per day.

The “correct” number of daily squats will vary from person to person, but what’s true is that provided you don’t have underlying health conditions and have a healthy pregnancy, squatting is an excellent way to prepare your body for childbirth.

Are Weighted Squats While Pregnant Safe?

You don’t necessarily have to use weights to get the benefits of this wonderful exercise.

Often your natural bodyweight will provide enough resistance to ensure you still benefit from doing the exercise.

But if you are used to squatting with weights then provided you don’t overdo things and go too heavy, then doing weighted ones should be safe while pregnant.

As always, it’s a good idea to check with a medical and / or health professional, especially if you are performing any new exercises during your pregnancy.

Can Squats During Pregnancy Induce Labor?

There are many tales out there about activities that can induce labor – for example whether cumin tea can jump-start labor.

While squats are considered a great way to prepare your body for pregnancy, labor and delivery, there is no scientific evidence that suggests doing them can induce or send you into labor.

Tori is mama to 3 year old Isabella and co-founder of Rockinbaby. She has a BSc in Psychology, is a certified yoga teacher and is a working mom. In her free time Tori loves cooking delicious foods and baked treats, entertaining and working out. Learn more about Tori here.

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