The third trimester of pregnancy—you’re fast approaching meeting your little one who may currently be treating your ribs as their own personal trampoline. That feeling of not being able to fully breathe or that you are getting drop-kicked in the ribs is pretty common. While it’s common, it doesn’t mean you are stuck with it for the next 12 weeks.
The Many Faces of Squats during Pregnancy and Postpartum
Did you know there’s a million and one different ways to squat? And guess what, there is not a “best” squat for everyone, find the best squat variation for YOU that works with your goals! Squats are one way to help turn "pregnancy butt" into peaches.
Body Weight Squats during Pregnancy
The first set of squats are great because as parents we frequently get up and down from the ground, chair or couch and it’s great to replicate these movements. Being able to do these squats can help so we don’t get stranded on the ground or trapped under a sleeping baby unable to move.
- Body weight transition from Bear to Squat and Tripod to Squat —> for when you sit on the ground and need to stand
- Body Weight Air Squats—>squatting is one of the most basic functional movements we have and it is great to train for everything from sitting on a chair to picking things up off the ground
- Box Squats, both Conventional Stance Box Squats and Sumo Stance Box Squats—> If you ever go from sitting in a chair to standing then you already do box squats, so let’s focus on doing them correctly and utilizing the glutes to our advantage.
Weighted Squats during Pregnancy
Weighted squats are a great addition to a workout routine. As parents, we must be able to move with weight for everyday function. This includes picking kids up, carrying carseats, putting kids into beds/cribs and even bending down to pick something up from the bottom shelf of the grocery store. It’s important to add weight as it is nearly impossible to go through life without it…as much as we train for birth it is equally important to train for life.
- Goblet Squat—> If you are new to lifting weights or need a confidence boost, goblet squats are a great exercise as it moves the load closer to your center of gravity, helping you get into a better position. Better yet, if you can’t squat low, this is a great exercise because the weight helps act as a counterbalance making it a little bit easier so you can train for progress
- Front Squat—> This is a great squat variation for those looking to improve flexibility while strengthening the upper back and quads
- Back Squats—> A back squat can help improve overall glute, low back and hip strength
- Bulgarian Split Squat—> This squat help you get both deep and low into your squat, allowing for the pelvic outlet to fully open. Added bonus in the fact it helps prevent muscle imbalances, challenges mobility, all while recruiting the glutes and improving core strength and stability
Improving Squat Mobility while Pregnant
Needing a little TLC to get into the squat position? Try some squat therapy to help mobilize the hips and upper back to get you to a better squat today! Also, did you know that not being able to do a squat could be caused by anything from foot mobility to a tight upper back? If you are looking to improve your squat, give us a call at (331) 307-7110 to schedule an appointment today and start building those peaches.
More and more I have been asked the same line of questions, “Can I squat during pregnancy? Is it safe to squat? Why should or shouldn’t I squat?” Here are a few considerations for squatting while pregnant. As always, it’s important to work with the body you have today and do what is best for you!
Considerations for Squatting while Pregnant
Squatting with abducted thighs expands the pelvic outlet, the area the baby must descend from in order to be birthed but closes the pelvic inlet (3)
- Squatting increases the pelvic outlet by one centimeter in the transverse diameter (side to side) and two centimeters in the antero-posterior diameter (front to back). The overall result is an increase of 28% in the pelvic outlet while squatting compared to lying on the back. (1)
- Due to the opening of the pelvic outlet and thus closing of the pelvic inlet, deep squatting may not be recommended for babies with a breech presentation. If the baby is in a less than ideal position, it may close off the top of the pelvis and give baby less room to move around and get into the ideal position. For this reason it is generally not recommended to perform deep squats after 32 weeks unless you know the baby is head down
- Health Considerations
- Pelvic organ prolapse: If you have a diagnosis of a cystocele or rectocele, then a deep squat may not be ideal until the prolapse has been corrected
- Hemorrhoids: Deep squatting may increase the risk of hemorrhoids due to poorly managed intra-abdominal pressure
- Other health concerns as discussed with your healthcare provider
- If you have pain during squats, please reach out! Squats should never be painful and there may be changes we can help you with to make squats pain-free.
Training for Birth: Why Should I do Squats While Pregnant?
“Squat 300 times a day and you will give birth faster” - Ina May Gaskin
We love to train for birth - doing movements that are going to help prepare you for childbirth or help with the postpartum healing processes. Squatting is one of the movements we love! The thing about squatting is that in our Western culture, we have moved away from training our bodies to squat. This is highlighted by Alternative Birth Positions which stated, “Most North American women are not used to squatting, and cannot maintain the position for long.”(6)
While the squatting position can be a great asset during labor (see Part 3- Squatting During Labor: The Research), “squatting, even unsupported can be tiring and may need to be practiced during pregnancy.” (5) The book, Pregnancy Fitness, stated that “If you haven’t been accustomed to squatting and then try to do it in labor, you may not find the success you were hoping for.” The second stage of delivery, when your cervix is fully dilated and you are pushing, can last anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. You wouldn't run a marathon without training, so why not train squats in preparation for birth?
Squats help strengthen the pelvic floor muscles in a way that is functional and natural. The muscles utilized during a squat are the same muscles needed to stabilize the core, low back and pelvic floor. Squats are a great asset to any workout regime because they help strengthen and stabilize the body in a ways that we move everyday!
Added bonus? Just because you are pregnant does not mean you do not have to have pregnancy butt (aka mom butt, pancake butt, flat butt). We believe all butts can be peaches and squats may just help build those peaches.
- Russell, J.G.B., “The rationale of primitive delivery positions”, British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Sept. 1982, Vol. 89, pp. 712-715.
- Di Paolo, Julia, Montpetit-Huynh, Samantha, Vopni, Kimberly, “Pregnancy Fitness”
- Russell, J.G.B., “Moulding of the Pelvic Outlet”, J. Obstet. Gynaec. Brit. Cwlth, Sept. 1969, Vol. 76, pp. 817-820.
- Penny Simkin, Janet Whalley, Ann Keppler, Janelle Durham, April Bolding, Preconception: Improve Your Health and Enhance Fertility
- Vicky Chapman, Cathy Charles, The Midwife's Labour and Birth Handbook
- Reid, Harris., Alternative Birth Positions. CAN. FAM. PHYSICIAN Vol. 34: SEPTEMBER 1988
- Valiani M1, Rezaie M1, Shahshahan Z2. Comparative study on the influence of three delivery positions on pain intensity during the second stage of labor. Iran J Nurs Midwifery Res. 2016 Jul-Aug;21(4):372-8. doi: 10.4103/1735-9066.185578.
- Gupta JK1, Sood A2, Hofmeyr GJ3, Vogel JP4., Position in the second stage of labour for women without epidural anaesthesia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017 May 25;5:CD002006. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD002006.pub4.
- Lawrence A1, Lewis L, Hofmeyr GJ, Styles C., Maternal positions and mobility during first stage labour. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 20;(8):CD003934. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD003934.pub3.
- Nasir A1, Korejo R, Noorani KJ. Child birth in squatting position. J Pak Med Assoc. 2007 Jan;57(1):19-22.
Simply because we were cleared for exercise doesn’t mean our bodies can handle weightlifting or running without creating pain or causing urinary leakage. Just because we were cleared doesn’t mean certain movements will cause or worsen a diastasis recti or abdominal tenting/coning.
I have a little secret to share: all moms should be able to jump on a trampoline. Yep, that’s right…just because you had a baby does NOT mean you can never jump on a trampoline again for fear of peeing your pants.