Squatting during labor and delivery may help open your pelvis, assisting in baby’s descent. This is why squats are an important exercise to practice during pregnancy.

Try these five different squat variations throughout your pregnancy. If you have knee, hip, or low back pain during these movements, stop and talk to a doctor, physical therapist, or personal trainer. They can help ensure that you’re OK to perform the movement and that you are performing it correctly.

During pregnancy, it’s best to avoid excessive bouncing, jumping, or high-impact activity. Unless you were training at a high level prior to pregnancy, heavy resistance training isn’t recommended because of the risk of injury.

The hormone relaxin can cause your ligaments and joints to become increasingly loose during pregnancy. Although you may feel more flexible, it’s best to avoid overstretching. It can lead to injury. Your center of gravity also changes as your belly gets bigger. Always perform movements slowly and in a controlled way, to avoid falling.

Stop exercising and check with your doctor if you experience any of the following:

  • dizziness
  • pain
  • vaginal bleeding
  • shortness of breath
  • racing heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • vaginal fluid leaking
  • uterine contractions
  • muscle cramps

Childbirth is often an intense and physically demanding event. Much like any other athletic endeavor, proper training and preparation is important. Exercise during pregnancy has been shown to have many positive effects. It’s generally considered safe if you’re working at the same intensity (or below) as your prepregnancy activity level.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, exercise during pregnancy can help:

  • reduce backaches
  • reduce constipation
  • reduce swelling
  • prevent or manage gestational diabetes
  • increase energy
  • improve mood
  • improve posture
  • improve sleep
  • promote muscle tone, strength, and endurance

Exercising throughout pregnancy may also make it easier to get back in shape after your baby is born.

There may be mental health benefits, too. A 2014 qualitative research study investigated the impact of exercise on pregnancy outcomes among pregnant women who performed regular resistance workouts. They identified several benefits, including:

  • positive impact on body and mind
  • increased self-confidence
  • increased sense of control
  • immediate positive feedback and effect on lifestyle
  • increased quality of life

    During pregnancy, squats are an excellent resistance exercise to maintain strength and range of motion in the hips, glutes, core, and pelvic floor muscles. When performed correctly, squats can help improve posture, and they have the potential to assist with the birthing process.

    Squats don’t need to be performed with weight in order to be beneficial. If you have a healthy pregnancy, you can do them throughout. Always check with your doctor before performing any new exercise routine during pregnancy.

    Original post courtesy of healthline.com