Once you’re in the last month of pregnancy, you might be longing to do some physical activities instead of staying at home all day. After all, if you don’t move your body, your muscles won’t be used and this could result in a difficult labor. If you know squat about squats, let’s find out – how do you do them, what benefits you can look forward to, the frequency and the risks.
Benefits of squats to induce labor in the last month of pregnancy
1. Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles
Squats will train your pelvic floor muscles – the muscles that form the base of the abdomen, and is like a supportive sling in the lower pelvis. If your pelvic floor muscles are strong, they can contract and relax easily. Strong pelvic floor muscles usually lead to a smooth delivery and also might mean that there is no need for an episiotomy.
2. Strengthens your body
Labor is a test of physical strength. This is especially so if it’s a first-time pregnancy. In order to be able to withstand the physically arduous process of labor and delivery, you need a strong lower body, which you can get through doing squats!
3. Widens the hip/pelvis
When you do squats, the muscles in your pelvis become stronger and your hips widen. This will allow your baby to pass through the pelvis more easily during labor, not to mention help engage your baby’s head in preparation for labor and help labor to progress.
How should I do squats and how frequently should I do them?
Lift your hands up and put them behind your head, or place them on your hips. However, you might lose your balance, especially since your belly has become much bigger, so you might want to grasp chair or desk around you.
- Spread your legs out until they are as wide apart as your shoulders, straighten your back and slowly squat down.
- Try not to tense your muscles and stand up slowly.
Squats are a good form of exercise, and they can be done anywhere! You might want to start off slowly, then increase the number of squats you do slowly. A set of about 10 done twice a day would be a good workout. Try not to do any more than 5 sets a day as that could tire you out.
What should I note when doing squats to induce labor?
Before you embark on any exercise regime, talk to your practitioner about what you intend to do and check if it’s alright for you to go ahead with your plans. This is because you have to take into consideration the condition of the uterus, the position of the placenta, and your physical condition – and who knows you better than your practitioner? It’s alright to err on the side of caution, so refrain from relying on your judgment. If you don’t feel well suddenly while doing squats, stop immediately and continue to monitor your own condition after that as well.
Will my waters break if I do squats?
There is a risk of your waters breaking when you do squats in Month 9 of pregnancy. As squats have the effect of widening your hips when you do them in the last month of pregnancy, this might also cause your cervix to dilate. It’s best not to overdo things and also inform your practitioner about your plans to try out squats. Be careful and monitor your own condition every day before deciding whether it’s wise to go ahead with the workout.
Getting yourself geared up for the labor and delivery
Squatting is one of the exercises you can do to improve your chances at a relatively easier labor. Besides squatting, you can try walking or other maternity exercises but one of the most convenient exercises that don’t take up too much time or can be done anywhere is squats. Since you can do them anywhere, take some time to do some squats when you can!