Have your client stand straight and keep her feet as wide as her hips. She can grasp your forearms securely as shown in the picture, or she can hold onto the back of a chair if she is more comfortable that way. She will then slowly squat down, as far as she feels comfortable going. If she can’t go down very far that’s okay, some women have trouble doing this when they aren’t pregnant! It will be even more difficult once she enters the second trimester.
Make sure that she presses her heels into the floor while performing this squat. While squatting, she should keep the shoulders, back and abs controlled in such a way the pressure can be felt at these points.
She should hold the squat at the bottom for a few seconds before slowly rising back up to a neutral position.
Have her do two sets of 15 repetitions each.
NOTE: Remember that her center of gravity has shifted and she may lose her balance easily. Make sure you have a secure grip if you are holding her arms, and if she is using a chair for support you should be standing nearby, ready to assist if she looks unsteady.
This exercise strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor and helps decrease lower back and pelvic pain. A strong Gluteus Maximus also helps to stabilize her pelvis by supporting her sacroiliac joint. This prevents pain which is often caused by ligaments loosening due to pregnancy hormones relaxin and progesterone.
Squats can help her specifically prepare for labor and birth. The exercise mirrors the natural and instinctive positions that can help her cope with contractions in early and late labor, as well as helping the baby to descend deeper down into the pelvis.
Doing this exercise frequently also serves to strengthen the leg muscles during pregnancy which gives her more endurance in her birthing positions, ones that will allow gravity to assist making the pelvic opening wider, giving the baby a bit more room to push through!