Congratulations on your pregnancy! Now, bring on the back and hip pain. Want to do something about it? Try stretching. For the most part, stretching does not require any equipment or gym membership, so it is an easy way to maintain a fitness regimen during pregnancy. Aside from its accessibility, prenatal stretching offers many benefits. Stretching helps you prepare for labor, eases hip pain, and helps you relax. Pregnancy is a time when your body constantly changes. Because your body is different everyday, so is stretching. During pregnancy, most stretches are still safe as long as they are done correctly and modified. Here are five safe stretches that are safe throughout pregnancy.
For sciatica and back pain, try this pose that stretches the neck and back.
- To begin, start on your hands and knees, place your arms under your your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Make sure your back is straight (like a tabletop) and your spine is in a neutral position.
- Take a big breath, drop your belly, and look up to toward the ceiling.
- Exhale, round your back, and look toward your belly. You should feel the stretch in your back.
- Repeat. Remember to synchronize the movement with your breath.
- Easy does it – be sure to move gently. Be cognizant to not overstretch the belly.
Seated Wide-legged Forward Fold
Stretches the hamstrings. This pose can be done standed or seated. This particular variation is seated. To begin, sit down, spread your legs until you feel a comfortable light stretch. Fold from the hips and keep your torso long as you fold forward. Avoid dropping the head and rounding the spine. That can cause you to overstretch your hamstrings. If you feel tight, ease up, don’t force it. Focus on breathing. If you feel really tight, try bending your knees slightly and placing a rolled up blanket under your knees.
This pose is exactly as it sounds. This stretch helps with pregnancy swelling as it helps drain tension from the legs. To begin, lie on your back with your buttox as close to the wall as you can get. Extend your legs up the wall. This is an easy pose to do in bed before sleep.
Essentially – a squat. Squats – newsflash – they were not invented by cross-fitters. This pose stretches the ankles, groins, hips, and back torso. To begin, squat down and separate your thighs wider than your torso. As you exhale, lean your torso forward between your legs. Press your elbows against your inner knees, bringing your palms together. If your heels cannot stay on the floor, modify. Rest your feet on a folded blanket.
No matter how busy and challenging life can be, child’s pose is always there waiting. Child’s pose signifies rest and grounding. It’s important to take that time for yourself while pregnant (and after baby is here), to take a break for yourself, even if only for a moment. Child’s pose lengthens the spine and releases the hips.
To begin, kneel on the floor. Touch your big toes together and sit on your heels, then separate your knees as wide as your hips. As your belly grows, make sure to widen your legs to fit the belly. With an exhale, lay your torso down between your legs. Rest and breathe.
- The hormone relaxin is present in the body during pregnancy. This hormone helps the body relax the cervix and ligaments during delivery, but it also loosens the pelvis joints and ligaments, which make it easy to overstretch when practicing yoga. Be sure to stretch to a comfortable point, don’t force it.
- Breathe! To maximize the stretching benefits, you must breathe. Breathing helps to relax the body which eases the tension, allowing you to deepen your stretch.
- Move slowly – there’s a baby on board! Also make sure that you don’t bounce into a stretch. Breathe and relax into the stretch.
- Listen to your body. If you experience significant discomfort or pain, stop.
- Some pregnancy complications may make any exercise dangerous. Consult with your doctor before making stretching part of your pregnancy fitness regime.
- Anytime you feel the aches and pains of pregnancy, keep these poses in mind. If you want more, try a local prenatal yoga class. Prenatal yoga is a great way to network and meet other pregnant women. Can’t make it to the class? Try online yoga.