Stretching has many benefits for pregnant women.
It can soothe aches and pains, help you to stay fit, relaxed and ready for labor. Before you take on any kind of exercise regime, it is best to check with your doctor. Although these stretches are gentle, some pregnancy complications might make it dangerous to exercise.
Once you've got the OK, try these simple postures to help release tension throughout your body.
These two gentle stretches strengthen your lower back, reduce hip and lower back pain and helps ease round ligament pain. They can also increase spine mobility.
- Position yourself on all fours, with the tops of your feet on the mat.
- Hands should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Exhale and arch your back, look towards your belly.
- Inhale, drop your belly and look up.
- Let your shoulders roll back and your tailbone lift.
A great resting pose to gently stretch your hips, pelvis and thighs. Lower back and spine also benefit from the stretch.
- Start on all fours with knees under hips
- Touch your big toes together
- Exhale and let your bum drop down to your heels
- Rest your belly between your legs
- Rest your forehead on the mat
- Hold for 5 breaths
Another great pose for hips, this one also strengthens your lower back, abs and glutes.
- Lie flat on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor.
- Inhale and slowly lift your hips and back off the floor
- Hold for a few breaths
- Exhale and gently lower your spine to the ground
- Repeat 10 times
Bound Ankle Pose
A very soothing hip opener that stabilizes your pelvis and stretches your inner thighs, back and neck.
- Sit on your mat and bring the soles of your feet together
- Holding onto your big toes, draw your feet towards your pelvis
- Inhale and sit up tall
- Exhale and lean forward with a straight back, pressing your knees to the ground
- Release your chin to your chest
- Hold for 3-5 slow breaths
Excellent stretch for tight hip flexors (these muscles run along the front of your hips).
- Begin kneeling on your mat
- Step one foot forward so the front knee makes a 90-degree angle
- Exhale and slowly lean forward
- Hold a wall or chair in front of you for balance, if needed
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side
An excellent stretch for tight thighs that also releases tension in the low back, legs and assists with more fluid movements.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than hips-distance
- Lean forward with a flat back and lower your hands to the floor
- If you can't touch the floor, place your hands on shins or thighs
- Hold for 30 second
- To deepen stretch, walk your hands over to one side, then the other
- Slowly return to standing
Seated Half Pigeon
Another good hip opener that has similar benefits to Bound Ankle Pose. It is also excellent for low back or sciatic pain. The pose can help to loosen small muscles deep in your glutes that can spasm during pregnancy.
- Sit on the edge of a chair with feet flat on the ground
- Cross one foot over the other knee to make a '4'
- Exhale and slowly lean forward with a flat back
- Hold the position for 30 seconds
- Repeat with the other leg