Hey Pretty Mama,
If you feel tight in certain areas of your body, chances are, you’ll start to feel tension. Back and neck ache are common during pregnancy, and so is tightness in the hips and pelvis. Below, I’ve listed 5 stretches which are not just safe, but, what I would consider vital to perform to release tension and help with posture.
Just a few points about stretching during pregnancy, before we begin though:
- Don’t bounce, jerk or force a stretch
- Remember to breathe whilst you’re holding a stretch
- Hold a stretch for 10-15 seconds, no longer
- Never over-stretch, just hold the position statically
- Stop if you feel discomfort
Upper back stretch – release tension in the neck and upper back
Bring your arms in front of you with your palms facing your chest. Bend your elbows and drop your head down. Keeping the arms bent, push your arms away from you and feel the stretch in between your shoulder blades and neck.
Chest stretch – to stop you getting hunched/rounded shoulders
This is basically the opposite to the upper back stretch above. So, keeping your elbows bent, take your arms behind you (you don’t need to lace your fingers). Lift your head, so you’re looking directly in front of you, and pull your hands a little further behind you to feel a release in the chest/front of your shoulder.
Hip flexor stretch – to open up the hips
Step down to the floor (use a chair for balance if you need to) and place the heel of your front foot, under the knee eg right angles at the hip/knee/ankle. Place your hands on your thigh and lift up nice and tall. Perform a pelvic tilt by tucking your tailbone under, and feel the stretch in the hip flexor. To change sides, place your hands on the floor, slide your knees close together, and bring the other knee through.
Cat curl stretch – to stretch your lower back
Start on hands and knees and round your back, as though you’re pushing your spine into the ceiling. You can drop your head downwards slightly if you don’t have any blood pressure issues, and walk your hands a little closer to your knees to increase the stretch. Please note – Don’t be tempted to come into what’s called a “Cow stretch”, where you arch your back and lift your head the opposite way to cat curl. I consider this contra-indicated during pregnancy, mainly because your lumbar spine is already in a more prominently arched position as your bump grows, and arching your back further, can cause back pain.
Glute stretch – stretch your glutes/outer thigh
Lie on your side for this stretch. We’ll start by lying on your left side. Straighten your left leg, bend your right leg over in front of your body, rolling your bodyweight forwards slightly, and feel this stretching your buttocks. To move to the other side, bend both legs, come up on your side first, onto hands and knees, then palms under your shoulders, walk down onto the other side of your body and stretch the other side.
And there you have it. My top 5 pregnancy stretches that are safe, effective and really help relieve the common aches and pains you’re more than likely suffering with. Be well. Be fit. Be strong and always confident pretty Mama.