For pregnant soon-to-be mothers, prenatal stretches offer many benefits. It can improve your physical stamina, can help you to stay fit, comfortable, and stress-free.
Before you get started, there are some things that you have to keep in mind. One hormone, called relaxin is present in your body during your pregnancy. When you are pregnant, the levels of relaxin increase. Cervix and ligaments are helped by relaxin to be relaxed during delivery. Another thing about relaxin: it lubricates the joints of the pelvis, making it loose, allowing overstretch in any activities that pregnant women do. Because of this, stretching too much can be dangerous, as it may cause injury.
To help you prevent any problems, try to avoid any deep stretching during pregnancy. While doing prenatal stretches, especially if you are a beginner, you should do it gently and slowly. Before practicing, be sure to get your doctor’s approval. Some pregnancy complications can make a variety of exercises dangerous.
You can try the following simple prenatal stretches to have a relaxing routine to help you get rid of the aches and pains during your pregnancy:
To avoid injury and ensure you’re getting the proper care needed, call upon a chiropractor trained in prenatal chiropractic care. A chiropractor can make sure the ligaments are stretched properly without overstretching.
5 Best Prenatal Stretches
This simple prenatal stretch strengthens your low back. It also reduces low back and hip pain and increase spine flexibility. If the circulation of your spinal fluid increases, it lubricates it for a day. It eliminates the pain and helps ward off new pain. The muscles that work here are spine, arm, back and abdominals.
Place the tops of your feet on the mat, your shoulders directly over your wrists, and hips over your knees. Drop your belly as you inhale, let your back arch but keep your shoulders rolling back and down while looking forward and a little upward.
Press into your hands and round your upper back as you exhale while looking in toward your belly. Like a cat.
Carry on with moving on your arch when you inhale and round when you exhale. Repeat up to 5th time.
2. Seated piriformis stretch
This stretch is beneficial for those with lower back pain, or medically called sciatic pain. The piriformis muscle is a small muscle deep in the buttocks that contracts during pregnancy. It frequently cause back and leg pain because of its connection with the sciatic nerve. To help reduce tightness and pain, a gentle stretching is needed.
Needed equipment: Chair
Muscles at work: Spine, piriformis, glutes
Sit on a chair with the feet fully rested on the ground.
Make a shape of “4” that is one foot over other knee.
Slowly lean forward as you exhale while keeping the back flat, until you feel a stretch in your lower back and buttocks. Imagine that you are elongating your spine. Remember not to curl your shoulders toward your lap. Hold the stance for up to 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
3. Child’s Pose
This stretch is suited for painful hips, thighs and pelvis. You will also stretch the spine, most especially the low back by this.
Muscles at work: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, spinal extensors and rotators.
Bring your knees directly under your hips while touching your big toes. This is to avoid placing a strain on your hips and it gives your stomach a room to slide between your knees. Feel your spine grow longer as you inhale.
And when you exhale, bring your butt to your heels and bringing your head towards the mat while placing your chin to your chest. Bring your forehead on the ground. You can fold a blanket and rest you head on it. Keep your arms stretched out and hold this for at least 5 counts.
One of the benefits of child’s pose is that it can help you be aware that you breathe into your back while you feel it expand. Contemplating on this while you relax in the pose can help you lessen the pain during labor.
One of the benefits of Child’s Pose is that it can help you bring awareness to breathing into your back body as you feel it expand. Concentrating on this as you rest in the pose can benefit you during labor.
4. Bridge Stretch
Bridge provides a gentle stretch for your hip flexors. It can also help strengthen your lower back, abdominals, and glutes. It will help relieve hip and lower back aches.
Bridge is officially considered a back-bend in yoga. You’ll want to avoid “big” back-bends during pregnancy, but this gentle stretch can help with aches and pains and bring about pelvic awareness. This can benefit you during labor.
Equipment needed: yoga block (optional) for restorative or more challenging poses
Muscles worked: gluteus maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, rectus abdominis, hip flexors
Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. They should be approximately hip-width distance apart, but can be more spaced out if it’s comfortable. Keep your arms straight alongside your body and if possible have your legs bent enough that your fingers can graze the backs of your heels.
As you inhale, curl your pelvis until your lower back is gently pressing against the floor, then gently lift your hips and back off the ground, pressing evenly into your feet, keeping a neutral spine.
Hold for a few counts.
As you exhale, gently roll your spine back onto the ground, one vertebra at a time.
As you relax preparing for the next lift, be sure your spine is neutral. Your lower back should be slightly off the ground, respecting the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
Repeat 10 times.
Take it to the next level
To take this hip stretch to the next level, you’ll want to have a yoga block handy. You will be resting your lower back on the block. This will give your hip flexors the opportunity to open up more.
Begin by following steps 1 and 2 in Bridge pose above.
When you get your hips above chest level, slide the yoga block under your sacrum. The block can be on any level/height. The main thing is that you need to feel stable enough to rest your pelvis’s weight on it.
If you had relatively flexible hips before pregnancy, you can lift one foot, point your toes, and tuck them backward onto the floor. The top of your foot will now be aimed toward the ground.
Once in place, relax completely and take 5 slow, deep breaths.
Slowly untuck your toes and switch feet. Repeat on the other side.
5. Bound Angle Pose
This seated pose is a hip opener. It also stabilizes and helps brings awareness to your pelvis. You’ll stretch your inner thighs, back, and neck.
Try it as a supported pose with a yoga or birth ball for you to lean on.
Muscles worked: inner thighs, hips, and back
Sit on your mat and bend your knees, bringing the soles of your feet together in front of you.
Grab hold of your toes and draw your feet gently toward your pelvis.
Inhale and sit up tall on your sitting bones, not your tailbone. You don’t want your pelvis tucked here.
As you exhale, press your knees to the ground. Keeping your spine straight, gently begin to bend at the hips, taking your torso toward the ground.
When you get as far as you can comfortably go, release any tension in your neck by dropping your chin.
Stay here for 3 to 5 slow, even breaths. If possible, gently lean farther forward with each exhale, but be sure not to overstretch.
Why should I seek chiropractic care during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are several physiological and endocrine changes that occur in preparation for creating the environment for the developing baby. Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use tables that adjust for a pregnant woman’s body, and they will use techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen.They can also instruct you on proper form during the prenatal stretches.