The Top 10 Pregnancy Stretches for a Healthy and Comfortable Journey

The Top 10 Pregnancy Stretches for a Healthy and Comfortable Journey

Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it often comes with its fair share of discomfort and physical challenges. As your body goes through various changes to accommodate your growing baby, it’s crucial to prioritize self-care and maintain flexibility and strength. One of the best ways to achieve this is through regular stretching exercises tailored to pregnancy.

So what are the benefits of pregnancy Stretching? Here are just a few:

  • Improved circulation
  • Reduced back pain
  • Increased energy levels
  • Better sleep quality
  • Reduced stress levels
  • improved flexibility

Below are 10 stretches that may help you during pregnancy:

  1. Pelvic Tilt

The pelvic tilt is a simple yet effective stretch that can alleviate lower back pain and improve posture during pregnancy. Here’s how to perform it:

  • Stand with your back against a wall, or kneel on all fours on a comfortable surface like a yoga mat.
  • Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, tuck your pelvis under and round your lower back gently.
  • Hold this position for 5-10 seconds, then release.
  • Repeat the stretch 5-10 times, gradually increasing the duration as your pregnancy progresses

2. Pigeon Stretch

  • Start in a kneeling position.
  • Cross one leg underneath you, then lower your hips down to the ground.
  • Your other leg should be stretched out behind you. Place the rolled towel under the hip of the crossed leg.
  • Lean forward onto your forearms.
  • Try to relax and lower your hips closer to the ground.
  • Support some weight on your forearms, if needed.
  • Hold the stretch while breathing smoothly. Repeat the stretch 3- 5 times.

3. Cat-Cow Stretch

The Cat-Cow stretch is a yoga-inspired movement that helps relieve tension in the spine and strengthens the core muscles. It’s particularly beneficial for maintaining flexibility in your back. Here’s how to do it:

  • Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  • Inhale as you arch your back, dropping your belly towards the floor (Cow pose).
  • Exhale as you round your back and tuck your chin to your chest (Cat pose).
  • Flow between these two positions for 5-10 rounds, synchronizing your breath with the movement.

4. Butterfly Stretch

The Butterfly stretch targets the inner thigh muscles and can help alleviate discomfort in the groin and pelvis. Follow these steps to perform it:

  • Sit on the floor with your back straight and your legs extended.
  • Bend your knees and bring the soles of your feet together, allowing your knees to fall out to the sides.
  • Gently press your knees towards the floor, feeling a stretch in your inner thighs.
  • Hold this position for 20-30 seconds, breathing deeply.
  • Repeat the stretch 2-3 times.

5. Seated Forward Bend

The Seated Forward Bend is an excellent stretch for stretching the back, hamstrings, and relieving lower back tension. To do this stretch safely during pregnancy, follow these instructions:

  • Sit on the floor with your legs extended straight in front of you.
  • Inhale deeply, and as you exhale, bend at the hips to reach towards your toes.
  • If you can’t reach your toes, that’s perfectly fine—just go as far as you comfortably can.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds while maintaining relaxed breathing.
  • Repeat 2-3 times, gradually increasing your flexibility.

6. Hip Flexor Stretch

Pregnancy can often lead to tight hip flexors, which can contribute to discomfort and poor posture. The Hip Flexor Stretch can help alleviate this tightness:

  • Kneel on the floor with one knee and bring your opposite foot in front of you, forming a 90-degree angle with your front knee.
  • Gently press your hips forward while keeping your back straight, feeling the stretch in the front of your hip.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then switch to the other side.
  • Repeat 2-3 times on each side.

7 . Wall Angels

Wall Angels are an excellent exercise for maintaining shoulder mobility and posture during pregnancy. Here’s how to do them:

  • Stand with your back against a wall and your feet about 6 inches away from the wall.
  • Place your arms against the wall with your elbows at shoulder height and your palms facing forward.
  • Slowly slide your arms up the wall as high as you can while maintaining contact with the wall.
  • Slide your arms back down to the starting position.
  • Perform 10-15 repetitions.

8. Chest Opener Stretch

The Chest Opener Stretch can help alleviate tension in the chest and upper back, which often occurs as the pregnancy progresses. To perform this stretch:

  • Sit or stand with your back straight.
  • Interlace your fingers behind your back, and gently lift your arms while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds while taking deep breaths.
  • Repeat 2-3 times

9 . Prenatal Yoga Child’s Pose

Child’s Pose is a well-known yoga position that provides a gentle stretch for the back and hips. During pregnancy, consider this modified version:

  • Start in a kneeling position, with your big toes touching and knees apart.
  • Sit back on your heels and extend your arms forward, lowering your chest towards the floor.
  • Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, focusing on your breath.
  • You can use a cushion or yoga block under your forehead for extra comfort.
  1. Ankle Circles

Swollen ankles are a common pregnancy symptom, and ankle circles can help improve circulation and reduce fluid retention:

  • Sit comfortably with your legs extended.
  • Lift one leg off the ground and gently rotate your ankle in a clockwise motion.
  • Perform 10-15 ankle circles in one direction, then switch to counterclockwise circles.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Which stretches should I steer clear of when pregnant?

It’s advisable to avoid any stretches that lead to pain, discomfort, or noticeable pressure on the belly during pregnancy. Additionally, it’s essential not to push a stretch beyond its natural range during this time.

It’s worth noting that there are no universally “forbidden” stretches during pregnancy because the suitability of a stretch can vary from one woman to another, depending on individual flexibility and pre-pregnancy exercise experience.

Maintaining flexibility and strength during pregnancy is essential for your comfort and overall well-being. The top 10 stretches for pregnancy outlined in this guide can help you alleviate common discomforts, improve your posture, and prepare your body for labour and delivery. However, it’s crucial to consult with your healthcare provider or a prenatal fitness specialist before starting any new exercise routine during pregnancy to ensure it’s safe and suitable for your unique needs. Incorporate these stretches into your daily routine, and remember to listen to your body, making modifications as necessary to stay comfortable and healthy throughout your pregnancy journey.

All advice given is general and you should speak with your GP or allied health practitioner whether this stretching is right for you.

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