Best Pregnancy Stretches
Stretching is great throughout pregnancy to help tight and knotted up muscles. With the changes in body weight and ability to move and even stretch in the same ways as pre-pregnancy, its good to have some ideas of pregnancy friendly stretches that can help loosen up the most common tight spots. Be mindful the hormone relaxin increases during pregnancy which helps prepare the pelvis for delivery, but also can cause loosening in other joints, so make sure not to overstretch. The Relaxin hormone level increases to a considerable level during the first trimester, remaining steady at this level until late pregnancy. It is believed that relaxin increases pelvic laxity. Relaxation of the pelvic ligaments is a physical change required during pregnancy and delivery. 1
All of these stretches can be done throughout pregnancy, with a few slight variations I have noted below.
Ball Chest Stretch-
This version is great especially for 1st and 2nd trimesters. Feel free to use your arms on the ball to help steady yourself as you walk your feet out.
Standing Chest Stretch-
This chest and shoulder stretch can be done all three trimesters. Make sure and hold the stretch for about 30 seconds each side. Make sure not to hunch your shoulders, instead make sure they are relaxed and you will feel a nice stretch in your shoulders and chest.
Standing Hip Stretch-
You can use any height that works for your flexibility, even a counter or chair. Keep in mind, each side may be different with one side more flexible than the other. Make sure your upper body is relaxed and you are not straining to get your leg up.
Kneeling Hip Flexor and Quad Stretch-
After taking a big step forward watch your knee does not overstretch forward beyond your toes. Instead look for a nice 90 degree angle from your front leg positioning. Keep your shoulders back and down. Hands can be on hips or by your side.
Shoulder Blade Stretch-
This is a tough spot to really stretch but this one gets it pretty good. You are kind of in a crab crawl position, pressing up through your heels and hands, pushing your hips up. I’ve found I get a bit better stretch with fingers pointed towards toes but you could try it both ways. Hold in this stretch for as long as you can then repeat.
Ball Hamstring Stretch-
This one is nice and relaxing, just straighten out one side and reach down the side of the leg. Don’t worry how far you get, just reach until you are feeling a nice stretch, nothing straining. Make sure and get both sides.
Ball 2 Arm Stretch-
Have your knees positioned wide on the mat and roll your arms forward to a flat back position and feeling a stretch in your lats.
Ball Diagonal Back Stretch-
This is another way to stretch out the lats and obliques. Many times one side will be tighter than the other so it might be nicer to spend a little more time holding a stretch on the tighter side.
Hope you feel stretched out!!
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