Stretches for Pregnant Women
During pregnancy your joints and ligaments are soft, making them prone to injury. You can help strengthen the muscles around these weak areas with gentle stretches every day.
- Lift your arms up over your head and stretch.
- Bend at the waist and rotate in big circles.
- Drop your chin to your chest and roll your head around in a big circle to stretch out the lower neck.
- Shrug your shoulders up, back, and down, making circles will stretch out shoulder muscles.
- Point your foot and then rotate your foot at the ankle 10 times (repeat with other foot). Point your foot and then pull it back up toward your knee 10 times (repeat with other foot). If you feel a muscle spasm starting, stop this exercise.
- Clasp your hands behind your back. Lift your arms up as high as you can. Hold a few seconds and then relax.
The benefits of stretching during pregnancy, makes you more flexible, prevents your muscles from tightening, and helps you feel looser and more relaxed. The following stretch broken down is from the stretch suggestions above an can be used after a workout or as a way to cool down or when you need to relax. Be sure to breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.
- While seated or standing, rotate your shoulders backward and down in the largest circle you can make. This opens the chest, counteracting the rounded shoulders so many pregnant women get.
- Standing in a doorway, place both hands at shoulder height on either side of the doorway, elbows bent. Step your right foot forward until you feel a slight stretch in the chest muscles (being careful not to stretch too much). Hold for 30 seconds.
- Switch feet, stepping your left foot forward. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Stand with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart a comfortable distance from the wall, knees slightly bent. Inhale. Then as you exhale, draw in your abdominals, moving your chin toward your chest as you roll your torso down one vertebra at a time. “Roll” as far down as you’re comfortable going. Keep your weight centered between your feet.
- Inhale at the bottom of the roll-down, and as you exhale, roll back up, trying to “print” each vertebra on the wall. As you return to an upright position, make sure your head is the last part of your body to uncurl. Repeat.
Note: As your pregnancy progresses, you can modify this pose by doing it seated in a chair with your feet wide apart to make room for your belly. Sitting right on the edge of the chair, inhale, then exhale as you move your chin toward your chest and roll your body forward and down. Your hands can hang between your legs. Inhale, and then exhale as you roll all the way up.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart for stability, knees slightly bent.
- Extend both your arms toward your left side at shoulder height while looking over your right shoulder. Hold the stretch and breathe into it.
- Moving slowly, reverse the motion, switching your arms to the right while looking over your left shoulder. Repeat.