During pregnancy, your body weathers many changes. Exercise is an effective way to address the changes happening in your body. A stretching workout during pregnancy will not hurt your baby, and it can be an especially good exercise choice because in addition to the physical benefits you reap, stretching relieves tension and reduces stress. Get authorization from your doctor prior to embarking on any prenatal exercise program.
In addition to the stress and tension relief you will get from stretching, there are many physical benefits. Stretching during pregnancy can help relieve pain and soreness in your back and other muscles that are bearing the weight of your new body shape and size. Regular stretching when you are pregnant will improve your flexibility and help you prepare for labor. Finally, exercising during pregnancy can prevent too much weight gain and help you more quickly return to your pre-pregnancy shape.
Whether you choose to make an entire workout of stretching or just use it before and after your prenatal exercise, be aware of and adhere to the guidelines for exercising safely during pregnancy. Do not allow yourself to get overheated when you are exercising. Stay well-hydrated and watch your intensity level to ensure that you and your baby do not get too hot. Avoid stretches that require you to lie flat on your back, especially after your first trimester. As your belly grows, lying on your back can result in pressure on the main vein in your abdomen, cutting off the blood supply to your uterus. Move slowly through your stretches. During pregnancy the changes to your body may cause instability and awkwardness. Use props for balance to handle any clumsiness you may struggle with.
A roll-down stretch is an excellent way to relieve and relax tense back muscles. Standing against a wall for balance, place your feet shoulder-width apart so your thighs will not get in the way of your belly as you roll forward. Keep you knees slightly bent as you inhale, and then exhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine. Drop your chin to your chest, and slowly roll your back off the wall, curving your body forward. Roll down as far as is comfortable for you. Do not put any pressure on your belly. At the lowest point of your stretch, inhale deeply and then exhale as you slowly roll back up to the starting position. Repeat this stretch three to five times.
Lying Thigh Stretch
During pregnancy, your quadriceps, on the front of your thigh, and your hip flexors, on the front of your hip, store a lot of tension from adjusting to the growing size of your belly. Stretch these muscles out while lying on one side. Bend your bottom leg slightly to help you balance, and rest your head on your bottom arm. Lift your top foot behind you by bending your knee. Reach for your foot with your top arm and pull it into your rear end, gently stretching the front of your thigh and your hip. Hold this stretch for 30 seconds. Roll over and repeat the stretch on the other side. Perform a total of three stretches on each side.