Exercises designed to increase flexibility of the hips and pelvis can prove valuable for pregnant women. Get into shape for labor by incorporating specific hip stretches into your prenatal workout routine. Remember that the hormones released into your body during pregnancy loosen ligaments in your joints naturally. This is intended to aid childbirth, but it also leaves you more prone to injuries. Get your doctor's approval before beginning any new exercise regimen during pregnancy. If you experience any discomfort in your hips, stop exercising. Do not stretch a sore muscle. If there's any pain, talk to your doctor.
Child's pose is a yoga position that helps stretch your groin and widen your pelvis. Kneel on the floor with your legs spread in a wide V. Life your arms over your head and bend forward from your hips, keeping your torso straight. Keep your bottom sitting on your heels. Rest your head on your arms or, if needed, on your propped elbows. Hold this pose for five deep breaths.
Squats help strengthen your thighs and open up your pelvis in preparation for childbirth. Stand facing the back of a chair with your feet slightly wider than hip-distance apart, toes pointing outward. Holding onto the chair for support, slowly lower yourself to the ground as if you were sitting in an invisible chair. Balance your weight on the balls of your heels. Exhale and rise to a standing position.
This pose not only widens your hips, it also helps ease aches in your lower back. Sit with your back against the wall, your knees bent and the soles of your feet touching each other. Use your hands to push your knees down and outward. Be gentle and do not force the movement. Hold this pose for as long as you are comfortable.
Hip Flexor Stretch
The hip flexors are the muscles at the top of your thighs that allow you to lift your knees and bend at the waist. Kneel on your right knee and put your left foot in front of you so your leg forms a right angle. Put your left hand on your left thigh for balance and put your right hand on your right hip. Keeping your back straight, lean forward and shift your body weight to the forward leg. You will feel the stretch in the right thigh. Hold for 30 seconds, then switch legs and repeat.
- BabyCenter: Four Exercises to Ease Aches and Help with Labor
- Pregnancy, Childbirth, and the Newborn; Penny Simkin, P.T., et al.
- MayoClinic.com: Hip Flexor Stretch