Stretching has been such a major feel good factor in my #pregnancyjourney. Besides the first trimester where I was barely able to do anything other than Netflix & Chill, I’ve committed to my stretching routine almost every day. And let me tell you, it helped me so much not only with my lower back pain but also with getting to know my body better as well as ease some of the pre-birth anxiety.
I must admit that I was a little bit confused at the beginning whether stretching was safe for me during pregnancy. Some medical experts or fitness professionals tell you to stay away from it. As your body prepares for birth, it releases the hormone relaxin. Thus, you are easily prone to overstretching.
I nevertheless decided to stick to what felt right to me and I recommend you do the same. If pregnancy taught me one thing, then it is body awareness and listening to my intuition instead of what everyone around me is saying. Everyone’s pregnancy is different with a unique set of needs. So, my advice is: listen to what feels right to you and always be super gentle with your body, no matter in what kind of physical activity you engage.
If you experience lower back and hip pain during pregnancy and feel like stretching is something you would like to try, then I recommend to incorporate the following stretches into your routine. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds (roughly 5 deep breaths). You can do them back to back or add a mobility exercise like windshields, cat-cow-pose or any other movement that feels good to you in between:
Dog Stretch with Fitness Ball
- Start on your knees with your hands and arms on the ball. Widen your knees just enough to leave room for your belly.
- Slowly roll the ball forward until you feel a nice stretch in your upper back.
Low Runner’s Lunge
- Come onto your knees. Put one foot in front and make sure your knee is aligned with your ankle. Tilt your pelvis a little bit forward so that your lower back is straight.
- You can rest your hands on your front knee or on the floor. For me it’s most comfortable inside of my leg.
- You should feel a nice stretch in your back leg’s psoas muscle which runs from the hip down to your knee.
Backward Low Runner’s Lunge
- From the low runner’s lunge move your hips backward and straighten your front leg so that you feel a nice stretch in your calve and harmstring.
- BONUS TIP: You can either keep your foot flat on the ground or pull your toes towards you. I always love to switch between both to see what my body needs this day.
Thread the needle with a fitness ball
- Sit comfortably against the fitness ball. Put both feet on the ground with your knees bend.
- Take one leg and put it over the other with your ankle resting on the knee.
- You can vary the intensity by keeping the foot on the floor closer or moving it further away from your body.
- BONUS TIP: You can also do this stretch on your back if you are still in your first trimester or are still comfortable lying on your back.
- Start on your back with your feet flat on the floor and closer to your hips.
- Gently lift your hips into the air.
- Clasp your hands underneath your back and bring your shoulders together. This is also a great chest opener.
- Be very mindful not to overstretch.
- After 5 breaths slowly release back down one vertebrea at the time.
- BONUS TIP: You can also do this stretch with your upper body resting on the fitness ball. Just make sure you are stable enough to not lose your balance.
Lying Quad Stretching
- Lie on one side with your lower leg slightly bend or straight. Whatever feels more comfortable for you.
- Bend your upper leg and grap your ankle while pushing your hip forward.
- Start in a standing position with feet either hip or shoulder width apart (depending on your hip flexiblity). It also always helps me to turn my feet a little bit outward to get more stability.
- Slowly sit down until your booty hovers a few inches above the ground.
- Put your hands into prayer in front of your chest, further opening your legs with your elbows.
I always feel so much better in my body after doing these stretches. You can also light a nice candle or play some soothing music to turn it into your unique feel good time.