9 Relaxing Pregnancy Stretches for Women

Doing regular exercise is essential for a healthy life.1 Stretching is a great exercise that can help you with body strains, especially if you are pregnant. With stretching during pregnancy, you can feel better and more relaxed. In addition, you can do stretching anywhere you want.

It does not matter if you are 12 weeks or 12 days from your due date; your pregnancy brings a lot of pain to your body. So, the best way to alleviate pain and prepare properly for the due date is by doing pregnancy stretches.

During pregnancy, it becomes very hard to deal with the altered center of gravity due to your growing bump and breasts. You will need to counteract all the pregnancy aches and pains to stay strong and carry a new life in your womb. This article will show some of the best pregnancy stretches you can do anywhere you want.

How Safe Is Pregnancy Stretches?

Pregnancy stretches typically don’t hurt your baby. However, it is always better to take advice from your doctor before starting any new exercise routine, especially when pregnant.

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Relaxin2, a pregnancy hormone, does a great job of loosening your ligaments and preparing your body for childbirth. The relaxin hormone also makes it easy for pregnant women to stretch during pregnancy. It makes the body relax. But if you are worried about pregnancy stretches3, you must remember that your body is different these days. So, you will have to be very sure about your stretches. As long as you don’t overdo any stretches, it will be fine for you.

Once you get the pass from your doctor, grab your yoga mat and one of your favorite maternity leggings, and roll through some of Relin’s go-to pregnancy stretches. It will give you immediate relief and long-lasting results.

What Are the Benefits of Pregnancy Stretches?

Stretching regularly during pregnancy can make you feel better and happier; above all, it will make you feel healthier. Pregnancy stretches, especially in the last few weeks of the due date, can help you stay relaxed and comfortable while your body changes.

Some poses can help you to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts. It includes common hip pain and backaches. With the help of stretching, you will feel more flexible, and it will help your muscles get toned and relaxed. Daily stretching during pregnancy can help you recover the organ tone and placement after birth.

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It also helps prevent muscle tension and prolapse of the pelvic organs. Pregnant women indulge in daily stretching and other physical activities and have less pain during labor4. It gives them a high chance for a natural delivery. Apart from these benefits, there are some other advantages that regular stretches give you during pregnancy.

  • prevents depression

  • prevents muscle tension

  • eases the ligament pain

  • decreases fatigue

  • improves digestion

  • reduces insomnia

  • better circulation

  • decreases pelvic cramps

Some Precautions During Stretches

Before starting your stretches, you should always consult your care provider. Maybe your doctor has some restrictions for you regarding the exercise program. You can have some restrictions if you are at risk of preterm labor, placenta previa, or high blood pressure.

Even if you are permitted an exercise program, you must keep some things in check.

1. Over Stretch

It would help if you always stopped or modified a stretch when you are uncomfortable or have pain. You should never force yourself for a stretch. Always listen to your body and do what makes you feel comfortable.

2. Move Swiftly

Due to pregnancy, you gain weight, and so your center of gravity changes drastically. Now, since your center of gravity has been changed, the joints and the ligaments are more relaxed. It will help you more if you are sure about your movements.

Always move slowly and gently to avoid any injury. An injury can be the worst and the last thing you want during pregnancy.

3. Stop Bouncing

Bouncing during pregnancy increase the chances of pulling a muscle cramp. So it would help if you always hold your stretches during exercise.

4. Avoid Exercising in Humid Climate

You should always avoid pregnancy stretches during high heat and humid weather. Pregnancy always comes with increased blood flow and higher metabolic rates. It will make you overheated.

4. Try Proper Forms

Doing exercises in proper form can take you out of any cramps and injuries. So, try to do proper forms of stretching exercises.

Stretches To Avoid During Pregnancy

You can always go for the normal exercise for the first trimester. But once you cross the first trimester, you must adjust your stretching to avoid injuries. Since, at this time, you will become more prone to injuries.

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What stretches should you avoid during your second and third trimesters?

  • You should avoid stretching that asks you to lie back for more than a minute. Instead, you can put a pillow under the tailbone. This position can reduce blood flow to your uterus and cause low blood pressure and lightheadedness. It will help in preventing injuries from happening.

  • It would help if you always avoided the exercises that ask you to lie down on your stomach.

  • Avoid poses that require twisting since they can exert more pressure on your growing belly and limit the blood flow to your uterus.

  • Since your uterus grows, the abdominal muscles begin to separate and weaken. So, in this condition, avoid any boat pose and crunch-type poses that exert more pressure on your abdominal muscles.

During your pregnancy, you should always stretch with ultimate caution. Stretches are good for pregnant women, but they can cause a risk of falling on your belly. To avoid injuries, you can modify the positions and do them against a wall. Since your center of gravity has changed, it will be difficult to balance the poses. In this case, you will have to avoid balancing for poses.

Pregnancy Stretches For Healthy Pregnancy

Stretches have always proved to be beneficial for humans. Stretching your body during pregnancy can give you greater benefits. Not to mention the ease of pain of carrying the fetus in the womb.

Let us see some of the stretching exercises that you can do while you are pregnant.

1. Standing Shoulder Opener

The hamstrings, lower back, and the front of the chest are the main targeted areas in this stretching.

This exercise is loved by many pregnant women since it works with the hamstrings and gives a great stretch to the upper body, and releases the ligaments5. To do this exercise, you need to follow some steps.

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Find a chair with its back about your shoulder height or slightly lower.

  • You have to stand about arm’s length with some extra space.

  • Now hold the back of the chair and then slightly bend forward while your arms are outstretched with your legs straight, hinging at the hips. Make sure to place your feet slightly wider.

  • Lower yourself till you feel a stretch at the back of your legs and in front of your shoulders. Then, it would help if you lowered yourself to a perfect 90-degree angle. If you cannot stretch to a 90-degree angle, lower as much as possible.

  • Now, the last step is the recovery stage. You will have to hold the position for about 10 to 20 seconds. After that, bend your knees, release your hands from the chair, and slowly roll your vertebra simultaneously.

2. Calf Stretch

The weight of your belly will increase as your pregnancy progresses. With this, the joints in your body may go under change which can lead to tightness in your feet and calves. You will need to release the tightness to move freely with your baby’s weight.

  • To do this exercise, you will have to stand in front of a wall and hold your hands on the wall for balance.

  • Now place your toes on one of your feet to the wall. Start with the left foot. Remember, your heel must anchor down the ground.

  • You must keep your legs straight and lean forward until you feel a gentle stretch in your lower calf.

  • Hold the position for 10 -20 seconds, then repeat for the opposite leg.

3. Standing Quad Stretch

The targeted muscles in this stretch are the quads and the hip flexors6. This exercise is best for women who go up and down the stairs more often.

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  • Hold yourself to a wall or a chair. Now bend one knee by moving your foot back towards your seat. Start with the left leg.

  • Once you push your leg backward, grab the lifted foot with your left hand, and pull it towards your midline. Make sure to keep your spine forthright.

  • You must keep your knees together for this exercise and pull your leg up through your pelvis. Repeat the same for the opposite knee while keeping the posture the same for at least 20 seconds. 

4. Backward Stretch Or Child’s Pose

This yoga-inspired pregnancy stretcher mainly targets the back and gives relief against back pain. The child’s pose can be a great meditative pregnancy stretch for you before bed.

  • You must lean forward with your knees hip-width apart, and your feet are touching behind you. When you exhale, you must fold forward and then hinging your hips.

  • Lighten your spine, draw the ribs away from your tailbone, and then stretch the crown of your head away from your shoulder.

  • Now when your belly is between your legs, you will have to extend your arms forward on the ground. Make sure to place your face towards the ground. However, if you feel this position is tough, you can place a small pillow or a yoga block underneath your forehead.

  • You have to stay in this position for at least 30 seconds.

5. Cat Or Cow Position

If you are familiar with yoga before pregnancy, you must know this stretching. It is one of the most recommended back stretches while a woman is in pregnancy. It is very easy and does a good job for pregnancy sciatic pain.

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  • To do this exercise, you must position yourself with your hands and knees with arms shoulder-width apart.

  • You will have to lift your tailbone when inhaling, with your back dropping. Raise your head forward slightly upwards.

  • It is the cow position; you will have to hold it for about 10 seconds.

  • Now, you must arch your back up while exhaling to perform the cat position. Make sure to tuck your butt under and move your chin towards your chest. Hold this cat position for another 10-15 seconds.

  • You must perform this stretch for at least 10 reps for each position; however, if you are not comfortable with multiple reps, you can lower the number of reps.

6. Side-Lying Leg Lifts

If you are pregnant, you will have to loosen your hips and legs. Since you carry a weight on your belly, your hip muscles get blocked and cause trouble for you to perform any moves. So, this exercise is a great choice to lose your hip and thigh muscles.

  • You will have to lie on the ground on your left side.

  • Now, lift your right knee upwards while inhaling, opening your hip.

  • After this, extend your right leg straight up to the sky. Make sure you exhale while lifting your leg.

  • Hold the position for at least 5-10 seconds.

  • You will have to inhale and bend your knee in the recovery stage.

  • Again, you will have to exhale and lower your leg back.

  • Repeat this position at least 20 times.

7. Seated Twist

You should avoid exercise that involves excessive twisting. But again, you should do some stretching for your spine, which does not involve excessive twisting. Seated twisting is the best for releasing tension along your spine since it works with minimum twists.

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  • The starting position for this exercise is your spine straight and legs crossed.

  • Now, you must bring your right hand behind you and your left hand to the other knee. While inhaling, you will have to lengthen your spine.

  • After this, while exhaling, twist your body very gently towards your right hand. Try to look at the wall behind you. Hold this position for at least 5-10 seconds. But again, do not twist forcefully. Do till you are in a comfortable position.

  • Now, for the recovery position, you will inhale and return to the center. You should repeat the same stretch to the other side of your body. You must repeat this stretch at least two to three times on both sides.

Since twisting is risky, you should gently begin this exercise in a seated position, and the twist should be open, away from the midline. It would be best if you do not overexert.

8. Seated Single Leg Hamstring and Inner Thigh Stretch

These pregnancy-safe stretches mainly target your hamstrings, lower back, and adductors. The single-leg hamstring stretch can relieve the pain and stretch the adductors or the inner thighs, which get extra tight since the pelvis shifts during pregnancy.

  • To perform this stretch, you will have to sit with one leg extended straight at a 45-degree angle. You can even place a pillow below your bent knee to feel comfortable.

  • Now, while facing the extended leg, you will have to inhale and lift the torso up and bend forward by folding your left leg while exhaling.

  • To intensify the stretch, you can flex your toes and keep your spine straight and aligned to avoid injuries to the neck and shoulders.

  • Stay in this position for at least 30 seconds. Keep your arms outstretched, and make sure to take deep breaths between repetitions.

  • Now for the recovery position, turn in an inwards direction towards the space between your legs. In this stage, you will have to inhale while straightening your torso.

  • After this, you will have to exhale while folding forward between your legs. Keep your forearms on the floor; while performing this, you can feel a gentle press in the inner thigh and core muscles.

  • Keep this posture for at least 30 seconds, then repeat the same on the other side.

9. Neck Tilts

This is another simple and quick pregnancy exercise that can ease your neck pain. To perform this exercise, you will need to ensure a few things.

  • You have to face forwards and then drop your neck to the left side towards your shoulder blades.

  • Retreat to the initial position only after you have performed the previous posture for at least 20 seconds. 

  • It would be best if you do not pull your head with your hand since it can exert too much stress on your neck.

  • Repeat this stretch for at least 3-5 reps on each side.

Some Pregnancy Stretches that Can Be Done on Bed

If you are advised to bed rest, you can do the pregnancy exercises on the mat. Instead, you will have to adopt the exercise which can be done on the bed itself to deal with your pregnancy aches and pains.

Let us see some exercises that can be done in bed without too much pressure.

1. Kegels

Kegel’s stretches can be done in bed and are recommended by most physical therapists.

  • To do this exercise, you will have to tighten the muscles around your vagina, as if you are stopping the flow of pee.

  • Try to tighten your muscles for at least 10 seconds. In between this, you have to take slow breaths, release muscle tension, and then repeat again.

  • Make sure you relax between each contraction and get the benefits out of the exercise.

Kegels is one of the best bed stretches that pregnant women can have. The sooner you start with Kegels, the better benefits you will get.

2. Lying Down Side Lean

After having a pregnancy, your side can make you feel uncomfortable. So you will have to make sure you stretch your sides. However, this exercise can be difficult if you have a bigger bump.

  • You have to lie on your bed with your face up. Slowly lean to the other side, and try to touch the middle of your leg with one hand.

  • It would be best to hold this position for at least 10 seconds. Now slowly lean towards the other side of your body, and hold the middle of your leg for another 10 seconds.

This exercise can also be done while standing. But if you are asked for bed rest, you can do this while lying on the bed.

3. Bridge

Like the other side exercise, this can also be hard if you have a big bump. However, if you feel comfortable, you can alleviate extra pressure from your back.

  • You have to start this exercise by lying down on your back. Keep your feet flat on the ground while your knees are bent.

  • After this, you must contact the glutes and slowly raise your butt off the ground with your shoulder blades lying on the bed.

  • If you have a balance problem, you can place your palms down on the bed to one of your sides. You have to hold this position for at least 10 seconds, relax for a while, and then repeat again.

Bottom-Line

Sciatica affects more than 80% of pregnant women during their pregnancy. So, to withstand the sciatic pain in the sciatic nerve during your pregnancy, you can do some of the top sciatica stretches. You can opt for the seated piriformis stretch7, hamstring, and front-bend chair stretch.

Pregnancy stretches always proved to make pregnancy and labor a little more comfortable. It also eases your aches and pains. So you should soon start stretching during pregnancy after consulting with your doctor. Do not start stretching on your own without consulting with your doctor.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What Stretches Are Safe for Pregnant Ladies to Perform?

Pelvic tilts, calf stretches, hip openers, and shoulder rolls are all safe stretching exercises for expectant mothers. These stretches can increase flexibility and lessen pregnant pain.

2. How Frequently Should I Exercise when Pregnant?

Stretching is generally safe during pregnancy, but it’s crucial to pay attention to your body and avoid overdoing it. every day, you should stretch for at least 10 to 15 minutes, but remember to take breaks and rest when necessary.

3. Is There Any Exercise I Shouldn’t Do While Pregnant?

Yes, there are some stretches that you should avoid performing while pregnant, particularly those that require lying on your back or applying pressure to your abdomen. It’s also crucial to stay away from any stretches that are painful or uncomfortable.

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