Dr. Monica Ngo
Pregnancy Series 2: 9 Pregnancy Stretches For The Whole Body
Updated: Nov 23, 2021
Many women experience low back pain at some point during their pregnancy. The hormonal changes that occur can also affect the joints of your body along with the additional weight often leading to aches, pains, or discomfort. These changes can affect other areas of the body including: pelvis, upper to mid back, hands, wrist and feet. There are a number of simple stretches that can be easily performed at home which can help provide relief from these painful or uncomfortable conditions.
To help alleviate the pain and discomfort, including Chiropractors as part of your prenatal care can be beneficial. Chiropractors can provide a safe, effective, and drug free conservative care to help relieve pain by decreasing the pressure on the joints, muscle and nerves of the body.
LOW BACK PAIN
KNEES TO CHEST
Note: Stretches or exercises performed while laying on your back should be limited after the 4th month of pregnancy. Instead, modify the movements by performing them while lying on your side or while standing.
Try this stretch to relieve tightness and tension in your lower back.
Pull knee to chest until a comfortable stretch is felt in the hip and lower back.
Hold 15 seconds
Repeat with opposite leg
Repeat 5-10 times each leg
You should feel the stretch in your low back and buttocks
If you have tight quadriceps, this can affect the tilt of your pelvis and therefore your lower back.
Stand next to a chair, bed or table
Keep your thighs together and your knee pointing towards the ground
Pull your abdominal muscles in and maintain a straight back
Grab your left foot and with your left hand and pull toward your seat
Try to keep your chest upright
Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on opposite leg.
In preparation for birth, ligaments in your pelvis soften during pregnancy, allowing for more movement in the pelvic joint, and potentially causing pain and discomfort. Pelvic tilts can help to strengthen the core muscles and help improve pelvic stability.
While sitting, standing, lying on your back or on all fours, use your abdominal muscles to slowly bring the pubic bone forward while tucking in buttocks in a "scooping" type motion.
Then rock pelvis in the opposite direction to create an arch in the low back, working within the range of motion that comfortable and pain-free for you.
Do 1-3 sets of 3-10 repetitions each
THORACIC SPINE PAIN
This stretch increases flexibility and mobility in the spine, while strengthening the back muscles, helping to prevent further aches and pains.
On all fours, let head relax down and maintain an abdominal brace as you raise your spine up between the shoulder blades.
Let the spine relax slowly down through the shoulder blades
Do 1-3 sets of 3-10 repetitions each
DOORWAY PECTORAL STRETCH
When the muscles of the chest are tight, they can cause the muscles of the upper back to overcompensate. Release chest tension with this stretch.
Stand just in front of an open doorway and place one hand on each wall at shoulder height.
Slowly lean chest forward into the doorway, keeping your upper body tall. You should be able to feel a stretch in the front of the chest.
Hold up to 60 seconds
WRIST & HAND PAIN
While standing or seated have your arm place directly in front of you, similar to a "stop" with your palms facing upwards and fingers in an upright position
Create a comfortable stretch in the forearms by slowly bending your fingers back.
Hold for 30 seconds
The stretch is similar to the above, but the palms face downwards.
While standing or seated have your arm place directly in front of you, similar to a "stop" . Place hands palms down with fingers pointed straight back towards your legs
Create a comfortable stretch in the forearm and wrist by slowly bending your hands and fingers towards your body while keeping the palms flat.
Hold for 30 seconds.
ROLLING A BALL UNDER YOUR FOOT
Weight gained during pregnancy can cause your feet to pronate, meaning that your arch flattens out when you take a step. This can put strain on the plantar fascia which is the ligament running across the bottom of your foot, causing pain.
Massage the bottoms of your feet by rolling them over a firm ball, taking care not to press too hard on the injured area.
It is also useful to ice the area. To do this, try rolling the foot over a frozen water bottle.
Tight muscles in your calves can also aggravate the plantar fascia, so stretches targeting the calves can help alleviate symptoms.
While standing bend your right leg and place your hands against the wall
With your other leg back and heel down, move your hips forward until you feel a stretch in your calves.
Switch legs and repeat
Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds and do one or two repetitions two to three times a day
Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns in regards to exercise during pregnancy.