Pregnancy. It can be beautiful, spiritual, perspective-opening, and also very uncomfortable. There’s the new center of gravity, added weight and the minor fact that there is another person growing inside your body. Casual, casual, casual. In case you’re feeling tight and uncomfortable in your changing body, we checked in with Rachel Nicks, founding MIRROR trainer, doula, lactation counselor, and Founder of Birth Queen, (oh, and member of our Perelel Panel) to learn the eight best prenatal stretches. Try these at home to loosen, strengthen and help you reconnect with your body.
8 Stretches for Pregnancy
1. Cow Pose
This is a wonderful chest and heart opener and also a great way to relieve some low back pressure during pregnancy.
Proper Form: Focus on spreading your collar bones and sit bones while sliding shoulder blades together. Inhale as you gaze up.
2. Tricep Stretch
This is a great stretch to release tension through your tricep, shoulder, and chest. Chest and shoulder openers are really important for pregnant and postpartum mamas because motherhood pulls our shoulders forward, so we must be mindful about opening our hearts and allowing tension to exit the body in those areas.
Proper Form: Be sure to engage your transverse abdominals and pelvic floor as you do it so you don’t arch your back.
This mermaid with a side bend benefits the whole body. You will feel tremendous opening in your hips, side body and shoulders.
Proper Form: Be sure to do it on both sides and while you side bend try to reach your arm behind your head.
4. Figure 4
Hips are a vulnerable part of the body that tend to hold a lot of tension. It’s important to release that tension and maintain flexibility to be ready for birth. We want to set ourselves up for success when we labor. Maintaining loose hips feels great and will help you get your little human into this world.
Proper Form: Make sure your back is straight as you lift your chest and press your hands down behind you. Flex your top foot and make sure your ankle is across your thigh. Roll your shoulders back and down. Keep in mind that the closer your bottom foot is to your body the more intense the stretch will be.
5. Kneeling Chest Opener
This stretch opens up the chest and also tackles a common pregnancy complaint, calf cramps.
Proper Form: Flexed feet are important to stretch your feet and calves that tend to be tight during pregnancy. Anytime you have a calf cramp flex your feet!
6. Downward Dog with Hip Opener
This is a great stretch to open up the hips and chest and take the pressure of the baby off of your back. I also find downdog to be energizing as it feeds the mind with blood and oxygen.
Proper Form: Keep your spine straight, your shoulders square, and your grounded leg straight. Stack your hips and bend the top leg while you flex your top foot.
7. Half Straddle with Side Bend
This stretch opens the hips and lengthens the side of the body. It may come in handy during the third trimester particularly as it might start to feel like there is no more room for the baby.
Proper Form: Keep your gaze upward to elongate your neck.
This stretch energizes the body, relieves tension, and opens the hips.
Proper Form: Make sure the soles of your feet touch as you lengthen your spine and look up to open the front of your body. Round your spine to open the back body. Energetically press your knees down toward the ground. Keep in mind that the closer your feet are to your hips, the more intense the stretch will be.
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How are you finding movement during your pregnancy? We’d love to hear from you. Complete your workout and feel good from the inside out with prenatal vitamins targeted for your exact trimester and stage of motherhood.
Written by Jessica Lopez. Jessica Lopez is a freelance writer, digital content creator, and new mother. She has covered all lifestyle topics ranging from bridal to beauty for publications including Brides Magazine, Byrdie, THE/THIRTY, and more. Walking wide-eyed into motherhood has inspired her to connect with other parents through her writing and shared experience. You can follow more of her journey @Jessica.H.Lopez.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and we recommend that you always consult with your healthcare provider. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of Perelel.