During pregnancy, your whole body is changing and expanding to accommodate your baby. This tends to stretch out your muscles and tighten them up, leading to overall stiffness. These 5 stretches have really helped me increase my flexibility, loosen my tight muscles and feel better daily during my pregnancy.
During my pregnancy, I have definitely noticed more stiffness in general, but mostly around my stomach due to the round ligaments stretching, so I make it a priority to stretch my midsection before every workout. Not to mention the more flexible I can become before labor, the easier birthing this tiny (but not so tiny) human.
I also do these stretches before my workouts to warm up my body and feel ready to exercise. If you are looking for a good full-body stretch routine to increase flexibility, lessen stiffness, or a way to warm up before your workouts, read on for the best stretches during pregnancy.
#1 Downward Dog
This is always my first go-to move when I start stretching or before exercise. Downward dog helps me stretch my back, hamstrings, calves, and warm up my arms and shoulders. To make this more of a dynamic stretch, I alternate pumping my legs which helps wake up the hamstrings without creating too much elongation and potentially hurting those muscles prior to a workout.
I will hold this position for about 15-20 seconds and then pump my legs for 30 seconds.
This stretch is great for abdominals, hips, and stretching out the chest. Between sitting in a chair for work and sleeping in a scrunched-up ball, these muscles tend to tighten up for me very quickly. For a workout, cat-cow wakes up the abdominals, stretches them out, and gets your body loose for a workout.
I do about 10 cat cows or I continue until I feel everything loosened up.
#3 Pelvic Clocks
Another great stretch for the hips is pelvic clocks. If you suffer from anterior pelvic tilt because of your growing baby and tight hip muscles, this is a great exercise to help with that. Anterior pelvic tilt is when your pelvis rotates forward causing your spine to curve. If your hip flexors are tight from sitting too much or not stretching them adequately, your hip extensors will compensate and make your hips look like they are tipping forward.
This can also cause your baby to sit more on your bladder and make you feel like you have to pee all the time. I perform 10-15 pelvic clocks to make sure my hips are being stretched properly for my workout. This is also a quick exercise you can do anywhere when standing. I’ll do these when brushing my teeth, cooking, or standing at my desk during the day
#4 Body Wipers
I totally made this name up but I think it’s pretty fitting. This stretch targets your obliques and warms up the thoracic spine really well. As you progress in your pregnancy your abdominal muscles will stretch and get tight so it’s very important to stretch them out and make sure they are being taken care of.
This stretch is also just a great full-body stretch since it elongates your spine, stretching your legs and waking up your torso. No matter if you are doing an upper body or lower body workout this stretch will wake your body up and get you ready for anything. I do 10 body wipers on each side.
#5 Pigeon Pose
Last but not least is the pigeon pose. This stretch is also great for waking up the whole body. It mostly stretches the hip flexors and the thoracic spine. I like to alternate folding forward to reach the floor and bringing my upper body up and stretching my abdominals. You can also add in a body twist towards the leg on the floor in front of you to hit the obliques as well.
I start with my right leg forward and alternate between lying forward and stretching upwards 10 times and end with a twist for about 15 seconds. Then I switch with my left leg forward and repeat.
Best Pregnancy Stretches
And there you have it! After completing these 5 stretches I feel less tense, more mobile, and ready for my workouts. These stretches are great after a stressful day to wind down and release your muscles or just prepare your body for the big finale of giving birth. I hope these stretches helped you, let me know if they did in the comments below. Do you have other stretches that you love as well? Let me know!