Pregnancy Back Stretches

Simple stretches to take care of your back in pregnancy

Low back and hip stretch

Take a wide stance with feet turned out.
Lean forward and put hands on knees to help aupport body weight. Keep arms straight.
Lengthen spine as if to sit down, taking weight on hands. Feel the stretch in the low back.
Hold position for as long as comfortable.
This stretch helps relieve pressure in lower spine and pelvic joints.
Maintaining same position, straighten one leg, keeping other knee bent; this will rotate low back and hips, stretching one side of the back.
Repeat on opposite side.

Hip Lunge

Step forward with one foot.
Bend front knee until it is at 90 degrees.
Keep back leg straight.
Keep torso upright and sink body weight downwards.
Do not bend forward.
Stretches hips, pelvic joints, knees, calves and ankles.
Repeat on opposite side.
For a stronger stretch put front foot up on a chair.
Hold onto something for balance if necessary.

Twisting Stretch

Sit crosslegged on a cushion.
Reach across and put hand on opposite knee.
Place other hand behind back as far as it will go.
Twist your body in the direction the front arm is going.
Brace with your hand against your knee to increase twist.
Turn your head to look over your shoulder. ie: if reaching across to hold right knee, look over right shoulder.
Repeat on opposite side.

Fitball sitting position

Low back, pelvis and hip stretch.
Comfortable sitting position – air cushioning reduces pressure on tailbone and low back.
Stretches hip and pelvic joints.
Strengthens spine core support muscles.
Rock side to side and rotate to stretch pelvic and hip joints.
Fitball comes in several different sizes.

Tips for Safe Stretching

  • Regular stretching helps keep muscles and joints flexible and reduces the risk of muscle strains and joint sprains.
  • Stretching the pelvic joints during pregnancy can make the birthing process easier.
  • Stretches can be repeated two or three times daily, or whenever you feel stiff and sore.
  • Stretch to your comfortable limit and do not strain. With more repetitions you will usually be able to stretch further. Your aim is to gradually increase pain-free movement.
  • Start with 3 repetitions and add one more repetition daily until you are doing each stretch six times, or more if you want to.
  • In general, when you exhale you can stretch further. Each time you exhale you can go deeper into the stretch. Hold each stretch for 5-10 seconds.
  • Using heat (hot pack, hot shower) is generally helpful before stretching.
  • Avoid a full squat in 3rd trimester unless baby’s head is down, as this position encourages the baby to move lower into the pelvis.

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