Undoubtedly, your body will suffer from the effects of pregnancy. Now more than ever, back and sciatica pain are typical occurrences. However, keeping your muscles and joints flexible may reduce discomfort and protect you from harm. Maintaining flexibility via regular stretching is an intelligent and straightforward practice. Plus, stretching your muscles, tendons, and ligaments may alleviate many typical pregnancy aches and pains.
- Promotes healthier blood flow
- Reduces stress and tiredness
- decreases the risk of developing depression
- Assists in digestion
- improves cramping in the pelvis and legs
- Positively affects mood and reduces stress
Stretching when pregnant requires some special considerations. During pregnancy, the placenta generates more hormone relaxin, previously only developed by the ovaries. As its name suggests, one of this hormone’s responsibilities in the last weeks of pregnancy is to help you unwind.
When thinking about why you should be mindful of relaxation, consider the following.
In particular, the effect of relaxin during the latter stages of pregnancy is to loosen the muscles in the pelvis and hips and to make the cervix more comfortable. In addition, this hormone has extra benefits, one of which is that your joints and ligaments are lubricated and flexible due to its effects. As a result, you could have the impression that you can stretch, bend, and reach further than you ever have before, yet your eagerness could end up leading you to get an injury.
Another important piece of advice to follow while stretching when pregnant is to pay attention to your body. You shouldn’t push yourself, you shouldn’t squeeze your tummy, you shouldn’t perform closed twists or tight turns, and you should stop immediately if you feel any discomfort, dizziness, nausea, or pain. Also, before beginning any workout plan, including stretching, you should always see your primary care physician.
Stretching is important for everyone, but it’s especially important for pregnant women to stretch before and after their usual workouts. Make sure you are doing the pregnant version of stretching exercises, like yoga and pilates, that you do throughout your workout. Try not to bounce, and remember to keep breathing while you stretch. If you can stretch in the correct manner, you will feel fantastic. If you stretch incorrectly, however, you run the risk of being unable to participate in any physical activity for the length of your pregnancy. Not pregnant yet? The process of fertility therapy is another time when these stretches might be helpful. The following are some stretching exercises that are recommended for expectant mothers:
Seated Piriformis Stretch
Sciatica is a painful ailment that can frequently be found in pregnant women. Deep in the buttocks lies a piriformis muscle, which produces irritation in the sciatic nerve when it contracts. This stretch helps relieve and prevent sciatic discomfort.
Take a seat, feet flat on the floor. You should prop up your right foot on your left knee. Now, lean as far forward as is comfortable for you, considering how far you are in your pregnancy. Do you feel a tug at your buttocks? Keep that position for a few seconds. Then, replace the right ankle with the left knee and vice versa.
While keeping your hands on the ground, move your right leg up between your palms as you sit back and relax. Now move your left leg behind you while maintaining your foot planted on the ground as you repeat the previous step. Lean forward on your right knee as you continue. If you can, lean into the stretch as far as you can while maintaining your balance. Repeat with other leg.
Place your hands and knees on the ground in front of you. Place your right foot in front of you so that the angle formed by your hip and knee is 90 degrees. Lean backward while placing one hand on your lower back and bringing your torso up from your hips. Hold the position for a full minute once you feel a stretch coming on (but don’t force it!). Do the exercise with the opposing foot in front each time.
Foam rolling for glutes and hamstrings.
Overstretching of the hamstrings and glutes is a common pregnancy complication due to increased relaxin levels and your increased baby weight. Using a foam roller is a great way to alleviate muscular tension and pain.
Put the roller on the ground, then go down, so you’re seated. Support your back with your hands. Take a slant to one side. Spend 30-60 seconds at each sore location, rocking back and forth over the roller. Flip and repeat.
You may notice a persistent aching in your lower back, buttocks, and the backs of your legs as your baby’s “birth” date draws near. Muscles react as your gait (the pregnant “saddle”) is disrupted by the additional weight and the effort to keep your balance. Using the chair stretch may alleviate some of the strain in those regions.
Place yourself so that you are facing the chair. Ensure that your feet are farther apart than hip-width apart. Put your weight onto the chair’s back and lean forward. Don’t lock your elbows, but keep your arms at shoulder height. Maintain a neutral spine and slightly rotate your hips outward from the chair. This motion will help you relax your lower back muscles. Keep that position for thirty seconds.
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