Stretches for pregnancy

With all the growth and changes a woman’s body undergoes while pregnant, the muscles and joints could use a little TLC. A lot is happening at a rapid rate to a woman during pregnancy, and this new chapter can come with decreased mobility due to a growing belly, tightness of the muscles and sometimes minor pain in different parts of the body. It is important to tend to the body lovingly during this time, and practicing gentle and safe stretching can be a part of that for a lot of people. Here are some of the best stretches for pregnancy to find some space and relief in and body. 

Upward reach and side bend 

Start in a standing position, feet firmly rooted and hips width apart. On an inhale, reach up toward the ceiling. Take a few breaths to stay here and breathe, stretching through the side body, then grab your left wrist with your right hand and bend over to the right, stretching out your left side. Breathe here for a few moments, then switch sides. 

Cactus arm chest opener

Come back through center and cactus your arms open, bringing your elbows out to the side at shoulder height, hands up toward the ceiling, pressing the shoulder blades together behind you as you open up through the chest. Keep your hips level above your legs and bend back slightly into a gentle backbend, opening up the heart further. Hold and breathe for a moment. 

Shoulder stretch 

From a standing position, cross your right arm across your body at shoulder height. Grab your right arm at the bicep with your left, encouraging the stretch deeper. Hold on the right for 20 seconds before switching sides. 

Cat cow 

Come to your hands and knees on the mat. Stack your wrists underneath your shoulders, knees underneath your hips and as you inhale, press the mat away as you drop your belly slightly and gaze toward the ceiling. On an exhale, arch the spine, creating a c curve and gazing toward your navel. Continue moving like this as you link your movement to your breath. Stay mindful and present of the sensations in your body, stopping or slowing if it feels at all uncomfortable. 

Wide knee child’s pose 

Separate your knees mat width apart, and sit back toward your heels as you extend your arms forward on your mat and sink your chest toward the earth. Plant your forehead on the mat and breathe here into the hips. Utilize any blocks or blankets under the seat or knees if that helps. Hold for a few moments or however long feels good in your body. Breathe deeply and mindfully. 

Head rolls 

From a seat, begin to slowly drop one ear to your shoulder, then bring the chin into the chest, then roll the head back and in the same circle slowly and mindfully, stretching out the neck and releasing tension from the head. Breathe deeply and repeat this pattern for a few moment before switching directions. 

Bottom of feet stretch 

Tuck your toes under on the mat and sit back on your heels. Shit your weight back and forth to find a spot that provides a good stretch for the bottom of your feet. Hold and breathe for up to a minute or two. Gentle release the toes tap the tops of the feet on the mat when you are finished to release.

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