Back, Hip, and Leg Pregnancy Stretches

05 May, 2020
Pregnancy stretches help prevent and relieve back and hip pain. In addition, they can help prevent cramping and heavy legs.

During pregnancy, due to the changes the pregnant woman’s body undergoes, back, hip, and leg pain is common. In this regard, pregnancy stretches can help relieve and prevent pain.

In this article, we’re going to suggest some of them.

Pregnancy stretches

Stretching during pregnancy can help relieve and prevent back, hip, and leg pain. However, these stretches have many more benefits; they can help pregnant women stay fit and relaxed and even prepare them for childbirth.

In any case, it’s a stage during which the pregnant woman must take limitations and conditions into account. In this regard, pregnant women shouldn’t overdo it with these stretches. Also, they should avoid positions that press down on her belly.

Moreover, although experts recommend exercise during pregnancy, it’s always best to consult your doctor. In addition, please note that they aren’t recommended in the following cases:

  • High-risk pregnancy
  • Threatened miscarriage
  • Low-lying placenta and other conditions

The benefits of pregnancy stretches

The main benefit of stretching during pregnancy is that it improves muscle flexibility. In fact, good muscle flexibility can be beneficial during childbirth.

However, besides this, experts also highly recommend stretching exercises for poor posture. In this sense, they help promote good posture and relieve or prevent pain.

These problems are magnified during pregnancy. As the center of gravity shifts, the back supports higher loads. This is the reason behind the pains that typically affect pregnant women. Thus, stretching during pregnancy can help relieve these discomforts. In addition, they help maintain a better sense of balance.

Finally, if done well, meaning controlling your breathing and breathing deeply and slowly, stretching promotes general relaxation, which benefits both mother and baby.

The cat stretch

A woman doing the cat stretch.
Pregnancy stretch #1: The cat stretch

This pregnancy stretch will help relieve and prevent back and sciatica pain.

  • Firstly, position yourself on all fours, with your hands on the ground at shoulder height
  • Then, slowly arch your back up
  • After that, arch your back down with slow, conscious movements
  • Finally, repeat five times

We recommend you to read: 5 Back Stretches to Naturally Relieve Back Pain

Pelvic tilt: the bridge

The bridge pregnancy stretch.
Pregnancy stretch #2: Bridge

This exercise will help relieve back and hip problems.

  • Firstly, lay down on your back
  • Then, bend your knees, leaving the soles of your feet on the ground
  • After that, push your hips up so that your lumbar and pelvic area rise
  • Remember that all movements should be relaxed, conscious, and slow
  • Then, hold the position for a few seconds
  • Repeat 10 times

Tiptoe

A person tiptoeing.
Pregnancy stretch #3: Tiptoe

This exercise will help prevent problems such as cramps or leg pain.

  • Firstly, stand up
  • Then, slowly press up on your tiptoes and inhale air
  • After that, while exhaling, slowly descend until your heels are completely on the floor
  • Finally, repeat at least five times

We recommend you to read: Six Natural Remedies for Inflamed Legs

Femoral stretch

A person exercising with bands.
Pregnancy stretch #4: Femoral stretch
  • Firstly, lie down on a solid surface
  • Then, take an exercise band and put it on one of your feet
  • With the help of the band, elevate your leg as high as you can – make sure you don’t feel discomfort or pressure on your belly
  • Hold the position for a few seconds while breathing properly
  • After that, repeat with the other leg

Body bend

A woman stretching.
Pregnancy stretch #5: Body bend
  • Firstly, sit with your feet crossed, butterfly style
  • Then, stretch one of your legs
  • After that, bend your body toward the stretched leg
  • Remember that the movements should always be slow, gentle, and conscious and that you must control your breathing at all times
  • Finally, repeat with the other leg

Back stretch

A woman stretching her back.
Pregnancy stretch #6: Back stretch
  • Firstly, sit on your heels with your back straight
  • Then, interlock the fingers of your hands and slowly lift them up
  • Press up so that your back stretches as much as possible
  • In addition, always control your breathing
  • On the other hand, if you want, you can also slightly tilt your trunk from one side to another

Precautions

We want to conclude this article with a small list of precautions to consider:

  • Consult your doctor before doing these pregnancy stretches
  • If possible, it’s better to do the stretches accompanied by a coach or trainer
  • Do the stretches once a day – you should make them part of your daily routine
  • Always control your breathing, inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply
  • Wear appropriate sports clothing
  • Hydration is essential during pregnancy, especially before, during, and after exercising
  • Avoid completely solid or soft surfaces- anti-slip mats are best
  • Never press down on your belly
  • If you feel unwell while you’re stretching, stop immediately
  • Combine stretches with low-impact aerobic exercise (walking, swimming, water aerobics, etc.)
  • Danielle Symons Downs et al. “Physical Activity and Pregnancy: Past and Present Evidence and Future Recommendations”, Res Q Exerc Sport. 2012 Dec; 83(4): 485–502. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2012.10599138
  • Logan, Jeongok G. et al. “Effects of Stretching Exercise on Heart Rate Variability During Pregnancy”, The Journal of Cardiovascular NursingMarch/April 2017 – Volume 32 – Issue 2 – p 107–111
  •  Bribiescas, Saleena, “Yoga in pregnancy”, International Journal of Childbirth Education . Jul2013, Vol. 28 Issue 3, p99-102. 4p. 1