You’ve heard that exercising your body during pregnancy promotes a healthy delivery, but you just don’t know where to start. And with the baby bump getting bigger every day, you wonder what kind of exercises are even possible. Here are some relatively easy, but effective, pregnancy stretches to limber up while you wait for baby to come.
The America Pregnancy Association suggests that exercising 30 minutes most days or even every day can benefit your health and the health of your baby. And if you can’t do 30 minutes, 20 minutes three or four days a week will also help. The goal is to stay active, keep your blood flowing, and alleviate common aches and pains during pregnancy. Pregnancy has already caused significant changes in your body, but the good news is that, with stretching exercises, you can stay in good shape and maintain healthy living in preparation for birth. And this is because stretching exercises will, among other things:
The main essence of lower back exercises and other exercises for the back is to help ease the back aches that often come with pregnancy. To do a lower back stretch, start by resting on your hands and knees. Let your head be in line with your back. Then pull in your belly as you slightly round your back. Stay in this position for several seconds and then relax your back and stomach as you keep the back as flat as you can. Ensure that your back does not sag. Gradually repeat the process up to ten times.
Just like the lower back stretch, the backward stretch also helps alleviate backaches. It helps stretch your back, thighs, and pelvis. To do a backward stretch, get on your hands and knees while keeping your arms straight and hands directly under your shoulders. Then shift backward toward your heels as far as is comfortable for your knees so that you are sitting on your feet. Tuck your head gently toward your knees and extend your arms. Remain in this position for several seconds, then return to the position you started in. Repeat this ten times.
It’s normal for a pregnant woman’s body to retain more fluid than usual. This usually results in swelling in the ankles and feet. This is why doctors may recommend staying off your feet, wearing compression stockings, and other advice that could ease the stress on your feet and ankles. Doing ankle rotation exercises will also help you handle the swelling. To do an ankle rotation, begin in a sitting position as you stretch your legs and keep your toes relaxed. Start rotating your feet, making large circles. Your whole foot and ankle should be involved. Rotate to the right four times and then repeat on the left for each ankle.
Leg lifts are a great pregnancy exercise that can help you open up your hips and strengthen your legs. To do leg lifts, start by lying with your left side on the ground. Then inhale and gently raise your right knee as you open your hips. Exhale and start extending your right leg up toward the ceiling. Inhale again and bend your knee. Then exhale and slowly bring your leg down to the ground. Repeat this up to 20 times. Then roll on to the right side and repeat the process with the other leg.
The cat-cow pose is a great yoga exercise for pregnant women experiencing back pain. It can also help move your baby into an optimal position for birth. It will also help you when you go into labor in case you experience “back labor.”
To do the cat-cow pose, start on your hands and knees. Keep your feet flat on the mat and your shoulders straight over your waist while your hips are kept directly over your knees. Then inhale, and drop your stomach, and let your back bend inward. Roll your shoulders back and down as you look forward and slightly up toward the ceiling.
Now inhale and turn over the other way, as you arch your back like a cat. Spend 5 to 10 seconds in each position and repeat the process 10 to 20 times.
Exercise remains one of the best ways to stay happy and healthy during pregnancy. It is time to start practicing these and other stretching exercises as much as your body will allow. However, if you notice any strange reactions or pains, be sure to consult your healthcare provider to recommend the appropriate exercises for you. Also, if you have a high-risk pregnancy, consult your doctor first before doing any exercise.