Pain In Pregnancy? Try These Stretches!

 
 

Hip Flexor Stretch

Low back pain or hip or groin pain with pregnancy? Try this stretch to decrease tightness of the iliacus and psoas major, collectively known as the iliopsoas. The iliopsoas flexes your hip and can also contribute to anteriorly tilting your pelvis. It’s important for a pregnant woman to stretch these muscles because the iliopsoas is often tight due to the forward shift of the center of mass that causes the pelvis to tilt forward during pregnancy😵. Tightness in the iliopsoas can cause groin pain, low back pain (due to the increased pressure on the spine from the anterior pelvic tilt), or misalignment of the pelvic and sacroiliac joints😡.  

🔹 To begin this stretch, sit your left buttock a stability ball with your left leg in front of you and your right leg behind you. 

🔹 Your left foot should be planted on the ground and your right heel should be off the ground. 

🔹 Make sure your hips are pointed straight forward and your pelvis is tucked under.  You can stabilize yourself by holding on to a stable surface with your left hand. 

🔹 Lunge forward toward your front leg to get a stretch in the right hip flexor. 

🔹🗝 To get a better stretch, you can reach your right arm up straight in the air, then side bend your body to the left. 

🔹 Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two times on each side.

 

Piriformis Stretch

Try this stretch if you’re pregnant and having low back, pelvic, or hip pain. This stretch targets the piriformis muscle. The piriformis originates at the sacrum and inserts at the greater trochanter of the femur. The sciatic nerve passes underneath the piriformis muscle. If the piriformis muscle is tight, it can increase pressure on the sciatic nerve and cause pain in the back, hip, or leg😱. 

🔹 To perform this stretch stand and place one leg on a surface that is about waist height. 

🔹 Make sure your knee is at a 90 degree angle and your hips are pointed straight forward. 

🔹 You can bend forward and slightly angle your upper torso over your knee to get a better stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat two times on each side. 

 

Lumbar Opening Maneuver

If you’re pregnant and having low back or sacroiliac joint pain, this is a great stretch to try to help relieve your pain🙂. This stretch works well because it helps to decrease the tightness of the erector spinae muscles which are often tense in pregnant women due to change in the curvature of the spine and increased weight gain. Since a pregnant women’s center of mass shifts to being in front of the hips, this causes the front of the pelvis to drop lower creating an excessive anterior pelvic tilt. This stretch encourages a posterior tilt of the pelvis which helps to relieve some of the pressure placed on the spine during pregnancy. 

🔹Start with holding on to a stable surface that is about waist height (a kitchen or bathroom sink usually works pretty well). 
🔹Keeping your feet fairly close to the sink, tuck your pelvis under and sit back into your hips. Your arms and legs should be straight and your back should be in a rounded position. 
🔹🗝If you want to target the stretch to feel it more on the left side of the low back, keep your left leg straight, bend your right knee, and look underneath your left armpit. 
🔹You can hold the stretch 20 to 30 seconds and repeat the stretch two times on each side.