As your body changes throughout pregnancy, your center of balance changes, which means that your muscles are working differently to support your body. Understandably, this can lead to aches and pains. Stretching regularly can not only help your muscles to better support your changing body, but can also help prepare you for labor. Try practicing these stretches regularly throughout your pregnancy.
Yogi Squat (Malasana)
Desi Bartlett, Certified Personal Trainer and Registered Yoga Instructor, says that her favorite move from her DVD, Prenatal Yoga, is the yogi squat or malasana. For this move, Desi says to sit in a deep squat, with your toes slightly turned out and your bottom nearly touching the floor. If your heels are not able to touch the floor while in this position, Desi recommends putting a yoga block or pillow under your bottom for support. This one is especially great to help open your hips and prepare your body for labor and delivery.
Incorporate the Fit Mama Prenatal Workout into your stretching routine.
This stretch is great for relieving tight back muscles which can develop during pregnancy, especially after sitting for an extended period of time. For this stretch, get down on the floor on your hands and knees, letting your spine remain neutral and looking straight ahead. Exhaling, arch your back towards the ceiling, letting your head drop down. Hold for 20 seconds and then release, repeating as necessary.
If your hips are feeling tight or sore, try this hip stretch to open them up. Start in a seated position on the floor, moving your feet to touch so your legs are open like a butterfly. As you breathe, gently focus on trying to bring your knees closer to the floor, opening up your hips.
Start standing comfortably with your feet about shoulder width apart. Extend your left arm up to the sky and bend your torso towards the right, letting your arm curve over your head. When you feel a stretch on your left side, stop and hold. Repeat on the other side. This stretch is great for opening up the side waist and easing any round ligament pain.
With your hands on the back of a chair or wall for support, extend your left leg straight behind you, bending your right knee but being careful not to let your knee bend beyond your toes. Focus on pressing through your heel on the left side until you feel a stretch in your calf. This stretch is great to lengthen tight leg muscles, and can also help relieve leg cramps.
For this stretch, begin standing with your feet shoulder width apart. Extend your arms behind you, clasping your hands together. Let your chest open as you stretch your arms back. This stretch is a great way to get any tension out of your upper body and relax your shoulders and chest.
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