Gentle Abdominal Stretching During Pregnancy
Are you tired of feeling that nagging pulling in your stomach in the second trimester of pregnancy? You can feel your stomach stretching, your muscles are tight, and you randomly get this pain if you get up too fast or stretch your legs.
Your whole body changes and expands to accommodate your baby during pregnancy, causing your muscles to stretch and become stiff. But with gentle stretching, you can get rid of that uncomfortable feeling.
These 5 stretches will help you increase flexibility, loosen tight abdominal muscles and feel better daily during pregnancy.
Can I Stretch My Belly During Pregnancy?
Yes, stretching your belly during pregnancy can help alleviate stiffness and prepare your body for birth. Stretching your stomach can feel relaxing and soothe pregnancy muscles when tight.
Abdominal Stretches to Avoid While Pregnant
Stretches to avoid while pregnant include ones that cause sharp shooting pain, abdominal coning, or overextending a stretch to cause strain to the muscle.
During pregnancy, our body releases relaxin, a hormone that relaxes our muscles to prepare for birth. Since our muscles have some extra flexibility, you don’t want to overstretch. However, if you are having stiffness and round ligament pain, stretching will be very beneficial for you.
These five stretches are safe to perform during pregnancy and can be modified to avoid overextending the stretch.
The Best Prenatal Core Stretches
These exercises are great to do right when you wake up for about 5 minutes, any time you’re feeling tightness, or I like to add some of these stretches before my prenatal workouts.
Each stretch is gentle and can be adjusted to your level of flexibility.
- Kneel on your right leg and bend your left leg in front of you at a 90-degree angle.
- Be sure that the front ankle is directly under the knee and the trailing leg is straight out behind you.
- Shift your weight forward until you feel a stretch in your hip. You may use your hands on the ground to steady your body and adjust the intensity of the stretch.
- Gently lower the hips downward & forwards and hold that position for 30 seconds. Relax the stretch for 5 seconds and resume the stretch for another 30 seconds.
- Do this for 2 minutes total and repeat on the other leg.
- Start on your hands & knees in a tabletop position.
- Inhale, curl your toes under, and tilt your pelvic back so your tailbone sticks up. Bring your chest and head up to the ceiling as well.
- Check your stomach to ensure there is no coning and only engage the stretch as much as it feels comfortable. If you have done this stretch prior to pregnancy, you may not be able to stretch as far as you used to, that’s normal.
- Exhale, uncurl your toes, and tip your pelvis forward tucking your tailbone. Bring your navel into your spine and drop your head.
- Repeat for 10 breaths.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Start with your back in its neutral position.
Inhale and bring your hips up, aiming your pelvis toward 6 o’clock. Bring this stretch as far as it feels comfortable.
Exhale and bring your hips down, aiming your pelvis towards 12 o’clock.
Repeat 10-20 times.
Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Lift your feet into the air and bring your legs to the right onto the floor.
Hold the stretch for 15 seconds and switch to the left side.
If you cannot reach the floor, bring your legs as far as you can and prop them up with a yoga block so you can safely stretch.
Repeat 10-20 times.
Start in a tabletop position and bring your right knee towards your right wrist while extending your left leg and pointing your toes. Your chest should be perpendicular to the floor.
If this stretch is too much, lean forward until you’ve reached your level of comfort.
Hold this stretch for one minute and switch legs.
Abdominal Stretches to Soothe Stiff Muscles
After completing these five stretches, you will feel less tense, more mobile, and ready for your workouts. They can also be great after a stressful day to wind down and release your muscles or just prepare your body for the big finale of giving birth.
Enjoy these stretches and use them any time you need to so you can have a pain-free pregnancy.