One of my favorite things about being a LYMBR therapist is learning all the ways to help my body during my pregnancy! I have 3 favorite stretches that I do daily to help with the aches and pains that I get from my pregnancy. However due to a hormone that is released during pregnancy called relaxin you have to be very careful not to over-stretch yourself when doing self stretches. The relaxin hormone is produced to allow your skin and muscles to stretch during pregnancy to prepare your body for the growth of the baby.
I love to stretch my gastrocnemius muscles (calves) out due to getting pregnancy cramps (especially at night). This is also helpful because your calves tend to counteract the weight gain from the belly region during pregnancy. The calf muscles for me personally are normally one of my tighter muscles, so during pregnancy I do my diligence to take care and make sure to stretch them every day for at least 5 minutes.
The second stretch that I love to do is for my quads. My quads, just like my calves, are regularly very tight, so during pregnancy they do feel a lot tighter than average. The quads due to the belly growing during pregnancy are already getting slightly stretched so you want to be careful not to over-stretch yourself. I stretch this region of my thigh for about 5 minutes a day as well.
Lastly, the third stretch that I find crucial for aches and pains during pregnancy is a stretch we do for back rotation during pregnancy called “open book”. This stretch helps with my lower back pain and can even help with some pain between my shoulder blades with the different variations that can be done. The “open book” stretch is a great way to open up the chest area to help with posture to help to relieve the pain between the shoulder blades. I do this stretch for about 5-10 reps with each different variation.
Let us know if there are other stretches you would like to learn about to ease the aches and pains of pregnancy. We’re here to help you take good care of yourself!
Written by Elizabeth Rivera, Darien Stretch Therapist and Expectant Mom.