Stretchy goodness to relieve aches and pains during pregnancy

Witnessing your body grow the tiniest little human is completely mind blowing. Our bodies are so clever to be able to adapt to such significant changes but alongside those adaptations can come some aches and pains! With some gentle stretchy movements we can relieve areas of tension as much as possible which will keep you feeling more comfortable throughout your pregnancy. This blog post takes you through some of the most common aches and pains that you might experience during pregnancy and provides some guided workouts to help relieve them. The workouts feature some body weight exercises as well as mobility and stretch-focused movements. Any mums-to-be reading this will want to be careful when it comes to the stretch sequences and try to focus on this being about gentle movement and relief rather than improving your flexibility. The hormone relaxin is currently swimming around your body making you feel your bendiest self but it’s really important you don’t over stretch.

Round ligament pain Personally the first thing I noticed in my first trimester was round ligament pain in my tummy as my body started to prepare for a growing bump. It felt a little like period pains but a bit more significant and came back again in my second trimester. The LAST thing I wanted to do was move my body when I felt them but I found doing things like going for a gentle walk and some light stretching helped to ease the discomfort. You’ll find a lovely combination of breath work and hip opening exercises in the video here which has really helped me.

Tight hips The hormone relaxin can also play a part in hip pain / tightness during pregnancy. Relaxed ligaments around the pelvis cause the pelvis to shift and expand and this can put tension on the muscles that work to stabilise the pelvis. I’ve also noticed that sleeping with a pregnancy pillow (which by the way, is my best purchase yet) in between my legs means sometimes I wake up with tight hips because my legs have been snuggled in towards each other all night - a small price to pay for a good night's sleep! Here’s a short video full of wonderful hip opening movements that will help release some tension from that area.

Lower back pain / sciatica The postural changes that come with pregnancy as a result of a shift in weight distribution as your bump grows, alongside relaxin, can mean we can feel some tension in the lower back and sometimes sciatic sensations. Discomfort is common during pregnancy but if you’re feeling a pain that is more significant than that then you might want to get in touch with your GP or midwife. There’s lots we can do to help with lower back pain including strengthening your core (and pelvic floor) as well as gentle mobility movements to release tension in your back, glutes and hamstrings.

Here’s a short workout that includes both strengthening and stretching movements to help relieve some of that tension. Pelvic pain Pelvic pain can be common during pregnancy and you might hear it referred to as PGP (pelvic girdle pain) or SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction). You might notice it more when standing in positions that open up the pelvis (i.e. a wide second position plié) or in single leg movements (like lunges or single leg squats). If possible we still want to encourage some movement when you’re experiencing pelvic pain but you might want to modify that so it’s more focused on creating as much stability as possible in the pelvis - that means limiting the amount of single leg work you’re doing and focusing on narrower positions where your feet are in parallel. All your core strengthening work (including your pelvic floor focus) will be really helpful to help with pelvic pain too as it’ll increase the stability in your pelvis, so make sure you keep doing lots of that! Here’s a short workout which focuses on creating stability in your pelvis and shows you how you can modify some exercises to make them feel better for you if you’re experiencing pelvic pain. Tight neck / shoulders / chest Some upper body areas you might feel tightness in as a result of your changing posture are your neck, shoulders, upper back and your chest. Trying to be aware of your posture, coming back to a neutral head position as well as making sure your shoulders are over your hips will help decrease some of that tension. Including some gentle stretching movements focused on this area will also feel really good and you’ll find some great ones in this video. Adding in some weekly movement to release areas of tension can really help to make sure your pregnancy feels as comfortable as possible. I totally understand that sometimes moving your body will feel like the very last thing you want to do but often you’ll feel so much better afterwards. You can discover the full collection of workouts to support you throughout your pregnancy as part of our Bump & Beyond Movement Series here.

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