I will be the first to admit that I have neglected the stretching portion of my workouts many many times in my lifetime of being an athlete. I have always been built better for strength rather than flexibility. You'd think this would encourage me to improve my flexibility but evidently not. However, when it comes to pregnancy I have learned the hard way how essential stretching is for your changing body. Especially when it comes to the lower back and hips.
When I was pregnant with my son I had horrible sciatic pain. This is characterized by pain radiating along the sciatic nerve, which runs down one or both legs from the lower back. I was still working out regularly but once I entered into the third trimester I was becoming limited by the sciatic pain. I finally realized I needed to first, be taking time to stretch every day and second, find a chiropractor that is Webster-certified for adjusting pregnant women.
By stretching each day it helped me realign and strengthen muscles to ease the stress and strain on my joints. I will warn you though, while pregnant, you need to be cautious of a hormone released by the placenta called relaxin. This hormone relaxes the connections between the bones and can weaken ligaments that support your joints. So it is important to be careful not to over stretch. I'll show you my favorite stretches during pregnancy below.
Once I incorporated consistent stretching and did find my fabulous chiropractor, Dr. Jenny Dubisar, DC, I was able to overcome the sciatic pain and felt better than ever. As I mentioned previously, when choosing a chiropractor during pregnancy it is important to find one that is Webster Technique certified. This time around I have been getting adjusted monthly from the get-go. Now that I am further along in pregnancy and getting close to delivery I am going every one to two weeks to ensure my pelvis is in alignment and that baby can get into the very best position for her exit.
Pregnancy is tough enough as it is with the frequent heartburn, swollen ankles, cramps, squashed bladder and shortness of breath. So give yourself a leg up by staying limber with daily stretching and schedule those chiropractor appointments to remain aligned.
Practice the stretches below. Hold the pose for approximately 16 seconds, exhale as you enter into the stretch. Continue to breath throughout.
These are just a few of my favorites. If you have any questions on how to perform these stretches or need help finding other stretches for problem areas please contact me.
Stay limber, stay aligned, stay healthy!