The benefits of stretching can be enjoyed throughout your pregnancy. Stretching during pregnancy can help keep you fit and can help relieve many of the aches and pains and other uncomfortable symptoms associated with pregnancy. Here are some of the benefits of stretching that you can enjoy while waiting for your baby to arrive.
Why Stretching during Pregnancy Is Important
Stretching during pregnancy helps protect your freedom of movement and prevent muscle injury; it's important to keep your muscles and joints strong and flexible for a safe labor. Stretching can also relieve many of the common aches and pains associated with pregnancy, like low back pain.
Failing to stretch during pregnancy can reduce your joint range of motion. Not stretching during pregnancy makes your muscles grow short and tight, so that they function less efficiently. Not stretching during pregnancy can lead to spinal misalignment, which can cause mild to severe back pain and can cause specific muscle groups to tighten. Over time, spinal misalignment can distort the shapes of major muscle groups.
Stretching Helps Loosen Stiff and Sore Muscles
Stretching during pregnancy can help relieve muscle stiffness and pain. Stretching can relieve the back pain associated with pregnancy, especially in the lower back. Stretching can also safely relieve muscle pain in other parts of the body, including:
- The neck
- The upper and mid back
- The chest
Stretching during pregnancy helps to bring oxygenated blood into your muscles, to give you more energy and help flush out toxins and lactic acid, so you'll experience less muscle soreness. Stretching during pregnancy, if done properly with deep breathing, also brings more oxygen to your baby to help him grow.
Stretching during Pregnancy Keeps You Relaxed
Stretching during pregnancy also helps keep you loose, calm and relaxed. It keeps you flexible and can have the following benefits to your pregnancy exercise program:
- Stretching before and after exercise prevents injury and sore muscles
- Stretching helps to relieve physical and mental tension
- Stretching regularly helps to lengthen your muscles to permanently enhance your flexibility
- Stretching regularly helps to lubricate your joints so that they move smoothly and without pain
- Stretching regularly gives you a greater freedom of movement
Stretching during Pregnancy Helps You Cope
One of the benefits of stretching during pregnancy is that it helps counterbalance the biochemical effects that pregnancy can have on your body. It can also help you cope with the psychological and emotional stress of pregnancy. A stretching regimen not only helps you prepare for the birth of a new child, but can help you get into the habit of taking time out for yourself to rest and rejuvenate before the demands of parenting become overwhelming, so that once your baby arrives you'll remember that you need to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of him.
Muscle Groups that Should Be Stretched during Pregnancy
You should stretch the following muscle groups during your pregnancy, at least three to five times per week:
- Hip flexors and illiopsoas
- Lower back
- Back of the neck and upper back