Pregnant women get recommendations from their obstetricians and gynecologists that it is important to stretch an exercise during their pregnancy. Exercises and stretches continue to help improve overall health as well as increase strength, and endurance during labor and delivery. Women who have stretched and exercise throughout their pregnancy also are better able to ensure the rigors of early motherhood.
Stretching enhances flexibility and prevents muscles from tightening. Although the body continues to secrete relaxin, a hormone responsible for the relaxation of tendons and ligaments as the body prepares for delivery, it does not provide adequate stretching of muscles. Stretching also helps the body and muscles to handle the new postural changes the body experiences as the baby continues to grow.
Stretching also helps with coordination, increased rates of motion and prevents injuries in women who continue to exercise. During pregnancy the body is climbing a mountain every single day as it works to develop a brand-new human being. Just the act of climbing stairs is enough to cause an injury if the woman is not used to exercise and has not remained flexible.
Stretching also helps women to focus on their body and stay in touch with how it is moving and feeling. This greater awareness allows for adjustments as the pregnancy progresses and also improves their perception of labor and delivery. However, before starting any new exercise program or stretching a woman should consult with their obstetricians in order to ensure that she is not otherwise negatively impacting another underlying medical condition.
Stretches can help a woman to cool down after a workout or just help to relax when she’s feeling stressed. Stretching during pregnancy should also be used only when the woman is taking deep and regular breaths in order to regulate the stretching that is occurring.
Although other forms of exercise may require special kinds of equipment or clothing, stretching can be done anytime throughout the day and in the privacy of your own home. Stretching can be done at home, at work or any time you feel stiff and achy, which includes during shopping excursions or at the grocery store.
Just like when you were not pregnant it is important to stretch after doing cardiovascular exercises. This is because the muscles are sufficiently warmed up in order to stretched to their capacity. Focus on the muscles that were used specifically during your exercise routine. For instance, if you were taking a long look then it is important to stretch the major muscles of the legs which include the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and hips.
One of the biggest complaints that would pregnant women have is of back pain. 80% of women who become pregnant will experience some type of back pain at some point during their pregnancy. The severity will range between a mild discomfort to debilitating pain that interferes with daily life. In most cases it is a result of changes that are happening within the body. However, it can be a sign of a more serious condition and may be a sign of labor. Any time a woman experiences back pain that has not been experienced before she should contact her obstetrician.
During stretching the stretches should be held for 20 to 30 seconds and repeated three separate times. Women should never bounce in order to stretch their muscles because they are increasing tears in the muscle and decreasing the benefit to themselves as well as increasing the risk of injury.
You can incorporate your stretches throughout the day to help with lower back pain, aching legs and stress. If your job includes you sitting down all day at a desk set an alarm to get up each hour, stretch to get out the kinks and move around to get the blood moving. Some very effective stretches can be done while standing next to the desk and holding your chair.
Neck stretches can be done sitting down, back straight and arms relaxed. Gently bend your chin toward your chest, roll it to the right and then the left. Avoid going backwards. Your calves can be stretched in the seated position also. Sit up straight with one leg out in front of you. Using a towel or resistance band around the bottom of the foot gently pull the toes toward your chin.
Stretching your back will be more difficult at the office but if you can find a quiet spot where you can get to your hands and knees for a short time you’ll be in good shape. On your hands and knees with abdominal muscles tight move the hips back toward the feet while keeping hands in the original position, resting the belly between the thighs. This effectively stretches the lower back muscles that can tighten sitting in a chair with poor posture for any length of time, especially as your abdomen begins to grow.