A report from Yale University School of Medicine supports that during pregnancy, 50 – 80% of women report incidents of back pain. As I enter into my third trimester of pregnancy, I can certainly attest that this is true. Thanks to that expanding uterus of mine and shift in my center of gravity, my body is a bit out of whack and feeling aches I never felt before.Mentioning this to my trainer, Lena Habash with B-Fit Biscayne we began focusing our sessions on mobility and flexibility. These exercises set out to help me avoid, or at the very least alleviate this type of body distress, as well as prepare me for the ever closer end-game of labor and delivery.Here are Lena’s top seven exercises for mobility and flexibility during pregnancy. Incorporating these into a weekly routine will help encourage agile movement and body flow through that last trimester.
- Hip circles. Sitting upright on a stability ball, plant your feet firmly on the ground, shoulder-width apart. Rotate your hips in a circle, in one direction for 10 – 12 reps, then switch directions. This aims to loosen the hip flexors while keeping your pelvis relaxed.
- Pelvic tilts. In the same seated position on the stability ball, tilt your pelvis forward and back. Try not to let your back engage with the tilt, but rather keep it strong and focus on only moving your pelvis. This will also help keep those muscles loose and flexible.
- Child’s pose with side reach. Starting in a seated position on your knees, spread your knees wide apart, keeping your big toes touching. Stretch your arms out in front of you with your head down. Cross your right arm over your left, reaching to your left side. After three deep breaths, cross your arms back over, reaching to your right side. Try this 3 – 4 times on each side. You should feel a stretch in your back and down your lats. An extra bonus is that this puts baby into a basket position, taking pressure off your back.
- Wall Slides. Stand with your back against a wall, knees with a slight bend and the least amount of back arching you can do. Now raise your arms overhead in a ‘W’ position against the wall, lining your elbows up to your ears. Slide your arms up the wall into a ‘V’ position. Do this for 8 – 10 reps, and remember to keep your body pressed against the wall as much as you can. This exercise encourages shoulder mobility.
- Bird Dog. Starting on all fours, hands directly underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips. Lift opposite arm and leg off the ground, keeping both arm and leg straight. Be mindful of not twisting your body, but rather creating one horizontal line with your arm, torso, and leg. Switch arms and legs for 8 – 10 reps on each side.
- Cat Cow. On your hands and knees, with wrists directly underneath your shoulders and knees hip-width apart, positioned under your hips. In cow pose, drop your belly towards the ground, lifting your chin and chest as much as you can, looking to the sky. Reverse to cat position by envisioning drawing your belly to your spine, and rounding your back toward the ceiling. This is a great spine stretch and helps take the pressure off the baby bump.
- Foam Rolling. Think of a foam roller as your new best friend. Rolling out those hips, hamstrings, and calves can relieve the aches and pains that prevent a good night sleep. Lean back on the roller with one leg crossed over the other, at the ankle. Roll out those tight spots, going from a handful of rolls on the hips, to the hamstrings and then move on to the calves.