Prenatal Yoga Back Stretches
During pregnancy, lower-back aches, pains and tension are common. In order to make room for the growing baby, the pelvis is often tilted back, out of its neutral position, and the muscles and tissue of the lower back become compressed.
Stretches that help tilt the pelvis and lengthen the lower back can relieve pressure in this area, as well as help to prepare the mother for childbirth.
Cat pose is a yoga stretch that helps release pressure in the lower back by lengthening the tailbone and tucking the pelvis under. To perform cat pose, come onto an exercise mat on your hands and knees. As you exhale, press your hands, shins and toes into the ground and tuck your head and hips under, lengthening the lower back. Inhale to release.
Repeat 10 to 12 times. This can also be performed standing, holding onto the back of a chair, if you are unable to come down to the ground. Simply rest your hands on the chair back and scoop your tailbone under as you tuck your chin and exhale.
A supported squat can help lengthen the lower back and release tension by dropping the tailbone, which often scoops up and shortens the muscles in the lower back during pregnancy. Hold onto a ledge, countertop or tabletop. Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart and your toes turned out slightly.
Slowly lower toward the ground into a low squat. If you can, lower until the pelvis is below the height of the knees. Hold for 10 to 12 breaths. This will help the tailbone drop and release tension in the lower back.
Supine or Standing Pelvic Tilt
The pelvic tilt can help stretch the lower back and relieve tension. The pelvic tilt lengthens the lower back muscles and tilts the pelvis back to a more neutral position. To perform a pelvic tilt, lie flat on your back on an exercise mat. Bring the soles of your feet on to the mat with your knees hip-width apart.
As you exhale, press your lower back into the mat by slightly tucking your tailbone. Inhale to release. Repeat this 10 to 12 times. You can also do this standing against a wall for a modification. Stand with your back against a wall and your feet hip-width apart. As you exhale, lengthen your tailbone to press your lower back into the wall. Inhale to release. Repeat this version 10 to 12 times.
Child’s pose is a yoga stretch that lengthens the back while stretching into the hips to relieve pressure in the lower back and pelvis. To perform child’s pose, sit in a kneeling position, with your knees wide and your big toes touching.
Slowly fold down between your legs. You can rest your forehead or forearms onto the ground, while your hips staying pressing back into your heels. This lengthens the lower back and releases the pressure caused by the pelvis tilting back. Hold for three to five minutes.
For every stretch or exercise, consult with your doctor before performing. If you have any limitations, such as not being able to lie flat or come onto hands and knees, use a modification for the exercise.