Mayo Clinic Health Library

Slide show: Pregnancy stretches

Updated: 12-14-2012

Low back stretches

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing low back stretches

Pregnancy stretches can help you feel your best, especially as your pregnancy progresses.

Exercises for the back, such as this low back stretch, can help ease backaches.

Rest on your hands and knees with your head in line with your back. Pull in your stomach, rounding your back slightly. Hold for several seconds, then relax your stomach and back — keeping your back as flat as possible. Don't let your back sag. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

Backward stretch

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing backward stretch

To stretch your back, pelvis and thighs, try the backward stretch. Start on your hands and knees, keeping your arms straight and your hands directly beneath your shoulders. Curl backward slowly until you're resting on your knees. Tuck your head toward your knees and keep your arms extended. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

Backward stretch with fitness ball

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing backward stretch with fitness ball

You can also do the backward stretch with a fitness ball. Start on your knees with your arms straight and hands on a fitness ball, as shown. Curl backward slowly until you're resting on your knees. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

Standing pelvic tilt

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing standing pelvic tilt

Next try the standing pelvic tilt, which is another way to stretch the muscles in your lower back. Stand up straight with your back against a wall, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Then push the small of your back against the wall. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

Pelvic tilt with fitness ball

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing pelvic tilt with fitness ball

You can also do the pelvic tilt with a fitness ball. Sit on the floor, with your back leaning against a fitness ball, your feet flat on the floor and your arms at your sides. Then push the small of your back upward. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions.

Torso rotation

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing torso rotation

To stretch the muscles in your back and upper torso, try the torso rotation. Sit on the floor with your legs crossed. Hold your right foot with your left hand. Then move your left hand behind you, slowly twist your upper body to the right. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Switch hands and repeat on the other side. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions on both sides.

If you're uncomfortable sitting on the floor, try sitting on a mat or towel.

Torso rotation with fitness ball

Pregnancy stretches — pregnant woman practicing torso rotation with fitness ball

You can also do the torso rotation with a fitness ball. Sit on the floor with your arms and legs stretched in front of you and a fitness ball in your hands. Slowly twist your upper body to the right. Hold for several seconds, then return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side. Gradually work up to 10 repetitions on both sides.

If you're uncomfortable sitting on the floor, try sitting on a mat or towel.

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