Exercise Tip: Reduce Pregnancy Back Pain with the Cat Stretch

by Pregnancy.org Staff

fuzzy kitten
Who'd have thought that stretching like your favorite fuzzy friend makes your back feel better?

That beautiful belly is doing more than just holding your baby! As your uterus stretches, abdominal muscles weaken, starting a chain reaction of kinked and sore muscles, especially in your lower back.

The cat stretch is going to make you feel better and here's why. You'll be gently strengthening your abs, pelvic and lower back muscles. The hands-and-knees pose will take pressure off your lower back and bladder (and we all know pregnant moms need less pressure on the bladder). This stretch might even help you birth quicker and easier when the time comes.

Here's What You'll Need and How to Do It

on hands and knees1. Prepare: Get out your exercise mat unless you have a soft, fluffy carpet. Snag your headband, water bottle, even a crunchy apple just in case.

2. Get in position on your hands and knees.

3. Line up right: Make sure your shoulders are above your hands and hips are above your knees. If your wrists hurt, you can do this stretch on knuckles and knees instead.

on hands and knees4. Make a "U": Take a deep, cleansing breath. As you let it out, face ahead, relax your lower back and allow your pelvis to move forward toward the floor. Your back will resemble a mellow letter "U". Only move as much as is comfortable. Hold a few seconds and release. Do you feel your mid-back relaxing?

on hands and knees5. Arch Up: Breath in. As you breathe out, gently pull your tummy toward your baby and press your back toward the ceiling. Let your head drop so you're looking at the floor or mat. Now your back looks like a surprised kitten's. Hold a few seconds.

6. That's one! We recommend repeating this stretch six to ten times.

Big tip: Starting your day with this stretch and using it before you go to sleep can remove kinks and relieve tension. If that doesn't work, you can always bat your eyelashes and purr to your partner, "Please rub my back."

check markBefore starting a fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don't know what kind of shape you're in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!

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