5 Best Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth

birth preparation prenatal yoga
5 Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth

5 Best Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth

If you are pregnant right now, these five stretches to prepare for childbirth are essential. Not only are they going to help to open and stretch your hips, inner thighs and pelvic floor, they are going to help you to feel good and ease aches and pains, no matter what stage of pregnancy you are.

In saying that, if you are suffering from Pelvic Girdle Pain, you may benefit better from my 5 Pelvic Girdle Pain friendly exercises.

Designed for women in their third trimester

These five moves, listed here for you are also in my 5 Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth Exercise Sequence to follow along with. No equipment needed, you don't even have to be in activewear! Simple, easy and effective.

The trick to all of this?

Is actually doing the stretches on a regular basis. Performing 5-10 repetitions (or 30 seconds to a minute hold) of each move will take you less than 5 minutes to perform one set. So, aim to do at least one set daily all the way up until you give birth!

What are these ultimate stretches that are so good in preparing for childbirth I hear you ask?

Let me show you now:

5 Best Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth

1. Adductor Rock Backs Stretch

Adductor rock backs help to open and balance tightness around the hips and inner thighs.

How to perform the move:

  1. Start in a hands-and-knees position on the mat, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Keeping one knee directly under your hip and extending the other leg out long to your side.
  3. Gently sit back towards your heels while keeping your arms extended in front of you.
  4. Feel the stretch along your inner thighs and groin area.
  5. Gentle hold the stretch for briefly and then rock forward again, breathing deeply and allowing
  6. Your muscles to relax. The longer you hold back the more stretch you are providing.
  7. To intensify the stretch, you can gently rock your hips from side to side while maintaining the position

How many repetitions:

Aim to repeat 5 - 10 repetitions each side, remembering to go slow and focus on relaxing your breath.

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2. Puppy Stretch

Puppy Pose is great to create space in the pelvis and to relax the pelvic floor.

How to perform the move:

  1. Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips.
  2. Walk your hands forward a few inches and then lower your chest toward the floor, keeping your hips above your knees.
  3. Extend your arms forward and lower your forehead to the mat, allowing your chest to sink toward the ground.
  4. Keep your hips lifted and engage your core to support your lower back.
  5. Relax your neck and let your forehead rest on the mat. You should feel a gentle stretch in your shoulders, upper back, and chest.
  6. Hold the pose for 30 to 60 seconds, breathing deeply and focusing on relaxing into the stretch.

The Puppy Pose can be a soothing and gentle stretch that complements the other exercises in this sequence.

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3. Hip Flexor and Side Stretch

Why Hip Flexor and Side Stretch is Great for Childbirth Preparation:
This stretch opens the belly, spine and hip flexors so baby can descend into the pelvis.

How to perform the move:

  1. Start in a kneeling position on the mat, with one knee on the ground (left) and the other foot placed in front (right), creating a 90-degree angle with your knee.
  2. Ensure your front knee is directly above your ankle, and your back knee is aligned with your hip.
  3. Engage your core, tuck your tailbone under and gently press your hips forward to feel a stretch in the front of your hip on the side with the extended leg.
  4. Keep your torso upright and avoid arching your lower back excessively.
  5. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, breathing deeply.
  6. You can intensify the stretch by reaching the arm on the side of the extended leg overhead, leaning slightly to the opposite side.
  7. Perform the stretch on both sides to address each hip flexor.

4. Deep Squat

This move helps to open the birth canal lengthen the pelvic floor and perineum.

How to perform the move:

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Lower your body into a squat position by bending your knees and pushing your hips back, as if you were sitting back into a chair.
  3. Keep your chest lifted, and your back straight. You can use your hands for balance by extending your arms forward or clasping them together in front of your chest.
  4. Try to bring your thighs as close to parallel with the ground as is comfortable for you.
  5. If possible, press your elbows against the inside of your knees, gently encouraging them to open.
  6. Hold the deep squat for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply and relaxing into the stretch.
  7. The deep squat is excellent for promoting hip flexibility and mobility. It also engages the muscles of the lower back and core.

5. 90/90 Stretch

Why the 90 / 90 Stretch is Great for Childbirth Preparation:

This stretch helps maintains mobility in the deeper pelvic floor to open the pelvic inlet.

How to perform the move:

  1. Start by sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
  2. Bend your right knee and bring it toward your body, rotating your leg externally, so your knee points to the right.
  3. Place your right foot on the ground beside your left thigh, creating a 90-degree angle at the right knee.
  4. Bend your left knee and rotate it internally, bringing it back behind you so that it points to the left. Your left shin should also be at a 90-degree angle.
  5. Adjust your position to find a comfortable stretch. Your right hip and left hip should both be at approximately 90-degree angles.
  6. Sit up tall and engage your core. You should feel a stretch in the external hip of your right leg and the internal hip of your left leg.
  7. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds to a minute, breathing deeply and maintaining an upright posture.
  8. After holding the stretch on one side, switch to the other side to address both hips.

This stretch can be adapted to your comfort level, and you can use your hands for support.

Best Stretches to Prepare for Childbirth

As always, it's essential to be mindful of your body and any sensations you experience. You never want to feel any pain, if you experience discomfort or have specific concerns related to your pregnancy, consult with your healthcare provider before attempting new stretches or exercises.

I would love to hear from you as to how these five stretches for childbirth preparation go for you. Drop a comment below with any questions you have, and even how many weeks pregnant you are and how you are feeling towards your upcoming birth.

Remember just how incredible the woman's body is and what it's capable of when it comes to birthing your beautiful baby.

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