Always consult with your health practitioner before beginning any kind of exercise program (including stretching) during your pregnancy. Stretch only to a comfortable level, not to pain. If you feel any of these movements are difficult because of tension, let your massage therapist know you would like to work on releasing that area. If you have intense pain with any of these stretches, discontinue them until you discuss them with your physician. Also, be particularly aware of your technique, and never bounce while stretching.
Stretching can improve your flexibility, prevent muscle tightening, and make you feel looser and more relaxed. Use the following stretches after a workout as a way to cool down, or just when you need to relax. Be sure to breathe deeply and regularly as you stretch.
One of the most common pregnancy stretches is the low back stretch, which can help relieve 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.
(Image and stretch description courtesy of the Mayo Clinic. For more stretches from the Mayo Clinic, see this slideshow.)