Lower back stretches for pregnancy and the postnatal period

Chances are that at some point during your pregnancy you will suffer from some lower back pain. This may be very mild, but may be excruciating! It’s not surprising when you think how your body is adapting to your growing baby which puts increasing pressure on the muscles, bones and ligaments in your tummy, pelvis and back as your baby grows.

The most effective way to prevent lower back ache in pregnancy is to stay as fit and healthy as you can with a combination of resistance and cardio exercise. Even if this is just regular walking and stretching, regular mobility is the key. The worst thing you can do is sit in one place for long periods and become overweight and stiff, which will put even more pressure on your body.

After you have had your baby use these stretches to help ease your back as your muscles slowly return to their pre-pregnancy length.

If you like this please check out my book The 3-Plan: Your Complete Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Plan (on Amazon), which has over 75 exercises for pregnancy and the postnatal period.

12 effective back stretches

Repeat the ones that you find ease your back the most or just work your way through them all one at a time. Take your time and ease gently in and out of the moves.

Print off this workout as a PDF if you prefer!
Lower back stretches for pregnancy and the postnatal period (PDF, 48KB)

1.  Double/single knee hug

Lay on your back and hug both knees in.
Hold for 10 seconds

Lay on your back with one leg out straight and the other hugged in to your chest.
Hold for 10 seconds then repeat to the other side

2.  Wall stretch

Stand a large step away from the wall with both palms flat against it and your arms straight. Stick your bottom out and let your head drop right down to in between your arms looking at the floor.
Hold for 10 seconds

3.  Knee drops

Lay on your back with your knees bent at 90 degrees, let your knees fall gently to one side with your hands to the other.
Hold for 10 seconds then repeat to other side

4.  Prone (not after trimester 1)

Lie on your tummy with your legs out straight behind you. Prop up on to your elbows and lift your chin. Be careful not to overextend. This will stretch your abs too.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds

5.  Ab hollowing (not after trimester 1)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push the small of your back down and into the floor by tightening your lower abdominal muscles.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds

6.  Bridge (not after trimester 1)

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Push down through your feet as you slowing lift your bottom up off the floor.
Squeeze up and hold for 5 to 10 seconds

7.  Cat stretch

On all fours, drop your head, round your spine.
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds

8.  Seated drop

Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Curl your neck, upper back, and low back forward until your chest is on your thighs and you can touch the ground with your hands (or as low as comfortable).
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds

9.  Standing reach

Stand up straight with your arms at your sides and your feet shoulder width apart. Bend your trunk sideways to the left while sliding your left hand down your thigh and reaching your right arm over your head.
Hold for 10 seconds then repeat to other side

10. Standing sun salute

Begin in a standing position and exhale as you sweep the arms up and overhead.  Inhale and engage the abs as you tip from the hips and lower into a forward bend, with your hands dropping down towards the floor. Slowly roll back up, sweeping the arms overhead until palms touch again.
Repeat the series 4 to 8 times

11. Standing cat stretch

Lower into a squat with the hands on the thighs, back arched.  Pull the abs in and round the back up towards the ceiling. 
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds

12. Child’s Pose

 Push back on to your knees then sit back on the heels as you stretch the arms straight out in front of you, forehead facing the floor. Breathe and relax. 
Hold for 5 to 10 seconds