Hello and welcome. I am Dr. Katie Sleigh of Sleigh Family Chiropractic in Arlington Heights, IL. Today I would like to introduce pregnant women to a stretch to help alleviate low back, hip and leg pain. As always, it is important to check with your doctor before starting any new stretch or exercise to make sure that it is safe for you.
Many women report to me that they have a hard time sleeping because of these common aches and pains in their hips, low backs, and legs. This is an easy stretch to do to help prevent and eliminate these aches and pains.
There are two versions of this stretch. The first is done seated and is better earlier in pregnancy. The second is done lying on your back and is better later in pregnancy. For the second stretch, you will need a partner to assist. If you have knee problems or severely reduced hip range of motion, you may not be able to do this stretch.
Start while sitting upright in a chair. Cross one foot over the opposite knee. Slowly lean forward with the chest while maintaining the proper forward curve in the low back. Do not round the back. You should feel this stretch in the outside part of the leg and gluteal region.
Stretch number 2 should be done once your belly becomes too large for the seated version. You will need a partner to assist with this stretch. Start by lying on your back with your knees bent. Use pillows to prop up your upper back. Then cross one foot over the opposite knee. Your partner should ensure that the line between your knee and foot are perpendicular to your body throughout the stretch. Then have your partner hold your leg at the knee and the foot. Your partner should slowly then push your leg toward your head until you feel the stretch in the outside part of the leg and gluteal region.
Some times women report to me that their partner did not do the stretch correctly because he or she felt that they were hurting her. I recommend to let your partner know right away that they will feel like they are using a lot of force when they are doing this stretch, but they are not hurting you. As always, make sure that you keep good communication with your partner so that they know when you start to feel the stretch.
Neither of these stretches should cause any pain. If you do experience pain, either back off the stretch or discontinue the stretch altogether.
Both stretches should be done at least 2 times per day on each side. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds on each side. The stretch can be done at any time of the day, but if you find that you are waking up during the night with hip, low back, or leg pain, I recommend stretching before bed time.
In addition to this easy stretch, I strongly suggest visiting a local chiropractor who has experience working with pregnant women. Chiropractors certified in the Webster Technique use gentle adjustments that may help relieve these common aches and pains. Please visit our Webster Technique page for more information.
If you are in the Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Wheeling, Palatine, Long Grove, or Lincolnshire, IL areas, call today to schedule an appointment with me, Dr. Katie Sleigh your pregnancy and pediatric health advocate.
Photo credit to: pregnancysymptoms411.com, livestrong.com