If you're pregnant then you probably already know that sometimes it can be a pain in the bum - literally! One of the most common pregnancy complaints is a sore back and or sciatic pain which tends to present in and around the glutes. Most of the time it can be more painful on one side than the other - and often feels like a sharp shooting pain down the leg. And sore backs are also the norm - as your baby grows, it has to support more weight, so our backs often feel sore and tight. But the good news is...you can help yourself!
Thanks to the hormone RELAXIN, you're more flexible in your joints and in your pelvis during pregnancy. As our baby grows, the pelvis has to carry more weight and so our glutes, quad and piriformis muscles have to work harder and sometimes tighten up to pinch the sciatic nerve.
In our pregnancy yoga classes, we focus on a specific combination of strength work so that your body is better equipped for the additional weight you're carrying as well as stretching and lengthening the areas in and around the glute and piriformis muscles and outer hips.
Here are 5 poses to help you stretch to alleviate piriformis / sciatic pain - please note that some of these yoga postures will need to be modified or are not suitable if you have pelvic girdle pain, low lying placenta or a breech baby - if you're unsure please seek the advice of a specially trained Prenatal Yoga Teacher who can provide safe alternatives using props in a Pregnancy specific yoga class.
1. Squat: Great to build strength in your legs to help avoid hip and low back pain. Squats also help you stretch your glutes and pelvic floor. If your baby is breech avoid this one altogether, practice this one supported between 32-26 weeks or if you have pubis symphysis pain.
2. Gomukhasana: Wonderful stretch for the outer hips and especially great for those who spin and run and have tightness in the IT band. Not suitable if you're suffering from pubis symphysis pain.
3. Ankle to Knee: Targets both hips at the same time. Do this sitting a chair while at work, take a little tilt forward to deepen the stretch too!
4. Pigeon Pose: Stretches the outer hip and psoas. Prop with a bolster if possible.
5. Wide Leg Straddle: Lengthens your hamstrings and low back in addition to the glutes and piriformis.
You can also foam roll, use a tennis ball against a wall or the floor or mini butt punches. If the pain is intense and persistent, see a chiropractor that specializes in working with pregnant people. And lastly...don't forget to breathe, use your breath to invite a mindful quality to your stretching! Enjoy!
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