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Gentle Postpartum Stretches for Self-Care
Nutrition & Fitness

Gentle Postpartum Stretches for Self-Care

Stretching! We all need it. And we all need to do it more! Not only does stretching feel amazing and relaxing, but it can be a valuable tool in your postpartum recovery. Our Mommy’s Bliss 360 Women’s Health Expert and author of Your Strong Sexy Pregnancy; a Yoga and Fitness Guide, Desi Bartlett teaches us which stretches are best for recovery and how to gently reconnect with your body after baby. We’re all in.

 Desi Bartlett, MS CPT E-RYT Women’s Health Expert stretching outdoors on a round, red mat

Gentle Postpartum Stretches for New Mamas

Congratulations on the birth of your baby! As a new mom, you deserve a world of care and kindness. The postpartum period can be a tender time when you need some extra TLC. Gentle stretching can help promote healing, relaxation, and alleviate some of the common aches and pains in your body as a new Mom.

Postpartum stretches are more than just a way to ease tight muscles. They offer a gentle approach to recovery by helping to alleviate physical tension and reconnecting you with your body. During the first part of your journey as a new mom, it is common to have some tenderness in your neck, shoulders, and back. Taking a few minutes each day to stretch can be incredibly beneficial to your body. Remember, every woman's postpartum journey is unique, so always consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any new exercise routine and stay receptive to your body throughout your stretching session.

Feel free to customize your stretch routine based on what feels good for you. You can enjoy deep breaths, gentle music, and some quiet moments of gratitude for the amazing journey that your body has been on. The road to postpartum recovery is uniquely yours, and each stretch provides an opportunity to enjoy self-care.

Stretches for Postpartum Self Care

Neck Stretch: Sit or stand comfortably with your back straight. Slowly tilt your head to one side, bringing your ear towards your shoulder. You can assist a slightly deeper stretch by gently using your hand to encourage your ear towards your shoulder. It is important to make sure that you are breathing slowly and deeply. Deep breaths send a signal to your nervous system that you are safe. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds on each side and feel the large muscles on the side of your neck lengthening and releasing.

Doorway Chest Stretch: Stand in a doorway with your feet hip-width apart. Place your forearms on either side of the doorframe and step forward with one foot until you feel a stretch across your chest and the front of your shoulders. Try to maintain the stretch for 30-60 seconds. You can repeat this stretch throughout the day, and it can feel great after feeding baby. Whether you are bottle feeding or breastfeeding, it is natural to roll the shoulders forward a bit. This stretch will help to relieve tension in the pectoralis minor muscles (where your chest and your shoulder meet), which can be especially tight in new moms.

Figure 4 Stretch: Begin by sitting on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat in front of you. Cross your right ankle over your left knee, forming a figure 4 shape. Keep your back straight and gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in your right hip. Try to maintain the stretch for 30-60 seconds on each side. This stretch is fantastic for new moms with tight hips and a sore lower back.

Tricep Stretch: Begin seated or standing with your right arm overhead and bend your elbow, reaching your right hand down your upper back. Use your left hand to gently press just above your right elbow. This gentle push will help you to point the elbow up towards the ceiling, ensuring proper form in the stretch. Hold the stretch for 30-60 seconds. Remember that the two sides of the body are like sisters and are not twins. It is completely normal for one side of the body to be a little bit less flexible. Try to start with your non-dominant side, which tends to be a little less flexible.

Child's Pose: Start on your hands and knees in a quadruped (all 4’s) position. Gently bring your hips to your heels as your big toes move in towards each other to touch. Place your forehead softly on the floor and reach your arms directly in front of you with your palms on the floor. Breathe deeply and enjoy the stretch through your back, chest, triceps, and shoulders. Maintain the shape for 30-60 seconds. You have the option to reach the hands over to the right for 30 seconds and enjoy a stretch down the left side of your waist, and then switch sides. This stretch inspires a sense of calm in the body and the mind.

As with any movement program, listen to your body, and if you experience any pain or discomfort, stop the stretch and consult with your healthcare provider. Regular stretching can help improve flexibility, reduce tension, and promote relaxation for new moms. This routine is gentle enough to enjoy every day.

This site is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide medical advice. Please consult your physician or other health-care professional.

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