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8 Pregnancy Stretches to Relieve Back Pain in Pregnancy 

The BEST pregnancy stretches to relieve back pain in pregnancy! This 10-minute pregnancy stretching routine releases tight muscles in the hips, glutes, neck and spine to relieve lower back pain during pregnancy.

Back pain in pregnancy is one of the most common complaints I hear from pregnant woman — and it can impact everything from how well you sleep to restricting your daily movements.

Although it’s frustrating, back pain during pregnancy is common and something most pregnant women will experience.

Today’s workout combines the 8 BEST pregnancy back stretches in a guided video. These safe stretches are great for all three trimesters of pregnancy.

pregnant woman holding foam roller performing a hip opener stretch for back pain

Back Pain In Pregnancy FAQs

What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy back pain can largely be attributed to gaining weight, a shifting center of gravity, and relaxin hormones relaxing the ligaments in the joints of your pelvis. A growing uterus also stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles (also known as diastasis recti), which puts a strain on your back (American College of Gynecologists).

How Can I Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy?

Pregnancy back pain can be managed by a combination of strengthening weakened muscles and relaxing tight muscles. You can strengthen weak core muscles with these 8 Pregnancy Ab Exercises and release tight muscles in the legs, hips and lower back with these 8 pregnancy stretches and prenatal yoga.

pregnant woman performing cat cow stretch for back pain

Combat common pregnancy aches and pains with this guided stretch routine for pregnancy.

This 10-minute pregnancy back stretches routine combines exercises designed to release tight muscles in the lower back, hips, glutes quads, neck and spine – which can all contribute to low back pain.

I suggest adding this stretching routine to your prenatal workout plan 1-2 times a week for pregnancy back pain relief.

Workout Equipment:

No equipment, just your bodyweight.

You can add a foam roller for move 8 if you have one available. We’ll also be using a bench/chair/sofa to deepen some of the stretches. Use what you have available.

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Woman performing a Seated Piriformoris stretch as part of exercises to relieve pain during pregnancy

Workout Instructions:

Follow along with the guided 10-Minute Back Pain Relief Video on YouTube, led by certified personal trainer and pre-and-postnatal fitness instructor, Lindsey Bomgren. 

Your Workout Looks Like This:

  • 8 Pregnancy Stretches For Back Pain
  • Timed Intervals (~40 seconds of stretching, followed by 20 seconds rest)
  • Perform Each Stretch Once (on each side as needed)

Pregnancy Back Pain Relief Stretching Routine

1. Transversus Abdominis (TA) Core Breathing or Belly Breathing
2. Seated Adductor Stretch
3. Seated Piriformis Stretch
4. Cat Cow Stretch
5. Table Top to Child’s Pose
6. Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch
7. Forward Fold Chair Stretch
8. Foam Roller Glute and Piriformis Stretch

Pregnant woman foam rolling glutes as part of the best stretches to relieve pain during pregnancy

Prefer to Watch On Youtube?

youtube icon 10-Minute Stretch

8 Pregnancy Stretches For Back Pain

Transversus Abdominis (TA) Core Breathing

Targets: Transverse abdominal (TA) muscle which extend between the ribs and the pelvis, wrapping around the trunk of the body from front to back.

The transverse abdominus is a very deep abdominal muscle that supports overall core strength and back health.

pregnant woman demonstrating transverse abdominis or TA breathing or belly breathing during pregnancy

How To Do Transversus Abdominis (TA) Core Breathing

  1. First, activate your transverse abdominis muscles. Stand with your back against a wall or lay on your back with your knees bent at 90-degrees and feet flat on the ground. 
  2. Find your hip bones and move your fingers one inch inwards.
  3. To find your transverse abdominis muscles, fake cough. The muscles you feel ‘pop’ when you cough are your transverse abdominis muscles.
  4. To engage them, take a deep breath and allow your core and pelvic floor to relax. Imagine there is a string between your hip bones and as you exhale that string (or your TA muscles) are pulling your hip bones together. 
  5. As you inhale, let the belly expand (let your back pop off the ground or wall).
  6. As you exhale, pull the belly in tight and think about tucking the tailbone underneath you to press your back into the mat or wall.

Seated Adductor Stretch (Inner Thigh Stretch)

Targets: Specifically the hip adductors or inner thighs, as well as the muscles around the hip joint — glutes, piriformis, psoas, hip flexors and hip abductors.

A great stretch if you’re experiencing pubic symphysis dysfunction (or SPD pain) during pregnancy.

pregnant woman demonstrating seated adductor stretch or inner thigh stretch. Great pregnancy stretches for SPD and pelvic pain

How To Do Seated Adductor Stretch

  1. Start sitting on a box, bench, chair or couch. Plant your feet wide on the mat, outside of your hips. Place both hands on your knees.
  2. Hinge at the hips as you press your torso forward and towards your right knee. Right arm bends while left arm remains straight. Hold for a 3-count.
  3. Come back to center and reset before repeating on the left, hinging towards your left knee, keeping your right arm straight.

Seated Piriformis Stretch

Targets: Specifically the piriformis muscle — a flat, band-like muscle located in the buttocks near the top of the hip joint.

This muscle is important in lower body movement and often becomes tight and overworked during pregnancy causing sciatica pain.

If you struggle with sciatic nerve pain, this seated half pigeon or piriformis stretch is for you.

pregnant woman performing a seated piriformis stretch or seated half pigeon stretch

How To Do Seated Piriformis Stretch

  1. Start in a seated position, feet planted under knees, spine tall and straight.
  2. Pick up your left leg and cross your left ankle over your right knee (think of performing a seated figure-4 stretch).
  3. Breathe, rolling your shoulders back and keeping your posture tall.
  4. Think about rotating your left shin away from your body to intensify the stretch.

Cat Cow Stretch

Targets: All the muscles along your spine and releases low back tension.

The simple cat-cow pose improves blood flow between the vertebrae of your spine. Great for relieving back pain and stress tension.

pregnant woman performing cat cow stretch -- best pregnancy stretches

How To Do Cat-Cow Stretch

  1. Start in a table top position (quadruped) on all fours. Shoulders are stacked over wrists and hips are stacked over knees.
  2. Find a neutral spine — think of the spine as a straight line connecting the shoulders to the hips. Keep the neck long by looking down and out.
  3. On your exhale, arch your back to come into cat pose. Tuck your tailbone, feeling a nice stretch along your spine. Draw your navel toward your spine and drop your head, gazing toward your navel.
  4. Return to neutral spine on your inhale and repeat.

Table Top to Child’s Pose

Targets: Hips, inner thighs, feet, spine and back.

A great stretch to calm your body, relieve lower back pain and increase circulation.

Pregnant woman performing rocking child's pose

How To Do Table Top to Child’s Pose

  1. Start in a wide table top position, quadruped on all fours, shoulders stacked over wrists, knees outside of hips, bringing your big toes to touch.
  2. Find a neutral spine — think of the spine as a straight line connecting the shoulders to the hips. Keep the neck long by looking down and out.
  3. As you exhale, shift your hips back towards your heels and lower your torso between your knees.
  4. Then walk your hands away from your body. Extending your hands as far out in front of you as possible, shoulders relaxed.
  5. Hold this position, opening your hips and lengthening from fingertips to tailbone with each exhale.

Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

Targets: Hips, hip flexors, groin, quads, glutes, low back and core.

This hip flexor stretch is about the anterior pelvic tilt, not how far you can push your hips forward. Do not hyperextend your back or dump the hips.

pregnant woman performing half kneeling hip flexor stretch

How To Do Half Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch

  1. Start in a low lunge position with your right leg forward, right foot planted on the ground and left leg back. Left knee on the ground behind you, back left toes tucked under.
  2. Square your hips to the front by tucking your tailbone. Your right knee and left knee should be at a 90-degree angle (you don’t need to lean forward).
  3. To further intensify the stretch, press your left hand into your right knee to open it further, or reach your left arm overhead, performing a side stretch.

Forward Fold Chair Stretch

Targets: The entire backside of the body from head to heels. Specifically releasing tight hamstrings and lower back muscles. 

pregnant woman performing forward fold; pregnancy stretches

How To Do Forward Fold Chair Stretch

  1. Start standing in Mountain Pose, feet hip-width apart (or wider if needed), toes pointing straight ahead.
  2. As you inhale, reach your hands overhead.
  3. As you exhale, soften your knees and slowly fold forward from your hips. Pushing your hips back towards the wall behind you.
  4. Keep a soft bend in your knees as you reach your fingertips towards a box, table or couch.
  5. Breathe, releasing further into the stretch with each exhale. You should feel a stretch along the entire backside of your body.

Foam Roller Glute and Piriformis Stretch

Targets: The glutes, outer glutes and piriformis muscle (a deep, small muscle located between your glutes and hip joints and it helps the hips rotate).

Tight glutes can cause low back pain, which is why we included this stretch.

pregnant woman performing Foam Roller Glute and Piriformis Stretch

How To Do Glute And Piriformis Stretch With A Foam Roller

  1. Sit on the foam roller with your left glute/hip, crossing your right leg over your left knee and leaning toward left hip. Support your weight in your hands on the floor as needed.
  2. Shift as much weight onto the foam roller as is tolerable.
  3. While trying to relax the glute muscles, continue leaning into the left hip as your slowly roll over the left glute and butt muscle.
  4. Repeat on the right glute and hip.
Pregnant women in light blue leggings and navy tank top doing a single leg bicep curl.

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