Your legs are working hard carrying you and your baby around all day. If your leg muscles feel stiff or achy, loosen them up with these stretches. Remember, stretch only to the point of mild tension, never bounce, and breathe slowly and naturally while you are stretching:
Ankle stretch. Stand and hold on to something for balance or sit comfortably in a chair. Lift your right foot a few inches from the ground. Rotate foot and ankle 8-10 times clockwise, then 8-10 times counterclockwise. Repeat on other side.
Front-thigh stretch. Stand a little way from a wall and place your left hand on wall for support. Standing straight, bend your left leg at the knee and grasp the top of your left foot with your right hand. Pull your heel toward your buttocks. Hold 10-20 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Outer-thigh stretch. Sit on the floor with your right leg straight out in front. Bend your left leg, cross your left foot over, and place it outside your right knee. Pull your left knee across your body toward the right shoulder. Hold 10-20 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Inner-thigh stretch. Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead, a little more than shoulder width apart, and your hands on your hips. (If necessary, hold on to a chair to avoid tipping over.) Bend your right knee slightly and move your left hip downward toward the right knee. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Repeat on other side.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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