Prenatal class | City Osteopathy and Physiotherapy

Pregnancy Pains: Stretches & Exercises to Help

How does your body change with pregnancy?

As pregnancy progresses, your body changes in many wonderful ways to help your child develop. Your body produces more of certain hormones to allow your muscles and ligaments to stretch and accommodate your child as it grows bigger every day.

Your body stores more fluid to increase your blood volume so that you can provide nutrients to your growing baby. These changes are necessary, but they also put extra stress on your body and can cause discomfort.

Pregnancy related changes can cause:

  1. Low back pain
  2. Upper back pain
  3. Wrist/hand pain
  4. Rib pain
  5. Round ligament pain
  6. Hip and groin pain (pubis symphysis pain / sacroiliac joint pain)
  7. Frequent urination
  8. Urine leakage (urinary incontinence) & Anal leakage (Gas / Stools)
  9. Constipation

1. Pregnancy Related Low Back Pain

As baby grows heavier, the muscles of your abdominal wall stretch, your center of gravity is also brought upward and forwards. These changes increase the stress placed on the muscles in your lower back. If your back and abdominal muscles lack strength or flexibility, you may experience pain back pain, some women experience low back pain which runs down into their legs, this is known as sciatica.

Simple stretches you can try:

2. Pregnancy related neck and upper back pain

As the due date draws near, your milk ducts will start to become active in anticipation of baby’s arrival. You may have realized that your breasts have become fuller, and your usual bras now feel tight because of these changes. The muscles in your upper back and neck can become tight and painful with the increased load and change I posture caused by the increase in cup size.

Simple stretches you can try:

3. Pregnancy related wrist/hand pain

The natural increase in blood volume during pregnancy ensures that baby can be supplied with nutrition. However, this means that excess fluid can enter tissues within the hands and feet causing swelling. When tissues in the wrist swell, nerves that run through a narrow tunnel in the wrist called the carpel tunnel can become compressed causing pain, numbness, or weakness of the hand.

Simple stretches to try:

4. Pregnancy related rib pain

As your baby grows, it takes up more space within your abdomen. In the third trimester, baby pushes up against your ribs pushing them upwards and closer together. The abdominal muscle and the diaphragm that help with breathing are stretched as well. These changes can make breathing more effortful, the muscles between the ribs have work harder as well. Sometimes, these changes can cause rib pain with breathing.

Simple stretches to try:

5. Round ligament pain

As baby develops, the uterus grows out of the pelvis into the abdomen.

A pair of ligaments known as the round ligaments undergo a lot of stretch as a result. Some women experience sharp pain with prolonged walking, sudden change in position or with coughing.

Gentle stretching and exercising can be helpful:



6. Pregnancy related hip and groin pain

(pubis symphysis pain / sacroiliac joint pain)

Hormonal changes in that allow your body to accommodate the growing baby reduces the tolerance that joints have for carrying weight. This means that your joint become more sensitive to heavy loads and can become painful more easily if the muscles that support the joints lack strength and flexibility. The sacroiliac and symphysis pubis joints carry increased load due to the growing baby and can become painful in pregnancy.

Here are some simple exercises to strengthen the muscles around your hips:



7. Frequent urination in pregnancy

As the baby grows and occupies more space in your pelvis and abdomen, baby will be pressing on your bladder reducing the amount of urine it can store comfortably before giving you a signal that you need to go to the toilet. Having good drinking habits and good control of your pelvic floor muscles helps to keep your bladder healthy for good bladder control.

Watch this video to learn about what good drinking habits are:


8. Urine and anal (gas or stools) leakage in pregnancy (incontinence)

The pelvic floor muscle slings across the bottom of the pelvis, this muscle is stretched as pregnancy progresses as it supports the weight of the growing baby. The pelvic floor muscle plays a key role in maintaining bladder and anal control, so a weakened pelvic floor can cause urine or gas leakage when you cough or sneeze. Urine leakage is very common in pregnancy, about 2 in 3 women experience it in their 3rd trimester (1). Although it is common, urine leakage is not normal, learning how to exercise your pelvic floor muscle correctly is effective in treating urine leakage (2).

Learn how to turn on your pelvic floor muscle correctly (Kegel exercise):



9. Constipation in pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones can result in sluggish movement of the intestines, some women experience fewer bowel actions in pregnancy because of this. Compression of the intestines by the growing baby can slow intestinal movement further causing difficulty with passing motion and even constipation. Drinking sufficient water, having a balanced diet and adequate exercise helps to maintain good bowel health in pregnancy.

Watch this video to learn how to keep your bowels healthy in pregnancy:


How we help you

City Osteopathy & Physiotherapy is a one-stop clinic which provides a comprehensive solution for your pain. Our expert team provides manual hands-on therapy and corrective exercises to help you move better and feel better. 

Our team comprises



Osteopathy takes a full-body treatment approach that doesn’t just focus on your symptoms, but focuses on treating the root cause.

All sessions include an assessment, manual hands-on therapy, corrective exercises and movements, and reassessment.

Our osteopaths may also use other treatment methods like:

City Osteopathy and Physiotherapy - Neck treatment


Physiotherapy focuses on designing exercise plans to support rehabilitation and performance optimisation.

All sessions include an assessment, manual hands-on therapy, corrective exercises and movements, and reassessment.

Our physiotherapists may also use other treatment methods like:



Pelvic health issues can affect all people of all ages (yes, both male and female populations). Weakened muscles can lead to incontinence, pelvic pain, and pelvic organ prolapse.

All sessions include an assessment, corrective exercises and movements, and other treatment methods.

Treatment methods include:

Massage Therpay


Sports massage therapy focuses on manual therapy to knead and manipulate muscles and other soft tissues of the body. All sessions include hands-on manual therapy.

Some types of massage provided are:

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