Yes, I said Cat. Before you think I’ve gone a little preggo-crazy, try it out and you’ll see what I mean. 🙂 Who would’ve known stretching the way cats do provide the much-needed back comfort we expecting moms really (badly) need? I just began prenatal yoga (before I go in, let me tell you how scared I am of my yoga instructor! That’s a whole different post. :p) and noticed this move was very popular. I also came across it on pregnancy.org. As your uterus stretches, abdominal muscles weaken, starting a chain reaction of kinked and sore muscles, especially in your lower back. The cat stretch is going to make you feel better and here’s why. You’ll be gently strengthening your abs, pelvic and lower back muscles. The hands-and-knees pose will take pressure off your lower back and bladder (and we all know pregnant moms need less pressure on the bladder). This stretch might even help you birth quicker and easier when the time comes. Once I began doing it, I really felt a difference. I’ve had a horribly sensitive back even prior to pregnancy but since becoming pregnant — total discomfort! Try this cat stretch next time you feel the pains: 1. Prepare: Get out your exercise mat unless you have a soft, fluffy carpet. Snag your headband, water bottle, even a crunchy apple just in case. 2. Get in position on your hands and knees. 3. Line up right: Make sure your shoulders are above your hands and hips are above your knees. If your wrists hurt, you can do this stretch on knuckles and knees instead. 4. Make a “U”: Take a deep, cleansing breath. As you let it out, face ahead, relax your lower back and allow your pelvis to move forward toward the floor. Your back will resemble a mellow letter “U”. Only move as much as is comfortable. Hold a few seconds and release. Do you feel your mid-back relaxing? 5. Arch Up: Breath in. As you breathe out, gently pull your tummy toward your baby and press your back toward the ceiling. Let your head drop so you’re looking at the floor or mat. Now your back looks like a surprised kitten’s. Hold a few seconds. 6. That’s one! We recommend repeating this stretch six to ten times. Big tip: Starting your day with this stretch and using it before you go to sleep can remove kinks and relieve tension. If that doesn’t work, you can always bat your eyelashes and purr to your partner, “Please rub my back.” Another thing that helps me a lot are warm baths or even a nice shower with the water hitting my back for a bit. The pressure of the water does wonders! And so does the warmth of the water. Just not too hot! Before starting a fitness program, talk with your midwife or OB/GYN about your current health, physical activity and pregnancy. We don’t know what kind of shape you’re in or what your medical needs/concerns are. Please get the green light from your provider first!