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Pregnancy can be a miraculous experience, but along with the joy come aches and pains. As your belly and breasts grow, you may start to feel stiff and sore, especially in your back and neck. "Gentle and supportive stretches relieve discomfort, boost circulation and increase your energy level," says Jennifer Gianni, certified Pilates instructor and creator of the DVD series Fusion Pilates for Pregnancy (fusionpilates.com). "Flexibility techniques can also help you relax and soften your body, which may result in easier labor and delivery."
Gianni designed the following sequence of stretches exclusively for Fit Pregnancy. You can do them as often as you like, but be sure to check with your doctor before beginning this or any exercise program.
For A Safer Stretch
• Warm up beforehand with 5 to 10 minutes of light walking or dancing.
• Stretch slowly and avoid bouncing.
• If you feel any pain or discomfort, modify your position.
• Stay relaxed and breathe deeply during each stretch.
• Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing.
What you'll need A wall for support and a stable high-back chair.