Suffering with heartburn pain during pregnancy? Try our stretches for heartburn and diaphragm pain! Mobilizing and stretching the muscles that surround the rib cage and diaphragm can alleviate pain and discomfort.
Why do you have heartburn during pregnancy?
There are many factors that can play into heartburn symptoms during pregnancy. As chiropractors, we focus on the biomechanical changes that occur during pregnancy that can trigger these symptoms. Even before the uterus expands, the rib cage changes orientation, shifting upward. As baby grows and the uterus expands, there is additional upward pressure being placed on the diaphragm and rib cage. This pressure increase places stress on the already weakened stomach sphincter [due to high levels of the hormone relaxin]. This can trigger heartburn and diaphragm pain during pregnancy.
Heartburn & Diphragm Pain Relief Techniques:
What You'll Need:
- Optional - Scarf
For belly sifting, you'll want to use your exercise ball and a scarf [a towel or sheet can work too]! Use the exercise ball to support the upper body. Let belly drop to the ground while the hips stay high. Make sure the scarf is wrapped comfortably, completely covering belly. Your partner should lift with their legs, rather than using their upper body. Belly sifting takes pressure off the diaphragm helping to alleviate pressure on the stomach and lower esophagus.
***NOTE: Avoid this technique if you have an anterior placenta!***
Ball Side Body & Diaphragm Stretch
Another exercise ball stretch! Again, you will use the exercise ball to support the upper body and move into position that target tight spots. Having the ball will allow you to relax belly completely and move side to side to find diaphragm tension.
Standing/Wall Hip Flexor Stretch
This standing diaphragm stretch is a spin-off of one of our 'go-to' hip flexor stretches. Utilize this stretch for heartburn relief too! You will find another variation of this stretch below.
Side-Lying Diaphragm Stretch
Lying on your side while stretching the diaphragm for heartburn relieve allows you to gain access to a greater range of motion. You'll want room behind you, in order to extend your leg backward. Try to incorporate this heartburn stretch into your morning and/or evening routine!
Kneeling Hip Flexor Stretch with a Reach
You can stretch the diaphragm and relieve heartburn by stretching through the entire side body. Taking the arm overhead in this stretch allows you to gain mobility and relieve tension in the diaphragm.
Chair/Couch Long Body & Diaphragm Stretch
This is a great option if you don't have an exercise ball handy! Similar to the Exercise Ball Side-Body Stretch, you can gain space in the abdominal area to relieve heartburn and diaphragm pain.
Diaphragm Self-Lengthening for Hearturn Relief
Self-legthening or self-massage around the lower rib cage and diaphragm is a passive way to find heartburn relief! Follow the rib cage down and out, spending more time in areas that are tender.
PRO TIP: Massage while you stretch! Lying on your left side positions the stomach so gravity can assist in relieving heartburn symptoms. When the left side is down, you can massage under the rib cage. We like to use Biofreeze or a lotion while massage to help with tissue drag!
BONUS: Natural Heartburn Relief Technique
Place 1 tablespoon of chia seeds in a shot glass or small cup. Add water, just enough so the seed are covered. Quickly swallow the seeds. You can use this trick 2-3 times a day [after meals is a great time]. The seeds end up acting as a barrier for the contents of the stomach and reliefs heartburn naturally!