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How to Use a Foam Roller During Pregnancy

As weight increases during pregnancy, so does pain in the lower back, hips, knees and feet. Foam rolling can alleviate pressure in the joints, but a growing belly can make many of the positions uncomfortable. Here are a few tips for using a foam roller to its fullest potential—setting you up for a healthy, active pregnancy.

Lower Back

Sit on a foam roller with feet flat in front of you and hands planted behind you. Roll forward until the roller is between the hip bones. Slowly roll back and forth 5 to 8 times. Next, gently tip the knees from side to side, releasing the hips. Stay in the groove between the hip and upper thigh and breathe for 20 to 30 seconds.


Sit on the floor with a foam roller in front of you. Extend legs over the roller so the calves are resting on the roller. In the early stages of pregnancy, push into your hands to lift your hips off the ground and roll your calves for 30 seconds to a minute, tipping feet from left to right to find knots in the muscles. When you find a knot, roll it out slowly and take deep breaths as you allow the muscle to release. 

Upper and Outer Thighs

In the final stages of pregnancy, rolling face down with the elbows on the floor—as you would to work the quadriceps—doesn’t allow much room for a belly and can be hard on the upper body, and rolling upright from the hands—for the IT (iliotibial) band, located at the outside of the thigh—puts pressure on the spine. Swap out a foam roller for a self-massage stick (like this) and use it on the upper and outer thighs while seated in a chair.

Helpful Hints

Breathe deeply while rolling and stretch the muscles you address directly after a session. Drink plenty of water—muscles need oxygen and water to release effectively.

—Danielle Weller, Personal Trainer

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