I love the Pilates mermaid stretch! It accomplishes so many things for my pregnant mamas, it feels so good, and it’s such a pretty move. This is perfect for pregnant women who feel they are “running out of room” in their torso.
It’s also a lovely exercise for pregnant women experiencing numbness and tingling in the upper extremities (once more serious nerve involvement has been ruled out). While we most often think of these symptoms as relating to carpal tunnel, if we treat down at the wrist we are often missing a large contributor which is the thoracic outlet. This is an area located between your collarbone and first rib that is home to lots of blood vessels and nerves and it can become compressed when the growing uterus moves upward into the abdominal cavity.
Sit on your left hip with your legs staggered. Grab your right ankle with your right hand as you reach your left hand up and overhead (keeping your arm as close to your ear as you can without shrugging). Inhale and grow long from the crown of your head and your fingertips, then exhale and fold over towards the right like you are rounding over a barrel.
Think about lifting your ribs away from the floor as you shift your left hip towards the floor and reach just an inch longer through your fingertips. Next drop onto your left forearm as your right arm comes up and overhead as you again lift your ribs up and away from the floor while shifting your right hip towards the floor. Last, come to a “T” position growing tall from the crown of your head while you reach your arms out as if to touch the opposite walls of the room. Switch to the other side and repeat!