Foam rolling is a form of "self-myofascial release" and an inexpensive type of self-massage you can do from the comfort of your own home.
It's administered by using your own body weight and a high-density foam roller to tackle knots in your muscle tissue. And foam rolling isn't just for gym bunnies or athletes, as it can also benefit pregnant women by helping to release tension on trigger points and the surrounding tissues, leading to better blood flow, potentially increased muscle activation, and improved sleep quality.
Cheryl MacDonald, yoga expert and founder of YogaBellies, insists pregnant women can use a foam roller before and after exercise, dependent on their typical regime.
"Foam rolling is a perfect before or after yoga or exercise and is enhanced further by stretching afterward. The more consistently you foam roll, the better your results will be," she notes.
For women new to foam rolling, Cheryl recommends choosing a 2-in-2 foam roller as the soft inner tube can be used to apply gentle pressure and the textured outer can be used for different muscle groups as desired.
"Using a high-density foam roller, target muscle groups like the hip flexors, lats, glutes, calves, hamstrings, quads, and the upper back. Always be sure to roll slowly, take your time to allow yourself to release any tension. Begin to relax before you begin. Foam rolling should be tender, but not unbearably painful," she explains. "As with any new exercise, be sure to consult your care provider first," she continues.
Cheryl's top tips for foam roller newbies:
- Find some space on the floor, and sit on a yoga mat if this provides more comfort.
- Position your foam roller on the muscle group you want to target e.g. under the buttocks.
- Aim to keep your body in a stable and comfortable position and keep your spine neutral.