What are the causes of hip pain during pregnancy? And how can you find some relief? Here, we’re sharing our top tips for happier hips.
Growing a new human (miraculous as that is) comes with its fair share of aches and pains.
And hip pain during pregnancy—along with its good friends, back pain, and pelvic pain—is something many mamas-to-be experience.
As your body expands to make room for your developing baby, that can put pressure on joints, muscles, and nerves, causing discomfort.
You might experience hip pain where it hurts to walk, stand up, or even sleep in certain positions.
But don’t worry: there are ways to ease the ache.
Read on for tips on relieving hip pain during pregnancy and find out when to get in touch with your healthcare provider.
In this article: 📝
- What causes hip pain during pregnancy?
- How can I relieve hip pain during pregnancy?
- When to see your healthcare provider about hip pain
What causes hip pain during pregnancy?
The exact cause varies, but in most cases, it’s linked to the increasing weight of your uterus (with its precious cargo) and the way your body changes in preparation for labor and birth.
Let’s look at a few different possible causes of hip pain during pregnancy:
The hormones released in your body during pregnancy, especially a hormone called relaxin, cause the ligaments and tendons in your pelvis to loosen.
And this will help give your baby more space to exit your body during labor.
Sounds good, right? But there is a downside: the loosening of your ligaments and tendons can lead to pain in your hip joints and other areas of your pelvis and lower back.
Your growing bump
As your baby gets bigger and your uterus gets heavier, your hip joints have more weight pressing down on them from above, which can cause pain.
Plus, your growing bump changes your center of gravity, affecting your posture and causing added strain to your lower back and pelvis.
(We’ll take you through a few tips for maintaining good posture during pregnancy in a moment.)
It’s totally normal and healthy to gain weight during pregnancy.
And extra weight in your pelvic area can be another cause of hip pain.
Your sciatic nerve (fun fact: the largest nerve in your body!) runs from your lower back, behind your uterus, and all the way down to your feet.
As your uterus expands, it can put pressure on the nerve.
And when this happens, you might experience a condition called sciatica.
With sciatica, you tend to feel tingling, numbness, or pain that radiates through your lower back, hip, and thigh.
But it usually affects only one side of your body.
The good news is, as you approach your due date, your baby will change their position in your uterus.
This can reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve, and the pain should ease.
Round ligament pain
This is an especially common source of hip pain during pregnancy in the second trimester.
Your round ligaments connect the front of your uterus to your groin, making it possible for you to contract and relax the muscles in that area.
Round ligament pain occurs when you make a movement that causes the ligaments to contract quickly.
This could be laughing, standing up, or even a violent sneeze!
Sharp pains can shoot through the area of your abdomen and hips.
But they should only last for a few seconds.
You might also be wondering: Why do my hips hurt when I sleep on my side while pregnant?
When you sleep on your side during pregnancy, you might find that your growing bump puts extra pressure on the hip you’re resting on.
And this can make any hip pain you’re already experiencing worse.
If this happens to you, try positioning a pillow or rolled-up blanket at the small of your back and sleep leaning against it.
This may reduce the pressure on your hip, making you more comfortable.
Plus, if your hip pain is caused by sciatica, you might be able to gain some relief by sleeping on the unaffected side of your body.
How can I relieve hip pain during pregnancy?
Simple things like keeping good posture, exercise, and a soothing warm bath can all help ease hip pain during pregnancy.
And they may also help with other aches and pains in your back or pelvis.
How to help hip pain during pregnancy
1. Practice good posture.
When walking or standing, hold your head up straight with your chin tucked in, shoulder blades back, and chest forward.
When sitting, choose a supportive chair and tuck a pillow behind your lower back to support the curve of your spine.
Using a birthing ball as a seat can also be great for your posture.
2. Stretch those muscles
Regular gentle exercise can help stretch out and strengthen the muscles in your back, hips, and legs.
This may help ease your pain and boost your mental well-being at the same time.
Why not try a prenatal yoga class?
3. Avoid heavy lifting
But if you do have to lift something, let your legs do the work and keep your back straight.
4. Take a bath
A long warm bath can help soothe your sore hips.
Or you could try placing a warm compress on the area.
5. Get a massage
Whether from a massage therapist, a friend, or your partner, a massage could make all the difference to your hip pain.
6. Support your body when sleeping
Try sleeping on your side with your knees bent, place a pillow between your knees, and arrange extra pillows around you, so your body is totally supported.
Or try using a pregnancy pillow.
And why not ask the other mamas-to-be in the Peanut community for their hip-pain busting tips?
When to see your healthcare provider about hip pain
It’s important to chat to your healthcare provider if your hip pain is making you really uncomfortable.
They’ll be able to establish the root cause of the pain and suggest the right treatment.
Give your healthcare provider a call if you’re experiencing hip pain during pregnancy and:
- It’s the first trimester. This early on, it’s likely that your hip pain has a non-pregnancy-related cause.
- You’re experiencing severe pain that’s getting in the way of your daily life. Your healthcare provider might suggest medical pain relief, such as acetaminophen.
- You suspect it’s round ligament pain or sciatica. Your healthcare provider may prescribe specific stretching and strengthening exercises focused on your lower back and abdomen.
- You have any signs of premature labor (if you’re not yet 37 weeks pregnant). Signs of premature labor can include: cramps in your lower abdomen, five or more contractions in an hour, a dull ache in your lower back, pressure in your pelvis, and clear, pink, or brown discharge from your vagina.
We hope you find a way to ease the ache. ❤️
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