The journey to motherhood is a challenging one for every woman. You will notice numerous changes in your body and bear many discomforts during pregnancy. Every trimester brings a new set of feelings and struggles never encountered before.
Musculoskeletal issues are experienced by a majority of pregnant ladies, while around 32% suffer from hip pain. Pain around the hip and pelvic girdle region can occur at any stage, but you become more prone as you approach the third trimester. The incidence of hip pain during pregnancy ranges between 48% to 56%.
Managing pregnancy hip pain can be tough because the condition gets much more complicated than on normal days. That is because of the presence of a growing fetus inside.
So, if you are entering the third trimester and your hips have started to ache, you can try these useful tips to prevent symptomatic aggravation and get pain relief.
Read on to learn more about how to relieve hip pain during pregnancy!
What Causes Hip Pain During Pregnancy?
Before discussing the potent methods to achieve pain relief, let's discover the reasons for hip pain during pregnancy.
That can help you manage the aches better to some extent.
The third trimester is characterized by rapid fetal growth, which translates to extra pressure on the pelvic region. Physiological changes during pregnancy give rise to musculoskeletal symptoms, including hip and back pain.
An investigative study reveals that carrying extra weight (during the second trimester) in the anterior trunk region led to gait changes. The change in gait negatively affects pelvic tilt, hip flexion movements, and the range of motion. These effects increase your propensity for developing hip pain.
Fetal weight in the pelvic region exerts excessive pressure on the pelvic girdle and the neighboring structures. Poor posture during pregnancy changes the biomechanics of the lower back, contributing to hip pain. Several pregnant ladies develop a sway-back posture that may lead to back and hip pain.
A roller-coaster of hormonal levels marks pregnancy. Relaxin is a pregnancy hormone that increases the laxity of joints to accommodate the growing baby.
The latest research indicates that the hormone makes pregnant ladies prone to hip or pelvic pain and musculoskeletal injuries.
An uncommon cause of hip pain in pregnancy is transient osteoporosis of the hip (TOH). It typically occurs in the third trimester and results in decreasing bone mass and can cause debilitating pain in the hip, back, or groin in pregnant women.
Healthcare providers must suspect the condition when assessing acute pregnancy hip pain.
Natural Ways to Manage Hip Pain During Pregnancy
The following are some simple steps and home remedies you can adopt to alleviate and prevent hip pain during pregnancy.
Massage therapy is a simple, non-invasive, effective method of relieving muscular aches. It is a potent therapy to alleviate pregnancy-associated discomforts.
You should see a massage therapist upon entering the 2nd trimester because timely intervention can keep your posture and gait from deforming.
It is always possible to get massage therapy during pregnancy. Whether you are experiencing mild discomfort or gnawing pain, the magic touch of a therapist will surely benefit you.
The therapy is frequently sought for low back, pelvic and hip pain. Research suggests pregnancy massage is safe and has promising results in reduced pain and stress and improved range of motion. Moreover, it also improves mood and reduces prenatal depression.
The best thing about massage therapy is that it provides temporary relief and also improves joint functionality. A combination of massage therapy and aromatherapy can be effective in increasing hip joint mobility and relieving associated pains.
Yoga is a viable way to relax your mind, soul, and body. Various types of this meditation help flush out anxiety, stress, and pain from your body.
Pregnant ladies can receive maximum benefit from prenatal, restorative, and hatha yoga. Gentle yoga poses can release pain from your hips and make you feel better. Yoga can address various pregnancy-related orthopedic complications, including hip pain.
Studies show that yoga exercises improve the flexibility of pubic structures. That in turn, aids in keeping away hip pain.
So, you can consider practicing yoga to reduce pregnancy-related aches and anxiety/ depression.
Warm-Water Baths and Compressions
Heat application can reduce tension in the muscles. Heat packs are typically given to treat tight back muscles that induce sciatica and low back pain.
Pregnant ladies can also get relief by taking warm baths. You should be cautious while taking a shower because the water should be warm but not hot.
According to a study, warm baths positively affect osteoarthritis patients. Therefore, if your hip pain results from hip osteoarthritis, a warm bath will reduce stiffness and allow a better range of motion.
Prescribing medications during pregnancy is generally not preferred. Physicians have to outweigh the benefits over the risks (to the fetus) involved.
Extensive research reveals that certain drugs are safe and effective in cutting down hip discomfort. As per a large-scale study, the drug acetaminophen is effective in alleviating musculoskeletal pains in pregnant women.
Over-the-counter NSAIDs are good at reducing pain in normal individuals, but only a limited class of drugs can be recommended in pregnant ladies. Research reveals that using NSAIDs in early pregnancy is linked to adverse effects, including miscarriage and malformations.
Painkillers should be taken in severe cases under the doctor’s recommendation.
Stretches and Exercises
Stretching and exercising is the quickest and safest way to prevent and say goodbye to your hip ache. Low-impact aerobic exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling can help prevent and minimize hip pain during pregnancy by strengthening your back and abdominal muscles and maintaining the ideal weight.
Plenty of stretches can also help you with pregnancy-induced hip pain. The easiest and most potent stretches are as follows:
Pigeon Pose (And Seated Pigeon)
The pigeon pose is one of the best stretches for relieving sciatica nerve pain. This pose is excellent for stretching the hip flexor muscles and enhancing mobility.
You can carry out the pigeon pose by placing your hands and knees on the floor (yoga mat). Slide one knee forward and when maximum stretch has been done, turn the foot toward the opposite wrist.
Now slide the other foot as far back as possible until a stretch on the leg’s bottom is felt. Hold the stretch in this position for a minute and repeat on the other side of the leg.
You can carry out this stretch even at work. The seated stretch requires you to sit on a stable chair with your spine straight. Bring one leg up, placing the ankle on the opposite thigh over the knee. Lean forward at the hip joint until a stretch is felt. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.
The child’s pose helps you stretch and increase flexibility in the back and hip muscles. Sit down on your knees while placing your palms on the thighs and heels touching your buttocks. Extend the arms out and bring the hips back as much as possible. Rest your hands on the ground with your palms facing down while resting your forehead on the ground.
Bound Angle Pose
The bound angle pose opens the hips wider, reducing abdominal discomfort and helping with childbirth.
Sit comfortably on the floor with your spine straight. Bend your knees with your thighs sideways and the soles of your feet touching each other. Move the feet inward toward your pelvis.
Grasp your toe or ankle of the feet with your hands while keeping the spine erect and letting the hip muscles stretch. Hold the pose for a couple of minutes.
The bridge pose is another easy yet effective pose for hip pain during pregnancy. To do a bridge pose, lie down on your back. You can place a small blanket under the back to provide sufficient back support. Push your heels in so your hands can touch the back of your feet.
Now lift your hips as high as you can while keeping both feet flat on the ground. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Physical Therapy and Chiropractic Treatment
Appropriate chiropractic treatment helps realign the spine and balance the pelvis. It can help improve blood circulation and reduce pressure on nerves while eliminating muscle tension.
According to a case study, a 35-year-old woman suffered from pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain. Chiropractic spinal manipulation improved function and pain in the patient.
Research shows physical therapy improves pelvic girdle pain and discomfort of associated structures. A study reveals that musculoskeletal problems can complicate pregnancy, and timely introduction of physical therapy can be beneficial for pregnant ladies.
Tips to Prevent Hip Pain In Pregnancy
There are several ways in which you can prevent hip pain from developing. You should follow these tips at the start of the second trimester:
- Do light exercises and yoga stretches to keep your hip and back muscles strong, reducing the chances of hip pain.
- Use a pregnancy pillow (specially designed) and place it between your knees while sleeping.
- Try not to put on any extra weight.
- Try to maintain a good posture throughout the pregnancy. Do not slouch or hunch to prevent excessive stressing of the hips and lower back.
- Avoid heavy lifting
- Use a pelvic belt that offers support to your hip joints.
Hip pain is a natural part of pregnancy your body experiences during this exciting yet challenging phase of life due to hormonal changes and extra weight gain. However, that does not mean that you must endure this excruciating discomfort.
Several tips and tricks can help offer relief by reducing your pain, including therapy, warm compresses, and yoga stretches and exercises.
Lastly, it is vital to note that you must seek medical attention before proceeding with any treatment and avoid using any medications without medical advice.