Hip pain is one of the common discomforts women may experience during pregnancy. It can appear in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy, but most often felt late, specifically in the second and third trimester.
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Pain occurs mostly at night, associated with poor sleeping position and irritation of the sciatic nerve. It worsens by squatting, standing up from a sitting or a lying position, lifting weights, or walking with heavy bags.
This most commonly happens in the third trimester when joints and muscles begin to relax in preparation for delivery. Pain is generally felt in the back or on the side of the hip, where the baby rests inside the uterus.
Painful sensations disappear completely after a few hours of rest in the lying position. However, if the pain persists, then it must be examined and diagnosed in order to prescribe appropriate treatment.
What causes hip pain during pregnancy?
First of all, it is important to know that the hips are joints that support a large part of our body. They allow us to walk, bend, sit, and even turn around ourselves.
There are several causes of hip pain during pregnancy. It is mainly due to a Relaxin hormone, released to prepare the woman’s body for the coming months.
It may be induced by joints and ligaments, nerves, weight gain, or calcium and phosphorus deficiency.
Joints and Ligaments
During your third trimester, Relaxin hormone relaxes pelvic joints and ligaments to help your body in preparing for an easy labor. Sometimes, the same hormone also loosens joints and ligaments in other body areas, including your hips.
All women have Relaxin hormone in their bodies. But it increases almost ten times during pregnancy, and this will increase the sensitivity to hip pain.
Hip pain during the second trimester may be due to the round ligament pain; severe stabbing pain in the abdomen, groin, and hip area. It will increase when changing your position or moving quickly.
Some other causes of hip pain include increased pressure on the sciatic nerve. There are two sciatic nerves in the body that come from the lower back area and connect to the feet.
When the uterus exerts pressure on these nerves, it can cause pain or tingling sensation in the hips, legs, and buttocks. You should inform your doctor about sciatica, as it can also occur for other serious causes.
Weight gain and changes in posture can also put additional pressure on the pelvis and cause hip pain. Because of the baby’s weight, your body cannot be perfectly balanced, especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.
calcium and phosphorus deficiency
Hip pain during pregnancy also occurs in cases of calcium and phosphorus deficiency. These minerals are necessary for the full growth and development of the fetus, and if they are not adequate in a pregnant woman’s body, her bone tissue reserves are consumed.
As a result, this greatly worsens the joint’s condition, and reduces strength and flexibility in ligaments, tendons, and muscles. In this case, the pain is located on the lower part of the legs, radiating to the hips with cramps at night.
When to seek help from a doctor?
Seek help from your doctor if your hip pain is associated with:
- Pressure or soreness in the pelvic area
- Lower abdominal cramps
- Pink or brown vaginal discharge
- Unrelieved lower back pain
- Walking difficulty
- Unexpected contractions during your third trimester that could be a sign of premature labor.
7 tips to ease hip pain during pregnancy
For some pregnant women, hip pain can be minor. While for others, it can affect daily activities and cause some sleep disorders.
Feel free to test some of these tips to prevent and relieve your hip pain during pregnancy.
1. Use A pregnancy Pillow
Most health professionals strongly recommend sleeping on the left side, which is useful for the baby as well. Using a pregnancy pillow between your legs will keep your hips aligned, providing extra support and comfort.
Avoid crossing your legs while you sleep as it may put more pressure on your hips, which increase the pain.
2. Belly bands
Use a bandage for pregnant women during walks or housework. This will reduce stress on the spine and pelvic bones. In addition, it is a good prevention of premature birth.
3. Heat Therapy
There are many options for heat therapy. Try applying a heating pad or a hot water bottle to your hips, or take a warm (not hot) bath before going to bed.
Along with your doctor’s advice and consultation, you can also get a gentle warm oil massage to relieve your hip pain.
4. Exercise and swimming
Regular exercise is the most effective way to quickly reduce hip pain during pregnancy. This helps to improve blood circulation in the lower legs, strengthen and relax tight hips, and prepares the body for delivery.
When nerves are compressed by the growing uterus, swimming is an excellent exercise for you. It maintains blood circulation and reduces pressure on the sciatic nerves.
5. Comfy shoes
Wear comfortable shoes with low heels. This will reduce joint compression, and prevent posture alignment disorders due to extra weight on the body.
A good amount of rest is vital to avoid hip pain in pregnancy. Take plenty of rest during the day if the pain does not let you sleep well at night. If you have a very busy day, the pain would be worse at night.
It is also very important for pregnant women to drink plenty of water and consume foods that contain a lot of calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.
Supplements with special vitamins should be recommended by your gynecologist.