Pregnancy is the time wherein the pregnant lady experiences various changes physically and mentally in the body. These changes cause pain in the different parts of the body, of which some are bearable to some extent, but some would be unbearable (not the labor pains). One such pain is hip pain, and studies said that these pains are due to weight gain in the body. The hormonal changes occurring in the body also result in hip pain. Because of the big bump present, the pregnant lady may sit or sleep in improper posture, which may also cause hip pain. Here in this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment of hip pain in detail.
What is Hip Pain, and Is it Common During Pregnancy:
Hip pain is the pain that is experienced in the hip joint or sometimes in the pelvic area. Sometimes this pain can be even felt in the groin and thighs. During pregnancy, the hip pain usually starts in the second trimester as your baby grows inside the womb and continues till the delivery. Not all women experience this pain, and only some pregnant ladies experience this pain because of the hormonal changes in the body. Most of the women during pregnancy worry about the hip pain, but to say this pain is quite common during pregnancy and often not a sign of complication. The study revealed that around 20 per cent of women experienced some type of hip pain during their pregnancy. (1)
Causes of Hip Pain During Pregnancy:
Hip pain usually is experienced during the second and third trimesters. If you experience this pain during the first trimester, it might not be because of the pregnancy, which may be related to some other condition. With the growing uterus, the sciatica nerve gets pressed, resulting in hip pain that shoots down till the leg. One good thing is that this pain vanishes itself soon after the delivery.
1. Excess Weight Gain:
During pregnancy, the bodyweight of the pregnant lady increases than usual. The usual weight gain is between 25-35 pounds during the pregnancy. Most importantly, this weight gain starts during the 2nd trimester. Because of this, the pregnant lady experiences discomfort in the hip resulting from hipping pain.
Relaxin is a hormone released during pregnancy. The word itself states that this hormone relaxes the muscles and tissues that connect your bones in the body. This hormone also relaxes the pelvic ligaments and pelvis to spread wide open for smooth delivery. These ligaments also connect the sacroiliac joints to the spine. Once these ligaments loosen, the pinching pain in the hip starts bothering the pregnant woman.
3. Improper Posture:
The posture of the pregnant lady changes with the increase in weight. Also, the pregnant lady aligns herself with the direction of the baby present inside the womb. This uneven or improper posture may lead to joint pains, especially hip pain, on both sides of the one side of the body.
4. Transient Osteoporosis:
The pregnant woman should regularly check on the calcium and potassium levels in her body. This is because som hip pains are caused due to the demineralization of the hip bones, which is called transient osteoporosis. If the calcium and potassium levels in the body decreases than the required limit, this condition may occur, leading to hip pain.
5. Sleeping Positions:
Doctors suggest the pregnant lady sleep on the left side of the body for the comfort of the baby present inside. Sleeping on the same side for hours may put pressure on the joints resulting in hip pain.
Prevention of Hip Pain During Pregnancy:
We have seen earlier that hip pain is caused because of various reasons during pregnancy. Some pains are due to the hormones, excess weight gain, standing or sitting in improper posture, etc. The hip pain occurring due to these can be prevented, some of the tips to avoid being
- Keep a check on the weight gain for every 15 days. Make sure that you don’t gain weight more than prescribed. For this, avoid eating foods containing excess fat in them.
- Practice a good posture, try wearing supportive shoes throughout the pregnancy. Avoid lifting heavyweights. Exercising is good during pregnancy, but take a few breaks while walking so that you don’t end up in a poor posture.
- Keep a check on calcium and potassium levels in the body. Eat foods that have high potassium and calcium content to prevent transient osteoporosis. It is better to consult a doctor before going if you experience transient osteoporosis.
- Use pillows for support while sleeping. Special U shaped, and C shaped pregnancy pillows are available in the market that can be used while sleeping.
Home Remedies for Hip Pain During Pregnancy:
The hip pain, which is experienced during pregnancy, heals itself soon after the delivery. This pain usually starts during the second trimester and continues until the end of the pregnancy.
Massaging the problematic area is one of the best ways to relieve from hip pain during pregnancy. Massaging helps in reducing the stiffness, facilitates the movement, and also increases the blood flow through the hip joints.
2. Warm Water and Compress:
Warm water is used to increase the temperature that can treat hip pain. With the increase in temperature, blood flow also increases in the hip region. Warmth can help lessen joint stiffness and muscle spasms. A homemade compress can be done by soaking a clean towel in hot water and massaging this soaked towel on the hip region for 10-15 minutes. Make sure that you do not apply this compressor on the stomach. Taking a bath in warm water also eases the hip pains. Consider adding Epsom salts to the warm water to release the tightened muscles.
3. Pain Relievers:
Basically, exercises are the best remedies for hip pains. Beyond exercises, the relief from hip pain comes from using the pain relievers. Use these pain relievers only after consulting your doctor.
See More: Carpal Tunnel While Pregnant
It is one of the best forms of exercise for any kind of pain. Yoga is not only beneficial for pregnant women but everyone. Scientifically, it is proved that doing yoga stretching helps loosen the tight hips providing relief in the hip region. Some of the recommended yoga poses for hip pain are
- Cow Pose
- Child’s pose
- Bound angle pose
5. Other exercises:
Apart from the yoga stretches, there are some of the exercises that you can try at home to get relief from hip pain.
- One forward leg bend
- Kegel exercises
- Seated chair one leg rise
6. Pelvic belt:
A supportive device that pregnant women can use to help support the hips that can prevent hip pain or give relief from hip pain. These pelvic belts are readily available in the market.
Tips for Relief of Hip Pain During Pregnancy:
We have a common saying that Prevention is better than cure, but sometimes the pain cannot be prevented. In such cases, follow some tips to get relief from hip pain.
- Place a body pillow between your bent legs just under the belly. This helps the spine recover from the pain giving you the relief.
- Make basic lunges and stretches that help restores the balance of the muscles which have been out of place during pregnancy.
- Use a U shaped or C shaped pregnancy pillow while sleeping. This helps in the proper posture of the body during sleep.
- Sleep on the air mattress. Studies proved that sleeping on the air mattress gives you relief from the hip and pelvic pain.
- Using ice packs can also give relief from the hip pain for one day.
See More: Chest Pain While Pregnant
When to Consult a Doctor:
Some days the hip pain may feel mild, and some other day the pain may drastically increase during pregnancy. When you experience a mild hip pain slowly start some of the home remedies for 2-3 days. Hip pain does not reduce overnight, and it takes at least three days for pain relief. If you feel that the pain is interfering with your daily activities, it is better to consult a doctor for treatment. If you experience severe hip pain during the 3rd trimester, do not neglect the pain as this may sometimes lead to preterm labor.
Finally, it can be said that hip pain during pregnancy is quite common because of the weight gain, and the hormone relaxin that gets released in the body. You don’t need to panic for mild hip pain. Instead, try out the home remedies, as mentioned in the article. Doing regular exercising and consuming a healthy diet will put all the aches at bay. Consult a doctor or chiropractor when the pain does not subside within four days or if the pain is severe in the final trimester. Hip pain subsides as soon as the delivery completes; this is because all the body parts come to their original positions after the birth. Before trying out any of the home remedies, consult your doctor in advance to take the necessary advice.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are just suggestions, and the website is no way responsible for the side effects it may cause. It is better to consult a doctor before you plan anything, especially when you are pregnant.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Q1. Is Hip Pain a Sign of Labor?
Ans: Hip pain is not always a sign of labor. If you experience the hip pain during the 1st trimester, then the pain may not occur because of pregnancy. In 2nd trimester the hip pain does not relate to labor. But, if you experience severe hip pain during the mid 3rd trimester, this may be a sign of labor. In such cases, immediately rush to the hospital for treatment.
Q2. Is Hip Pain a Sign of Pregnancy?
Ans: Hip pain in women does not always relate to pregnancy. There might be various reasons for hip pain in women. Only in some cases, this may be taken as a sign of pregnancy. If pregnant, the pelvic region starts to enlarge, resulting in hip pain during the first trimester.