During pregnancy, the pregnant lady is bound to experience various changes in the body. Some of the changes, like the formation of mouth ulcers, are bearable while some are unbearable. The physical changes, weight gain in the body can result in pain in joints and muscles. The hormonal changes occurring in the body also result in joint pains; the excessive fluid in the body sometimes may result in discomfort in the hands, which is termed as carpal tunnel syndrome. Because of the big bump present, the pregnant lady may sit or sleep in improper posture, which may also cause joint pains. Here in this article, we will discuss the causes and treatment of the joint pains in detail.
What is Joint Pain, and Is It Common During Pregnancy:
Joints are a part of the body where two bones meet. These joints are responsible for the movement of the bones in the body. Shoulders, hips, knees, and elbows are part of joints in the body. The pain due to soreness or stiffness or aches at the joints can be termed as joint pains. The achy joints are quite common during pregnancy because of the weight gain and hormonal changes occurring in the body. The weight gain during pregnancy will exert pressure on the knee joints and ankle that may result in mild to severe joint pains.
Causes for Joint Pains During Pregnancy:
Joint pains have become a common problem not only in pregnant women but also in non-pregnant women. But, these pains are relatively more experienced by women during pregnancy. The reasons or causes for these joint pains are listed down.
- Excess weight gain: During pregnancy, the bodyweight of the pregnant lady increases than usual. Most importantly, this weight gain starts at the end of the 2nd trimester. Because of this, the pressure exerted on the knees and ankles increases resulting in the joint pains.
- Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid): This is a condition wherein the thyroid glands do not produce enough thyroid hormone resulting in excessive weight gain. And, because of the excessive weight gain, joint pains start to occur.
- Carpal tunnel Syndrome: During pregnancy, the fluid body increases, which exerts pressure on the wrist leading to pain in both hands and wrist.
- Improper posture: Doctors suggest pregnant to sleep on the left side of the body to give a proper cushion to the baby. Sleeping for a longer time on the same side makes the body stiff, causing joint pains, especially in the hips.
- During pregnancy, the ovaries release a hormone called relaxin that prepares the pelvic muscles by stretching and relaxing the tendons. The other side of this hormone is that relaxin loosens the ligaments around the joints putting additional strain on the joints, which may result in joint pains.
- Sacroiliac joint pain is a type of pain that is caused because of the uterus and the weight of the baby, resulting in lower back pain.
See More: Stomach Bug In Pregnancy
Types Of Joints Pains During Pregnancy:
Let’s the different type of joints pains have face women while pregnant.
1. Finger Joint Pain During Pregnancy:
Water gain, in addition to the weight gain, increases stiffness in the feet, hips, knees, and ankles. It leads to increased pressure at the wrist, and hands and fingers triggering immense pain, leading to finger joint pain during pregnancy. You may even experience tingling in the fingers or numbness in your hands and feet caused by fluid gain. Women experiencing finger joint pain during pregnancy have to consult your doctor to identify and cure any underlying issues; also you make it a point to notify them about any sudden swelling or water weight gain in your hands or face or particularly in the legs.
2. Sacroiliac Joint Pain in Pregnancy:
Sacroiliac joint pain is also caused during pregnancy, sacroiliac joints are the joints located at the lower back at the 2 dimples.
The sacroiliac pain during pregnancy can occur on one or both sides of your back and is often a deep pain. Few pregnant women experience immense pain radiating down to the hip which extends down the back of the thigh. Sacroiliac pain can start during any trimester but it usually begins during the second trimester and it increases becomes more intense by the end of the third trimester.
Sacroiliac pain usually resolves within 3 months post-childbirth except in a few cases where it can become chronic and disabling. Most women also experience hip joint pain pregnancy in their second or third trimester. It is usually caused due to loosening of the ligaments holding together the sacroiliac joints, which connect your spine to your pelvis.
3. Pelvic Pain In Pregnancy:
Discomfort or pain in the pelvic region is also pretty common during pregnancy. It is a common phenomenon as the ligaments in the pelvic region are stretching while the hormone levels are changing and the organs around are shifting to create space for your growing uterus.
4. Hip Joint Pain During Pregnancy:
Hip joint pain pregnancy is also experienced because; usually by the end of the third trimester the hormone named relaxin causes the pelvis to loosen, particularly at the pubic bone. This happens because the body prepares itself for the birth of the baby. However, in rare cases this process becomes exaggerated and women experience extreme pain by the end of pregnancy or in the early post-partum period.
Home Remedies for Joint Pains During Pregnancy:
Usually, joint pains get reduce themselves by doing some simple exercises, but during pregnancy, these exercises may not work out. Hence, there are some home remedies to treat sore injuries and joint pains.
Massaging the problematic area is one of the best ways to relieve joint pain. Massaging helps in reducing the stiffness, facilitates the movement, and also increases the blood flow through the joints.
2. Hot and cold therapy:
Take a hot shower or massage the problematic area with hot packs. Alternatively, you can also use ice packs at the place where you experience joint pain.
3. Eat food rich in omega-3 fatty acids:
Consuming foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids can prevent joint pains during pregnancy. Some of the foods are fish, eggs, walnuts, yogurt, etc.
4. Herbal Supplements:
Some herbal supplements like ginger extracts can be used that may relieve joint pains. There is no scientific confirmation for this, but most of the women during pregnancy follow this remedy.
Wearing proper footwear can also ease joint pains. Avoid wearing heels during pregnancy. Some outlets provide special footwear for pregnant women for joint pains.
Exercising in any form during pregnancy is very beneficial for the pregnant lady and the unborn baby. Light exercises can improve muscle movements and flexibility in joints. Swimming is considered as one of the best exercises to perform for the joint pains during pregnancy.
7. Elevate the feet when you sleep:
Having a good night’s sleep is essential for a pregnant lady. A well-rested body can ease all the body pains during the night. Additionally, if you have severe joint pains, elevate the legs and place pillows under the feet for proper blood flow. You can also use pregnancy pillows such as ‘U’ shaped or ‘C’ shaped pillows while sleeping.
8. Use some splints on your hands and knees to relieve from joint pains. Also, you can try for knee supports if you experience severe joint pains.
See More: Arthritis During Pregnancy
How To Avoid Joint Pains During Pregnancy:
There are several multivitamins and health products that are available both online and offline that help in providing appropriate nutrients to your body as well as help you to deal with joint pains. These products help you to avoid and even to reduce joint pains to a great extent, but it is always better to consult a professional and do a little research on the matter so that you can ascertain the company’s goodwill in the market before using its products.
The best way to deal with joint pains is by starting to eat healthier food during the first trimester itself. By starting to eat healthy from the first trimester itself you are allowing your body to get the necessary nutrition it needs to move and stay strong during your entire second trimester as well as the third trimester period. Though it requires much more time and attention to go about things this way, it is much safer and more rewarding and helps to keep your health in check.
There is a number of ways that help you to deal with joint pain successfully at home. Some of these ways are listed below.
Drinking plenty of milk during the period of pregnancy gives your body the calcium it needs to keep your bones strong. You can also eat carrots and apples which help to do the same with their calcium levels. Drinking milk helps to stabilize calcium levels in your body allowing you to keep your bones strong and healthy in turn reducing the chances of joint pain. Incorporate this habit early on during your pregnancy for the best results making it an easy remedy for joint pain while pregnant.
Eating plenty of greens is not only a healthier way of going about things but it also helps you to get the nutrition you need in order to keep all your bodily functions going stronger than ever. Try and tuck into a large salad from time to time or incorporate it into your daily diet for the best results making a joint pain in pregnancy a trivial matter.
Yoga is a great way to keep joint pains at bay. It has been certified as pregnancy safe so it is easy to do at the luxury of your home. Taking the help and opinion of a professional is advised before starting any kind of physical exercises.
See More: Ovarian Cancer While Pregnant
How to Treat Joint Pains During Pregnancy:
In some cases, natural home remedies will not relieve joint pains. In such instances trying allopathic treatment can alleviate the joint pains. Acetaminophen is a possible medication that can be tried for mild joint pains. Remember one thing that, it is essential to limit the dosage of the drug during pregnancy as this may affect the liver. Also, a pregnant woman during her pregnancy takes at least 2-3 pills for vitamins and immunity. Consuming the joint pain pills may react with regular tablets resulting in complications. Hence, consult your doctor before taking any joint pain medications. You can also try using pain relief ointments for the joint pains.
When to Consult a Doctor:
Some days the joint pain may feel mild, and some other day the pain drastically may increase during pregnancy. When you feel joint pain, slowly start some of the home remedies for 2-3 days. Joint pains do not subside overnight, and it takes at least three days for pain relief. Try home remedies such as massage, hot and cold therapy, and acupuncture. Even after three days, if you still experience the pain immediately, rush to your doctor for advanced treatment.
The bottom line is that joint pains during pregnancy are quite natural because of the weight gain happening in the body. You don’t need to panic for mild joint pains, instead, try out the home remedies as mentioned in the article. Also, don’t stress out your body too much the entire day. Do regular exercise and consume a healthy diet. Consult a doctor when the pain does not subside within four days. Before trying out any of the home remedies, consult your doctor in advance to take the necessary advice.
Frequently Asked Questions and Answers:
Q1. Why do joint pains occur during pregnancy?
Ans: Joint pains are common phenomena occurring during pregnancy. This is because of the weight gain, hormonal changes happening in the body. Working women who stress out too much at the workplace carry joint pains very often.
Q2. In which trimester a pregnant woman experience joint pains?
Ans: Joint pains usually start at the end of the 2nd trimester. This is the time the baby bump starts increasing, and the pregnant lady starts putting on some weight. Apart from this, a pregnant lady may experience mild joint pains throughout the gestational period because of the hormonal changes happening in the body.
Q3. Which exercises are good for joint pains?
Ans: Swimming is considered as one of the best exercises for relief in joint pains. But not all pregnant ladies prefer swimming. Hence walking can be done regularly, and some basic stretching exercises can relieve from joint pains.
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.