You might already be dealing with some of the negative side effects of bringing new life into this world, but one of the worst ones you’ll experience is hip pain during pregnancy.
This frustrating, painful ailment can cause a number of problems in your everyday life, and just adds unnecessary stress and discomfort to an already difficult 9 months.
It can be caused by quite a few different things, or any combination of them. At a certain point, hip pain becomes an inevitable part of your pregnancy.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to relieve hip pain during your pregnancy, and we will share some of our favorites with you today.
What causes hip pain during pregnancy?
There are a few things that cause hip pain during pregnancy, including the pregnancy hormone relaxin, the loosening of your ligaments, gait, sciatica, round ligament pain, and changes in your sleeping habits.
How the hormone relaxin causes hip pain
The hormone relaxin is one of the main culprits when it comes to hip pain, as it does exactly what the name suggests. It causes your joints and muscles to relax and loosen up, making room for the baby growing inside you.
This is great and all when it comes to delivery, as your body is preparing to ease a child through the birth canal.
But, it can cause serious discomfort and pain throughout the entirety of your pregnancy, namely in your back, knees, and hips.
Your ligaments that connect the sacroiliac joints will loosen up during pregnancy to aid in the birthing process.
The sacroiliac joints connect your pelvis and your spine, and as everything loosens up due to relaxin, it leads to hip pain.
Unfortunately, not much can be done to prevent this, as it’s a natural part of pregnancy.
Gait (waddling) can lead to hip pain
As your baby grows, it will affect how you do everything, including something as simple as walking.
It becomes more obvious during later pregnancy as you gain more weight and experience more changes in your body, but you will likely develop a “waddle” of sorts. This waddle, or gait, will lead to hip pain, as the movement pattern is unnatural.
A common culprit behind hip pain during pregnancy includes increased pressure on the sciatic nerve. There are two sciatic nerves in your body that run from your lower back to your feet. When a growing fetus puts excess pressure on these nerves, it’s not uncommon to experience pain, numbness, or even a tingling sensation that radiates from the buttocks and hip joints down the thighs to the feet.
Fortunately, as you get closer to your due date, your little one will change position in your uterus, likely reducing the hip pain and back pain you’re feeling.
Note: Always listen to your body and slow down if your sciatic pain is seemingly getting worse. If you experience symptoms like dizziness, headaches, and bleeding, seek medical attention immediately. While sciatica is quite common during pregnancy, it’s always best to check in with your obstetricans when something feels off to rule out things like preterm labor.
Round Ligament Pain
Another possible cause of hip pain that women experience during pregnancy — especially in the second trimester — is round ligament pain. This painful ailment is characterized by sharp or jabbing pains in the abdomen, groin area, and hips that are either on one side or both. One of the most common complaints during pregnancy, the pain might intensify with quick movements or sudden changes in position.
Sleeping habits in later pregnancy
If you aren’t already dealing with it, you’ll likely struggle with insomnia at some point during your pregnancy. You’ll be tossing and turning, running to the bathroom throughout the night, and fighting painful leg cramps.
Eventually, you’ll get to the point where you’re willing to do anything to fall asleep - including sacrificing proper posture and body position to get comfortable.
During pregnancy, sleeping on your side is pretty much the only comfortable position. This is especially true in the third trimester when your bump grows and the baby puts pressure on certain parts of your body.
But, it can lead to nasty hip pain. This is because of the basic anatomy of your body, and the position your knees are in when you lay on your side. We’ll cover a few ways to combat this shortly.
How can I relieve hip pain during pregnancy?
There are lots of lifestyle changes and quick things you can try. Some pregnant women try to take tylenol for hip pain during pregnancy, or any variation of anti inflammatory or over-the-counter pain reliever.
This may provide some minor temporary relief, but there are better ways to combat hip pain. These don’t include any sort of drugs or products that could cause adverse effects to your growing baby, so you don’t have to worry at all!
Improving your body position during sleep
One of the number one ways to relieve hip pain during pregnancy is by improving your posture or positioning during sleep.
If you were to ask any professional what the best position is for sleeping, they’d most likely tell you flat on your back with a pillow under your knees to create a slight angle. You want to remain as neutral as possible.
Obviously, as your pregnancy progresses, this is not feasible. You’ll eventually need to sacrifice good body positioning in order to get comfortable enough to fall asleep. But, you can try using a pregnancy body pillow.
This will help you keep your hips straight and maintain the normal contours of your back. You can also try a pillow between your legs to relieve pressure on your hips.
Prenatal yoga and pilates
We cannot stress enough the importance of exercise during pregnancy. Even just a daily walk is more than most women get while they’re expecting.
But, sometimes walking will only exacerbate your hip pain, especially if you have a gait or waddle, like we discussed above.
Special prenatal yoga and pilates classes can do wonders for your hip pain.
These activities will help stabilize your stressed joints, allowing you to find relief. You can also try water aerobics, because exercising in a pool will take a lot of stress of your joints while allowing you to remain active.
Take a Warm Bath
You may find that taking a warm bath or using warm compresses helps ease pain naturally by relaxing the sore muscles in the hip area and pelvic area. Of course, hot baths aren’t recommended during pregnancy due to the risk of overheating, but warm baths are generally A-OK for pain relief — just be sure to get the go-ahead from your healthcare provider first!
Pro Tip: For an undeniably indulgent and relaxing experience, we recommend tossing in a few sprinkles of 8 Sheep Organics’ Therapeutic Bath Salts. Blended with epsom salts, natural sea salts, and other healing ingredients, these salts can work magic to ease muscle aches, pains, and tension.
Get a Prenatal Massage
To help soothe your aches and pains, you may want to consider getting a prenatal massage. This type of massage therapy is specifically designed for pregnant bodies throughout all stages of pregnancy. Whether you’re in the first trimester or third trimester, a full-body rub-down doesn’t only feel amazing, but it boosts blood circulation, improves flexibility, and reduces fatigue.
In simpler terms, a prenatal massage may be your saving grace to combat hip pain! Just be sure to find an experienced massage therapist (or even a chiropractor) who is knowledgeable in working with pregnant patients.
Treating hip pain with magnesium
One of the best ways to combat hip pain during pregnancy is with self massage or baths. Using epsom salt or magnesium with a warm bath can really help ease some of the pain in your hips. But, self massage with a magnesium lotion or balm is the best approach to treating sore, painful hips.
What is the best magnesium lotion for pregnant women?
8 Sheep Organics Sleepy Body Lotion is the best way to unwind after a long day and prepare your body and mind for deep, restful sleep.
It is handcrafted in small batches, and does wonders for hip, back, and ligament pain. It also prevents leg cramps and restless leg syndrome, while moisturizing your skin and easing stress away. It’s completely organic, and includes a 60 day guarantee.
Pregnancy and labor massage | PMC.
Anatomy, Abdomen and Pelvis, Uterus Round Ligament - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf.