Pregnancy can be a beautiful experience, but it’s not without its challenges. One of the most common complaints during pregnancy is hip pain.
It’s so common that you might be surprised to learn that up to 50 per cent of pregnant women experience hip pain at some point. Various factors can cause hip pain during pregnancy. Addressing it as soon as possible is essential to ensure a comfortable pregnancy and delivery.
Causes of Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Hip pain during pregnancy can be caused by various factors related to the changes in your body. As your pregnancy progresses, your body undergoes many changes. Changes include weight gain, changes in posture, and hormonal shifts.
These changes can put stress on your hips and result in pain or discomfort. In this section, we’ll examine the common causes of hip pain during pregnancy, so you can better understand what’s happening in your body and how to address the pain.
Changes in posture and weight distribution
One of the most significant changes during pregnancy is weight gain, which can affect your posture and weight distribution. As your baby grows, your body compensates by shifting your centre of gravity forward, which can put more pressure on your hips.
This shift can also cause your lower back to curve more than usual, putting additional stress on your hips and causing pain. As your uterus expands, it can push on your hips and cause discomfort. Additionally, as your body produces the hormone relaxin, it can loosen the ligaments in your pelvis, leading to instability and hip pain.
During pregnancy, your body produces the hormone relaxin, which helps to relax the ligaments and joints in your pelvis to prepare for childbirth. While this hormone is essential for the delivery process, it can also cause pain and discomfort in the hips.
As your ligaments and joints become more flexible, they may shift out of their normal positions, leading to instability and pain in your hips. Relaxin can also affect the muscles and tendons surrounding your hips, making them more prone to strain and injury.
The increased flexibility of your pelvis and hips can also lead to misalignment, which can cause hip pain and discomfort.
Pregnant woman having pelvic pains
Round ligament pain
Round ligament pain is another common cause of hip pain during pregnancy. The round ligaments are on either side of the uterus and support the growing baby. As your baby grows, the round ligaments stretch and can cause sharp, stabbing pain on one or both sides of your hips.
This pain is usually felt more when you change positions or move suddenly, such as when getting up from a chair or bed. Round ligament pain is more common during the second trimester but can occur at any point during pregnancy. It’s generally a normal part of pregnancy.
It doesn’t usually require medical treatment, but if you’re experiencing severe pain or discomfort, it’s always a good idea to check with your healthcare provider.
Sciatica is a condition that can cause hip pain during pregnancy. It occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from your lower back to your feet, becomes compressed or irritated. This compression can be caused by a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, or even something as simple as the pressure of your growing uterus on the nerve.
Sciatica typically causes a sharp, shooting pain radiating from your lower back to your hips and legs. The pain can be severe and may be accompanied by numbness, tingling, or weakness in the affected area.
Sciatica during pregnancy is often temporary and can be treated with stretches, exercises, and physical therapy. However, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to rule out any other possible causes of your pain.
Pelvic girdle pain
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a condition that causes pain and discomfort in the pelvic region, including the hips. PGP is caused by the relaxation of the ligaments and joints in the pelvis, which is necessary to prepare for childbirth. However, this relaxation can cause instability in the pelvic joints, leading to pain and discomfort.
PGP can range from mild to severe and may be felt in the hips, lower back groin, or pubic area. It can also cause difficulty with mobility and may affect your ability to perform daily activities. PGP is more common in the later stages of pregnancy but can occur anytime.
Treatment for PGP includes exercises, physical therapy, and support devices such as a pelvic support belt or crutches. In severe cases, medication may be prescribed. It’s important to discuss any pelvic pain or discomfort with your healthcare provider to determine the cause and appropriate treatment.
Symptoms of Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Hip pain during pregnancy can present itself in various ways, and the symptoms can vary from person to person. It’s important to pay attention to your body and understand the signs and symptoms of hip pain so that you can seek treatment if needed.
In this section, we’ll look closer at the common symptoms of hip pain during pregnancy, so you can better understand what to look out for and how to manage your pain.
- Dull or sharp pain in one or both hips
- Pain that worsens with movement or activity
- Pain when sitting for long periods
- Stiffness or limited range of motion in hips
- Difficulty walking or standing for extended periods
Left Hip Pain During Pregnancy vs Right Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Hip pain during pregnancy can affect one or both sides of your body, and the symptoms may differ depending on the location of the pain.
It’s not uncommon to experience more pain on one side of your body than the other. The reasons for this are multifactorial and can depend on the baby’s position, the mother’s position, and other individual factors.
The causes of left hip pain during pregnancy can be similar to those of right hip pain. But there may be slight differences in the symptoms and causes. For example, left hip pain may be caused by pressure from the baby’s head or position. While the baby’s limbs or position may cause right hip pain.
Factors such as posture, weight distribution, and hormonal changes can also contribute to hip pain on either side of the body.
It’s essential to address any hip pain during pregnancy, regardless of the location. Talk to your healthcare provider about your symptoms and work with them to develop a treatment plan. They can help identify the underlying cause of your pain and recommend exercises, stretches, or other treatments to help manage your symptoms.
How to Relieve Hip Pain During Pregnancy
Hip pain during pregnancy can be challenging, especially as your body undergoes significant changes. However, you can use various techniques and strategies to help alleviate your discomfort and manage your pain. This section will explore some practical tips and tricks for relieving hip pain during pregnancy.
Whether you’re experiencing mild discomfort or severe pain, there are several things you can do to help improve your quality of life during this time.
Image Source: iStock
Prenatal exercises and stretches
Prenatal exercises and stretches are a great way to help relieve hip pain during pregnancy. Regular exercise can help strengthen your muscles and improve flexibility, reducing pain and discomfort.
However, speaking with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine, especially during pregnancy, is essential. They can help you determine which exercises are safe and appropriate for your needs.
Some exercises and stretches that may help relieve hip pain during pregnancy include prenatal yoga, walking, swimming, and pelvic tilts. These exercises can help improve posture, increase circulation, and reduce tension in your hips and lower back.
Additionally, stretching your hips and legs before bed or when you wake up can help alleviate stiffness and promote relaxation.
Remember, listening to your body and avoiding any exercises or stretches that cause pain or discomfort is important. If unsure which activities are safe, speak with your healthcare provider or a prenatal fitness specialist for guidance.
Prenatal yoga is a gentle form of yoga that is specifically designed for pregnant women. It’s a safe and effective way to help relieve hip pain during pregnancy and other pregnancy-related discomforts such as back pain, fatigue, and stress. Prenatal yoga focuses on breathing techniques, relaxation, and gentle movements that help improve flexibility, strength, and balance.
During prenatal yoga, you’ll learn poses specifically designed for pregnant women, such as cat-cow, child’s pose, and modified warrior. These poses can help alleviate tension in your hips and lower back, improve your posture and prepare your body for labour and delivery. Additionally, many prenatal yoga classes include relaxation and meditation techniques, which can help reduce stress and promote better sleep.
Speaking with your healthcare provider before starting any new exercise routine, including prenatal yoga, is important. They can help you determine if prenatal yoga is safe and recommend which poses to avoid. Additionally, attend a class for pregnant women led by a certified prenatal yoga instructor.
Pelvic floor exercises to manage pregnancy incontinence
Heat or cold therapy
Heat or cold therapy can be a helpful way to alleviate hip pain during pregnancy, depending on the underlying cause of your pain.
Cold therapy, such as using an ice pack or a cold compress, can help reduce inflammation and numb pain. This can be helpful if you’re experiencing hip pain due to a strain or injury. Apply the cold pack to the affected area for 15 to 20 minutes several times daily. Be sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel or cloth before applying it to your skin to avoid skin damage.
Heat therapy, such as a warm compress or bath, can help relax tense muscles and improve blood flow. This can be helpful if you’re experiencing hip pain due to tight muscles or poor circulation. Apply a warm compress or take a warm bath for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, several times a day.
It’s important to use caution when using heat or cold therapy during pregnancy, as excessive heat or cold can harm your baby. Always wrap the cold or warm compress in a towel or cloth before applying it to your skin, and avoid applying it to your abdomen or lower back. Additionally, speak with your healthcare provider before using heat or cold therapy to ensure it’s safe for you and your baby.
Prenatal massage is a type of massage therapy specifically designed for pregnant women. It’s a safe and effective way to help alleviate hip pain during pregnancy and other pregnancy-related discomforts such as back pain, fatigue, and stress. A licensed massage therapist typically performs prenatal massage with specialised training in working with pregnant women.
During a prenatal massage, you’ll typically lie on your side or use a unique pregnancy pillow to help support your belly and relieve pressure on your hips and lower back. The massage therapist will use gentle, targeted pressure to help relieve tension and pain in your hips and other body areas. Additionally, prenatal massage can help improve circulation, reduce swelling, and promote relaxation.
Speaking with your healthcare provider before getting a prenatal massage is essential, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy or medical conditions.
Additionally, be sure to find a licensed massage therapist with experience working with pregnant women and is familiar with the proper techniques and safety precautions for prenatal massage.
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points of the body. It’s a safe and effective way to help alleviate hip pain during pregnancy and other pregnancy-related discomforts such as back pain, nausea, and headaches.
Acupuncture is typically performed by a licensed acupuncturist who has received specialized training in working with pregnant women.
During an acupuncture session, the acupuncturist will insert needles into specific points on your body, which are believed to correspond to particular organs and systems in the body. This can help promote better energy flow and balance and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.
Acupuncture can help alleviate hip pain by reducing inflammation, promoting circulation, and encouraging the release of endorphins, which are natural painkillers.
Speaking with your healthcare provider before getting acupuncture is essential, especially if you have a high-risk pregnancy or medical conditions. In addition, be sure to find a licensed acupuncturist with experience working with pregnant women and who is familiar with the proper techniques and safety precautions for prenatal acupuncture.
Support belts and cushions
Image Source: iStock
Using support belts and cushions can be a helpful way to alleviate hip pain during pregnancy by providing additional support and cushioning to your hips and lower back. Support belts are typically worn around your hips and lower back and can help distribute the weight of your growing belly more evenly, reducing strain on your hips and lower back.
Support cushions, such as a pregnancy pillow or wedge pillow, can help support your belly and hips while you’re sleeping, allowing you to maintain a more comfortable and supportive sleeping position.
When to See a Doctor
While hip pain during pregnancy is common, certain warning signs and symptoms may indicate a more serious condition. It might warrant a visit to your healthcare provider. If you experience any of the following symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention:
- Severe or persistent pain. If your hip pain is severe or persistent or gets worse over time, it may be a sign of a more severe condition.
- Swelling or redness. If you notice swelling or redness around your hip joint, it may indicate an infection or inflammation.
- Fever. If you have a fever and hip pain, it may indicate an infection.
- Numbness or tingling. It may be a sign of nerve compression or damage if you experience numbness or tingling in your hips, legs, or feet.
- Difficulty walking or standing. If your hip pain makes it difficult to walk or stand, or if you experience weakness in your legs, it may be a sign of a more serious condition.
If you experience any of these symptoms or if your hip pain is causing significant discomfort or impacting your daily activities, speak with your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause of your hip pain. It recommends appropriate treatment options to help alleviate your discomfort. It also ensures the health and safety of you and your baby.
Image Source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.