Pregnancy is a time of exciting change. The imminent arrival of your little one fills you with anticipation while near and dear ones eagerly set out making plans. Yet, despite the joy, your body undergoes a level of transformation that can sometimes take the shine off. Aches and pains develop in strange places like your hips, which can make doing everyday things a nuisance and can even interfere with sleep. The good news is that it’s a natural progression of pregnancy and there are simple things you can do to reduce the discomfort.
Hip pain can develop at any stage of pregnancy although it’s more common during the second and third trimesters. It occurs as your body prepares itself for labor by releasing a hormone called relaxin that softens and relaxes tissues and ligaments. As your body expands to accommodate your growing baby, it can also apply pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs from the lower back all the way down the foot. Weight gain and poor posture can also contribute to hip pain.
One way to reduce hip pain is to do exercises that stretch the muscles and loosen tight hips. Yoga is a good choice because the poses can be adapted to suit your capability. They’re also gentle. Here are a few to try:
Note: Get the green signal from your doctor before starting an exercise regimen.
Prenatal massage is like a balm for aching hips! It relaxes the muscles, de-stresses you and just makes you feel better overall. Do keep in mind that it’s important to go to a trained therapist who knows the type of massage that’s safe during pregnancy. Blood volume increases significantly when pregnant as does the level of anticoagulants. These changes can increase the odds of developing blood clots that can dislodge with deep massage. A trained pregnancy massage therapist knows exactly what to do and what not to.
Warm baths increase blood circulation to painful areas like hips and lessen joint stiffness. They’re a great way to relax and de-stress too, which is important when pregnant. Whenever your hips develop pain, take a bath with water that’s warm and not hot as this can pose a risk to your baby. You can add Epsom salt to relieve muscle soreness.
Water keeps you buoyant and this is great during pregnancy as it takes the stress off joints. In the later part of pregnancy, standing and walking can be difficult as the added weight places a lot of pressure on the hips, back and legs. Water workouts are a good alternative to usual exercises as they allow you to work out without straining yourself. Shallow water walking, water jacks and lunges are some to try. Make sure to wear water socks to keep from slipping on the pool floor. Do consult your doctor before attempting water exercises.
Standing and walking for long periods can aggravate hip pain and contribute to poor posture, which, in turn, worsens hip pain. Try to rest whenever you need to. Sit or lie down with your back properly aligned. Use pillows and cushions for support. When sleeping, place a pillow under your tummy to keep from rolling forward. You can also place a thin pillow below your hips for cushioning.
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This goes without saying, whether you’re pregnant or not, but it’s even more important when you have hip pain. If you sleep on a mattress that sinks in and doesn’t conform to your hips, the pain will only increase. Poor mattress support can also affect your back as the spine can’t align properly.
What you need is a mattress like Nuvanna that conforms and supports with the perfect balance. It’s designed by a materials scientist with over 20 years of experience and features three layers that address three common sleep disruptors. The top layer regulates body temperature and keeps you cool with the help of phase-changing gel particles. The middle layer isolates motion so you don’t feel your bed partner’s movements. The bottom layer supports the entire body, including the hips and spine, and prevents you from sinking in.
Hip pain and body aches are common complaints during pregnancy and are usually nothing to worry about. And for all their discomfort, they can be managed quite well using the solutions we’ve given here. If they still don’t abate, you should speak to your doctor to rule out more serious concerns like preterm labor.