The long 9-month road of pregnancy will undoubtedly lead to a woman developing all different aches and pains. One big complaint heard in the clinic is that of hip pain. There is no doubt that the body is undergoing some major changes in its preparation for safe labor and delivery for the baby and mother. Let’s discuss some of those changes and some simple exercises to help relieve the discomfort.
Major changes occurring:
- The body releases hormones that soften and relax the connective tissue surrounding joints in the hips- by loosening the ligaments and joints that surround the bones, one’s pelvis will become more flexible
- Due to the enlargement of one’s uterus, there is increased pressure placed on the sciatic nerve which can cause increased nerve pain into the lower back, hips and lower extremities
- There are several thick ligaments that help support the growing womb and uterus throughout pregnancy known as the round ligament. This ligament becomes almost like a rubber band by becoming thick and more supportive, thus leading to pelvic and hip pain often seen in 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
- Weight gain is healthy and common with the most growth in the 3rd trimester leading to changes in pelvic positioning and one’s center of gravity. This places extra weight through the hips often leading to inner groin pain and hip pain.
- Increased movement of the growing baby and positioning that they choose can have an immediate and lasting effect on the comfort of the mother
What exercises can one do to help limit the discomfort?
- Clams: while lying on your side knees bent and keeping feet together, separate your knees slowly and bring them back together. To add some resistance, place a band above the knees. 3×10 reps
- Bridges: while laying on your back with knees in hook-lying position, engage your core and lift your hips up off the floor. While you have your hips in the air, create tension in your hamstrings by imagining a magnetic pull between your heels and your buttocks. Hold for 5 seconds and return to your back. 3×10 reps
- Ball Squeezes: while sitting bend both knees and place a rolled-up towel or ball between your knees. Using your inner thighs, squeeze the ball for a 10-second count, relax and repeat. 10×10 second holds
-Kaitlin Iversen, PT, DPT (Wilmette)