Pregnancy hip pain

Why do women suffer from hip pain during pregnancy?

Hip pain during pregnancy is common for a variety of reasons. Although bodyweight may vary over different parts of your life this almost always occurs gradually, whether gaining or losing weight. This means that the joints, along with stabilising soft tissue around the joints and muscles, all have time to adapt to these different stresses.

On average during pregnancy, women may gain as much as eleven to eighteen kilograms. Furthermore, the majority of this weight gain is over the second and third trimester. This signifies very rapid weight gain and due to this, the hip joints may struggle to adapt to these increased stresses.

The second cause for an increase in hip pain during pregnancy is that a hormone known as relaxin is released in significant quantities. Relaxin relaxes and softens the ligaments and joint capsules around the pelvis allowing for an easier passage of the baby in childbirth. In spite of this obvious advantage, hip pain during your pregnancy may be related to this weakening of the pelvis and hip joint capsule and ligaments.

In order to maintain appropriate balance with the baby bump, pregnant women will either tilt their pelvic forwards (anterior pelvic tilt) or backwards (posterior pelvic tilt) and flex their knees. These adaptations place the hip joints in an abnormal posture for the majority of the pregnancy and is, therefore, a third possible contributory factor.

In very rare circumstances when women are unable to weight bear due to hip pain or instability they are advised to offload their weight and seek an urgent healthcare consultation.

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