Back, Hip, and Pelvic Pain

At the time of pregnancy, a woman will complain of hip, back and pelvic pain due to the growing uterus placing pressure and extra weight on these arts of the body. For many women the pain is worsened during the third trimester when the fetus is fully grown and preparing to exit the uterus. These signs, additively, means the woman’s body is in preparation for labor, which is why it would be a reason for concern if it did not occur or occurred too early. Estrogen is a hormone that allows for connective tissue to relax as well as soften. Then the joints and ligaments between the pelvic bones begin to loosen, and with increased flexibility the baby’s passage way is created. Soreness a woman may feel after labor or during her third trimester is due to the postural changes the baby makes in utero.

Sciatic nerve pain is another common cause of hip discomfort in pregnancy. Due to the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve from the growing uterus, a woman may experience pain, numbness, and/or tingling in the buttocks, hips and/or thigh region. The common name for this problem is sciatica, and even if it is minor uneasiness, a pregnant woman should inform her physician so it may be monitored and documented. Many of these risk factors may be applicable to a consecutive pregnancy, so it is imperative for the mother’s health that she avoids further complications.

Second trimester hip pain may be associated with the round ligaments which holds a woman’s uterus in place. This pain may be characterized by sharp pain in the abdomen, hip and/or groin areas. Round ligament pain may be intensified with rapid movements or changes in position of the fetus in the uterus. Ways to alleviate these pains include:

  • Exercise
    • To strengthen back and muscles
      • Abdominal muscles
    • Raise hips above chest while lying on your back
  • Warm bath
  • Apply warm compresses to reduce sore and painful areas
  • In the third trimester, approaching the delivery date
    • Sleep on your side
    • Keep legs bent while sleeping
    • Keep knees bent during sleeping
  • Use pillows to support abdomen and upper leg
  • Avoid lying on your side
    • Worsens hip pain
  • Use a pillow or blanket at your back and sleep leaning against it
  • Reduce pressure on your hip as you sleep.

Hip pain accompanied by a pressure or soreness in pelvic area radiating towards the thighs before the 37th week of pregnancy, may be a sign of needing immediate care along with:

  • Risk of preterm labor
    • Abdominal cramping
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Lower abdominal pain is a huge risk factor
  • Lower backache extending to front sides of body without relief
  • Contractions that are unexpected every ten minutes
  • Vaginal discharge
    • Clear
    • Pink
    • Brown.

Women who are pregnant should not be alarmed by pain in their hip, pelvis or back, but they should inform their physician if the pain they experience is unusual or experienced in high intensity. Pregnant women residing in Denver should visit the Denver Holistic Center for more information. Pain can be good sign, however, unmanaged or misunderstood can be a complication.