Of all the pregnancy ailments (of which, let’s face it, there can be quite a few), hip and back pain in pregnancy is definitely one of the most common, particularly in the third trimester.
One of the most common reasons for back and hip pain during pregnancy is due to the additional weight pressing down on your pelvic floor region and the result of your body being put under more physical strain as you rapidly approach your due date. It may also be down to those pesky pregnancy hormones, with a hormone called relaxin being released to help loosen the ligaments in preparation for labor. Whilst this hormone can be helpful for your pelvic floor, it can also put additional pressure on your joints, particularly if you over exert yourself.
Here are some simple, practical ways you can reduce your likelihood of experiencing back and hip pain in the later stages of pregnancy.
- Ditch the heels – Whilst dressing up and slipping on your favourite pair of high heeled stilettos can do wonders for your confidence, walking in heels won’t do anything to help your balance, hip alignment or your potentially swollen feet in the third trimester. With a rapidly growing bump, weight increase, your centre of gravity changing and the risk of the occasional dizzy spell, opting for more comfortable flats or a lower kitten heel will be a far safer and more sensible option.
- Yoga – If you are experiencing back or hip pain, gentle exercise such as yoga or body balance can really help both your body and mind. Prenatal yoga (with exercises tailored to ensure they are suitable for pregnancy) is often chosen as a calm and relaxing choice for third trimester. Not only can this form of yoga help your posture, balance and core strength, but can also loosen your joints and muscles and increase your level of flexibility. Yoga can also introduce a variety of really helpful breathing and relaxation techniques which can prove extremely useful during the earlier stages of labor.
- Swimming – If you are experiencing back or hip pain, the prospect of your usual exercise such as running or aerobics may be far from appealing. This is where swimming is a great option instead – the anti-gravity sensation of a calm breast stroke can be a really relaxing way to soothe aches and pains and stay active without the risk of physical strain. It can also help with any swelling you may be experiencing, and help moderate your body temperature in warmer weather.
- Sleeping positions – As your body grows, you may find that you struggle to get comfortable at night time due to the back or hip pain you are experiencing. Pregnancy pillows can really help here, supporting the weight of your bump and ensuring your spine and hips are properly aligned whilst lying on your side. Many pregnancy pillows are multi-functional too, making a great breastfeeding support or pillow for after your baby arrives.
- Treat yourself to a prenatal massage – Finally, if you are finding that the pain is becoming really hard to manage, it may be time to treat yourself to a prenatal massage, a treatment specifically tailored to ease aches and pains related to pregnancy whilst being safe for you and your baby. Not only will a prenatal massage reduce toxins and soothe your aching muscles, but it can also help reduce the amount of stress hormone you experience, helping you to feel more calm and relaxed as you approach your due date.
Often, contrary to what you may expect, keeping up a form of gentle exercise and staying active is key. If you are still working, ensure that your workstation is safe and that you are not heavy lifting or doing anything that could put additional strain on your body. Try and stay calm and relax whenever you can – your baby will be here before you know it!