Why do Pregnant Hips Hurt?

If you are or have been pregnant, you may have asked the question:

Why do my HIPS HURT?

Today I am here to give you 3 of the MOST common reasons for hip pain during pregnancy:

1. Changing base of support (BOS)
As your body changes, the stresses placed on your pelvis and hips also change. Your base of support is the area that forms base under the trunk, connecting you to the ground (usually it’s your feet!). As the size of your body changes, its position over your base of support moves toward the front, and that alters the forces that go through the muscles, tendons, and ligaments of your hips and pelvis. This can cause increased load and strain on your glutes, hip flexors, hamstrings, spinal muscles, etc…
The rapid change in load distribution (mass over base) as baby grows can cause tension and irritation of the tendons and muscles, resulting in strain, inflammation, and pain.
Where you feel discomfort will depend on how YOUR body chooses to handle the added stress – it has multiple options and different bodies may choose different paths! Some better than others 😉

As PTs, we specialize in helping you prepare for and adapt to these changes, as well as relieve the inevitable “growing pains” 😜 of pregnancy. But more about that later.

2. Inadequate hip or core strength
If you do not have adequate hip/core strength to adapt to your changing belly and base of support, you will end up with more “wobble” (or waddle 😉) in your pelvis, especially with walking or running. That excess wobble (lateral shift) causes excess friction between your tendons, IT band, and a structure called your trochanteric bursa. Excess friction on the bursa over time will cause inflammation called bursitis. If you feel sharp hot or pinpointed pain right over the bony part of your outer hip, it’s very likely you have bursitis! You will be most symptomatic with lying on your side, walking, standing on one leg (usually noticed when dressing) or putting any pressure over the bursa.
Along with bursitis can come tendonitis of any of the tendons surrounding the hip joint.
Since PT’s have existed we have been dealing with this type of hip pain!

We reduce inflammation, bring in blood flow, promote healing, and build strength in a way that does not aggravate so that your pelvis can stabilize better and you can have a more comfortable remainder of your pregnancy (or life in general)!
If you’re having annoying hip pain come see us! Don’t wait for it to get worse! Book Now

3. Nerve pain
Hip pain may be referred pain from the lumbar spine or nerve roots! The relaxin in your system along with the changing posture and forces through your spine, or even the position of baby’s body parts can compress OR traction the nerves, causing irritation as they leave the spine and travel to the legs.

Pain from these nerves may be felt anywhere from the low back to the feet, including the hips, buttocks and thighs (or even into the vulva!).
One type of nerve pain is called “referred pain” – this is when the nerve is irritated, but the pain appears elsewhere. So the nerves in your back may be angry due to compression in the spine, but you feel the pain along the path of that nerve or somewhere that it travels. For the sciatic nerve this may be the back or side of your hip/buttock, and for the femoral nerves this could be the front of your hip or groin, or into your thigh.
Another type of nerve pain is “radiating pain”. This is that sharp stabbing pain down the leg along the path of the nerve. You may also feel burning, numbness or tingling. Nerve pain in the hips is usually stemming from the lumbar or sacral nerve roots, or peripheral nerves they become.

PT can help! Nerve pain can be fickle and tricky to treat – if you suspect this type of pain, come see us right away for assessment and individualized treatment strategies including massage, exercises and specific stretches tailored for YOUR body.

Hip pain is super common during pregnancy, and prenatal PTs are your go-to experts to stop it! To get specific, expert help for your prenatal aches and pains, book a visit with one of our docs!

For general education, stay tuned here AND check out my free online workshop at www.shefitpt.com/onlineworkshop ☺️

STAY TUNED for my next post on DIY Tips for Hip Pain!!

For more tips on pain relief and fitness for motherhood, follow me on Instagram, @SHEFitPT