How You Could Get Relief from Pregnancy Hip, Back and Pelvic Pain


If you’ve been searching for information on “pelvic pain pregnancy”, “hip pain pregnancy,” or “back pain in pregnancy,” you’re probably more than halfway through your pregnancy and experiencing these common pregnancy aches.

Most expecting mums report feeling some form of physical discomfort after 20 weeks of pregnancy.1  If you’ve started to experience pregnancy joint pain, lower back pain during pregnancy and other pregnancy-related aches, and are looking for ways to get some relief from the discomfort, you’re in the right place. UpSpring has compiled a great list of tips and tricks to help relieve pelvic, back, and hip pain during the second and third trimesters. We also explore some of the root causes of these issues.

pregnancy back pain

Why Am I Experiencing Pregnancy Pelvic, Hip and Back Pain?

The second trimester is often known as the “honeymoon period2 of pregnancy because this is when the grievances of the first trimester -- like nausea, acne, or the risk of miscarriage -- reduce or stop. But, despite this relief, other challenges arise for some mums-to-be in the second trimester: pelvic, hip and back pain. 

It’s important to know what causes this discomfort, and what you could do to get some relief from it. 

Pelvic pain

Some mums-to-be develop what is known as pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP)3 in their second or third trimester. So what causes PGP?4 There are three joints in the pelvis that work together and normally move only a little. As your baby grows, the extra weight may put strain on your pelvis, causing those three joints to move unevenly, resulting in pain and discomfort. It is not harmful to your baby, though. 

The symptoms of PGP5 include a clicking or grinding sensation in the pubic area, pain made worse by movement, and, “pain in the pubic area, lower back, hips, groin, thighs, or knees.”

Treatment6 may include: 

  • Manual therapy: This ensures that the joints of your spine, hip, and pelvis are functioning normally.
  • Exercises that you could do in water.
  • Exercises that could help strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back, and hip muscles. 
  • Advice, including that related to positions for labour and birth and sex, that might help ease the discomfort.
  • Equipment, like pelvic support belts.  

Back Pain

It’s quite common for most pregnant women to experience some form of back pain, especially as their pregnancy progresses. Typically, back discomfort in pregnancy7 occurs at the end of your spine, where it meets the pelvis. 

There are a few possible reasons8 for back pain in pregnancy, including weight gain, posture change, hormonal changes (relaxin), and muscle separation. 

Treatment9 may include: 

  • Exercise: Your medical practitioner might recommend gentle exercise such as walking and swimming, that might help ease some of the pressure on your spine. 
  • Cold/warm compresses: After first checking with your doctor, apply a cold compress to the painful area for around 20 minutes. After a few days of doing this, you could switch to using a hot water bottle or other source of warmth on the painful area. Do not apply the compresses (cold or hot) to your belly. 
  • Improving your posture: If you tend to slouch while sitting or standing, or sleep in incorrect positions, you may aggravate pregnancy-related back pain. You could improve your posture when sitting by placing a rolled-up towel at the bottom of your spine and resting your feet on a stool. When standing, remember to not arch your back, but rather pull your hips forward and push your shoulders back. When you sleep, it’s important to sleep on your left side10 with a pillow between your knees. Not only will this help ease back pain, but it could help minimize the risk of stillbirth. 
  • Extra support: You could use a pelvic support belt that is designed to support the lower back and belly during pregnancy.

Hip pain

Many women experience hip pain in pregnancy that could occur on the side or back of the hip, or in the pelvic girdle area11 (the lower part of your trunk). 

There are a few possible reasons for hip pain in pregnancy. One of them is related to the hormone called relaxin.12 During the last two trimesters of your pregnancy, your body begins releasing relaxin, which enables your ligaments to loosen. Relaxin enables the pelvic ligaments and pelvis to spread wide enough to give birth to your baby. However, it’s also these ligaments that hold the sacroiliac joints together and help to connect your spine to your pelvis. When these ligaments start to loosen, everything can get out of alignment and nerves can get irritated or pinched.

Other reasons for hip pain in pregnancy may include weight gain, poor posture, and incorrect sleeping position. 

Treatment may include: 

  • Using a pillow when you lie down: Place a body pillow13 between your knees and a bit under the belly when you rest. This might help your spine recover from poor alignment and relieve some of the pulling effect that your growing belly can have on your hip and back ligaments.
  • Physical therapy and targeted exercises. Some women have a tilted or rotated pelvis14 which may cause hip and pelvic pain in pregnancy. A physical therapist will be able to identify the anatomical issues and create a therapy routine that can help ease the discomfort you may be experiencing. 
  • Gentle exercise: Basic lunges and stretches might help restore balance and strengthen muscles that have been out of place or weakened during pregnancy. A simple example of an exercise to help relieve hip pain during pregnancy is, when you're walking, clench the hip and glute muscles of the leg you're stepping with (i.e., when your right foot is forward, clench your right butt-cheek). While you may feel a little goofy, this one simple exercise could help strengthen the muscles around your hip joints. Try walking like this a couple times a day and you should notice a difference in a week or so.
  • Consulting a chiropractor: For some mums-to-be, seeing a chiropractor15 can help keep everything moving and aligned properly during pregnancy.

*Please Note: Often, various discomforts during pregnancy are normal, but sometimes, they may be indications of possibly larger issues. You should always consult your gynae if you have questions or concerns.

Hip Support After Pregnancy

Some women continue to experience hip issues16 even after they have their baby. Others could be looking for postnatal support of areas like the hips and back that were under a lot of stress during pregnancy. Here is where UpSpring could help with a range of postpartum support products, specifically their Shrinkx Hips Post Pregnancy Hip Compression Belt.  

Shrinkx Hips Post Pregnancy Hip Compression Belt

Previously in this article, we highlighted how the hormone relaxin works to loosen your ligaments and joints during pregnancy, sometimes contributing to aches and pains. The effects17 of relaxin are also one reason so many women are left with wider hips after pregnancy. But it’s not all bad news when it comes to relaxin during the postpartum stage. 

This hormone stays in your system for up to eight weeks after delivery. You could use this to your advantage with the Shrinkx Hips Post Pregnancy Hip Compression Belt, that helps gently realign your hips back to their pre-pregnancy location.

This postpartum hip belt, when worn during the first eight weeks postpartum, helps stabilise the pelvis and hips, which can help prevent injury, fatigue, and stress. This assists in allowing your body to recover more comfortably after delivery. It also applies gentle, consistent pressure to help narrow and return your hips to their pre-pregnancy position.* In a clinical study, 95% of new mums who used Shrinkx Hips got back to their original hip size, or smaller. 

Shrinkx Hips comes in two sizes and colours (black and nude), and has triple compression points allowing you to further customize the compression on your hips. The Shrinkx Hips belt is made of soft nylon and spandex, and is safe and comfortable to wear for over 12 hours per day.

If you had a C-section, please keep in mind that you can only wear Shrinkx Hips after all your stiches or staples have been removed.

If you want to find out more about how Shrinkx Hips could help you, too, click here. 

References

  1. Week-by-week guide to pregnancy. NHS. Retrieved on June 5, 2021 from 20 Weeks Pregnant | Pregnancy | Start4Life (www.nhs.uk).
  2. Second Trimester of Pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved on June 5, 2021 from Second Trimester of Pregnancy: The Honeymoon Period, What to Expect (webmd.com).
  3. Pelvic pain in pregnancy. NHS. Retrieved on June 5, 2021 from Pelvic pain in pregnancy - NHS (www.nhs.uk).
  4. Pelvic girdle pain and pregnancy. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Published in June 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2021 from pi-pelvic-girdle-pain-and-pregnancy.pdf (rcog.org.uk).
  5. Pelvic girdle pain and pregnancy. Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Published in June 2015. Retrieved June 5, 2021 from pi-pelvic-girdle-pain-and-pregnancy.pdf (rcog.org.uk).
  6. Pelvic pain in pregnancy. NHS. Retrieved on June 5, 2021 from Pelvic pain in pregnancy - NHS (www.nhs.uk)
  7. Back Pain in Pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com).
  8. Back Pain in Pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com).
  9. Back Pain in Pregnancy. WebMD. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatments (webmd.com)
  10. Maternal Going to Sleep Position and Late Stillbirth: Time to Act but With Care. Robert M. Silver. Published on April 10, 2019. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Maternal Going to Sleep Position and Late Stillbirth: Time to Act but With Care (nih.gov)
  11. The Pelvic Girdle. Teach Me Anatomy. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from The Pelvic Girdle - Structure - Function - Assessment - TeachMeAnatomy.
  12. Relaxin in Human Pregnancy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. Published on April 10, 2009. Retrieved on June 6 2021 from Relaxin in Human Pregnancy - Goldsmith - 2009 - Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences - Wiley Online Library.
  13. Body Pillows. WebMD. Published on February 20, 2020. Retrieved on Jun 6, 2021 from Body Pillows: What It Is and Which Pillow Type is Best for You (webmd.com).
  14. Pelvic alignment changes during the perinatal period. PLoS One. Published October 2019. Retrieved 6 June 2021 from Pelvic alignment changes during the perinatal period (nih.gov).
  15. Chiropractor While Pregnant: What Are the Benefits? Healthline Parenthood. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Chiropractor While Pregnant: Benefits (healthline.com).
  16. Pelvic Bone Problems After Childbirth. WebMD. Published on July 30, 2020. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from Postpartum Pelvic Bone Problems & Pelvic Pain After Childbirth (webmd.com).
  17. 6 Post-Pregnancy Body Changes You Didn't Expect. WebMD. Retrieved on June 6, 2021 from 6 Post-Pregnancy Body Changes No One Tells You About (webmd.com).