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Pregnancy Related Hip Pain (Part 1): What to do about it.

This is a HOT topic because hip and low back pain are so common during pregnancy! And for good reason… your tailbone is actually connected to your uterus by a few ligaments. As your baby/belly grows it tugs on your tailbone and pulls it into a forward tilted position. When the bony pelvis shifts a bit, it brings along the muscles for the ride (not great). The result…• hip pain (on the outsides of the hips – especially while sleeping…uggg). •glute tension (the tightening glute muscles can give you a shooting type pain in the glutes, or even into the thighs. If those poor glutes get tight enough they can even bug your •sciatic nerve. This is a pretty intense pain that goes down the leg, typically associated with some numbness and tingling (along with the searing nerve pain). The glutes can also just give your that •achy annoying pain in the butt! The •joints of your bony pelvis can get annoyed too (they are under lots of pressure and typically get inflamed, a little stuck and even shift out of alignment), the joints can give you pain right on the sides of your tailbone at the lowest part of the back, or even in the front of your pelvis (your •pubic symphysis…ouch!). Your •round ligaments can even jump on board and give you twinges/pulls in the lower tummy on either side (I usually feel this when turning in bed, swinging my leg out of the car or sneezing). Seriously a lot can get sore on a day to day basis and I suppose warranted considering you are growing a human 🙂 BUT you need a way to deal with this stuff on your own at home!

At 19 weeks now with my second, I’m feeling all the above even though I know a ton about how to manage it, lol. I wanted to create a series to teach you how to manage this stuff at home. There are so many different types and tricks I’ve learned along the way from my own experience and from treating mamas at the clinic.

Lets start with super simple alignment! These simple corrections in the way you stand can neutralized that pulled forward position in your pelvis and help to keep at bay all of the above symptoms. I’m a visual person so here are a few pics to help!

So here’s a top down view of my bump :), more importantly my toes. The hardwood is amazing to learn this because it will really help you with the proper alignment. The top pic is how I find myself standing too often… my toes are slightly turned out which creates tension in my glutes, it make my bum tuck under (my hips jut forward and my center of gravity sit too far back), the weight in my feet isn’t distributed equally and my bump is even shifted over to the right. So this top pic is all wrong!!!

The bottom pic is corrected alignment… My toes are slightly turned in here…THIS IS KEY when you are standing. The outsides of my baby toes and the outside of my ankle bones are lined up with hardwood. This automatically will untuck my bum and get my pelvis back to a neutral position, it releases the tension in my glutes, it brings my center of gravity into the proper position, my ribs are now stacked over my hips, my chest is more opened and I feel equal weight in my feet… really stable!

Here’s a side view to see the difference…

The pic on the left (wrong way – toed out). The pic on the right (the right way! – corrected, slightly toed in) HUGE difference right?!

Happy hips = Happy mama

When you feel your hips, low back tightening up during the day, take a minute and look down are your feet. Do this while you are cooking dinner, watching your kids at the park and standing in the grocery line. Seriously it will go a long way once you become conscious of how you are standing. Your pregnant hips and low back will thank you !!!

Here’s one more tip to get in the habit of if you are tossing and turning all night long… you know, that sweet hour of comfort that gets interrupted by the aching in the hips and outside of the thighs. And the 10 point turn while moving your mountain of pillows… yes that, this will help with that!

All you need in about 12 min before you go to bed each night (a tennis ball and an ice pack).

So look in the mirror at your front pockets from the side. Imagine a little muscle under there that’s about the size of a deck of cards. It sits in front on the hem line of your pants right underneath the pockets. This muscle is called your TFL (tensor fasciae latae – or your “latte” muscle just to keep it simple). This one is a killer for aching hips at night. Grab a tennis ball and put it right over this muscle, then lean into the wall. You’ll find a tender spot pretty quick. Just keep leaning on it with tolerable pressure and stay there for about 30 seconds. Move the ball just slightly and get onto another tender spot, repeat the same hold. You’ll feel the pain slowly dissipate. Do this on both side then grab your ice back and place it right at the level of your tailbone… ideal reaching across both glutes (my fav position if you are OK on your back in legs up on the couch -knees bent at 90°) Only leave it on for 10 min at a time. This will help to move the inflammation out of your SI joints (the ones that are are either side of your tailbone). Those tight glute muscles, they originate here so they to will thank you for the ice as well…. 12 min later you should be ready to build that pillow mountain and head to bed 😉

Hope these simple at home tips are helpful and keep those hips of yours happy!

Stay tuned for part 2 and 3 of this at home series over the next few week. Jump on my mailing list so you don’t miss a thing.

Happy sleeping mamas


Dr. Gillian


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