Many pregnant women experience hip pain, particularly in the second and third trimester of their pregnancy. Changes in your posture as a result of your new centre of gravity caused by your growing baby, uterus and baby belly can contribute to the soreness you feel in both you hips and back.
Women also often report that pain is sometimes felt strongest on the side that the baby prefers to lie in their uterus, which adds weight and pressure to that side of the hip and lower back.
The pregnancy hormone relaxin, round ligament pain, pelvic girdle pain and sciatica can also be a cause of pain; and this pain often aggravates when sitting or lying too long in one position or lifting heavy items.
Pregnancy Hormone Relaxin
When it comes to hip pain during pregnancy, the pregnancy hormone relaxin is often largely to blame; a hormone produced by the ovaries that increases by about 10 times the normal levels during pregnancy.
It has an important role to play, helping to soften the pelvic ligaments that will make room for your growing baby, increase the flexibility of your pelvic bones and prepare your cervix for delivery when it is time.Unfortunately, this loosening of pelvic ligaments can also lead to hip pain.
Round Ligament Pain
Another possible cause of hip pain during pregnancy, and usually first occurs during the second trimester, is round ligament pain. Round ligament pain can be felt as a throbbing or sharp pain in the hip, groin or abdominal region.
If you move quickly or suddenly- such as moving quickly from a seated to standing position – the pain may intensify. The pain may also increase when your baby moves or changes position.
Pelvic Girdle Pain
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is generally caused by a stiffness or misalignment of your pelvic joints as a result of the hormones and body changes that occur during pregnancy. The pain is commonly felt at the back of the pelvis in the sacroilliac joints between the two hip bones, however it is also sometimes felt at the front of the pelvis.
It has been suggested that women are more likely to experience pelvic girdle pain when:
- they have existing issues such as scoliosis that affects their hip balance
- their job involves physical labour of lifting
- there is previous injury to the pelvis or lower back
- they have had PGP in previous pregnancies
Sciatic nerves in the body run through your lower back region to your feet. As your baby and uterus grows, it can put pressure on the sciatic nerves. This can lead to pain, tingling, or even numb sensations in the hips, buttocks and down your thighs.
If you have had sciatica prior to expecting a baby, then it might be aggravated by your pregnancy. You should still inform your doctor of your pain however, as there are some less common but serious conditions with similar pains that your doctor or OBGYN can investigate or rule out.