Pregnancy can be an overwhelming time for anyone – changes come and go – and eventually, new life is born. It is not surprising that this process has some shortcomings even though it may be the most wonderful thing in the world. It does, and as you might have guessed, it is painful joints. It can also be plentiful.
Are your pregnant joints sore and making it difficult for you to move around? Learn the causes of your aches and pains and what you can do to prevent them.
Why Do You Have Achy Joints When Pregnant?
The following are a few of the more typical reasons why joints hurt during pregnancy.
The Uterus Gets Bigger
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) claims that as your uterus grows, it shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles.
Additionally, this change in your center of gravity causes stress and low back pain in a different location than you would have noticed before becoming pregnant, according to G. Thomas Ruiz, MD, an OB-GYN lead at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center.
Not just your belly can gain weight. Other parts of your body expand along with your uterus. Putting more strain on your bones and joints from weight gain, especially around the hips, can make it painful to sleep, sit, or walk in those areas. (You could really do anything, you know.)
Pregnancy Hormones Change
The pregnancy hormones relaxin and progesterone are the main contributors to pain or weakening of the ligaments in the joints. An increase in ligamentous laxity, or loose ligaments, is brought on by the hormone relaxin, which your body produces during pregnancy.
When this happens, some joints lose their normal stability, causing them to feel loose when performing daily activities. When your body releases relaxin to widen the pelvis, for instance, you might experience back pain. This makes the SI joints more pliable, which results in pain there.
Carrying extra weight in the front of your body is going to change your posture. You’ll notice that your weight is shifting around your belly as your baby grows. Your lower back and hips may experience pain as a result. Caregiving for a child who is still on your hip can also lead to posture issues that result in lower back and hip joint pain.
What Joints Are Usually Affected During Pregnancy?
While it can sometimes feel like your whole body is aching – there are some specific joints that are often more vulnerable to pregnant women:
One of the most painful joints during pregnancy is the hip joint. It should come as no surprise that the extra weight during pregnancy can cause hip pain given how crucial the hip is to stabilizing your upper body. Specifically prone to pain, especially in the final few months of pregnancy, the sacroiliac joints in the hip are in charge of distributing weight across the pelvis.
In addition to increasing pressure on the lower body, additional weight gain during pregnancy can also result in knee pain. This is a typical joint that is affected in the final two trimesters.
Lumbar Pain (Lower Back)
One of the most typical joint problems experienced by pregnant women is lumbar or lower back pain, which, if untreated, can later develop into a serious health issue. The ligaments in your pelvic region, which support your lower spinal structures, have weakened, which is what is causing this.
It’s also common to feel pain at the front of your pelvic bone or in the lower back region. In the worst cases, this can progress into pregnancy-related SPD, or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Although SPD is not harmful to the unborn child, it can have a significant impact on your pain thresholds.
How Do Fix Achy Joints During Pregnancy?
Whether or not you are pregnant, there are a number of ways you can start addressing the issue of joint pain. It’s always good to stay in tune with your body and know what your limit is. Here are some ways to keep your joints limber:
Apply a Belly Band
Cokes advises wearing a belly band to support the abdomen beginning in the middle to the end of the third trimester. “This can help to relieve lower back pain as well as round ligament pain, which isn’t necessarily joint-related, but is also a common complaint,” she says.
The uterus’ supporting ligaments can stretch and cause round ligament pain. This may result in severe hip or abdominal pain.
Hot Compresses for Joints
Warm baths with Epsom salts can bring some relief, as can a heating pad placed on your hips, knees, or lower back (don’t apply heat directly to your pregnant belly).
Cokes also reminds to be careful not to burn yourself with a heating pad. When a body part is in pain, she prefers to use rice-filled flannel bags that you warm in the microwave because they conform to the affected area.
Regular exercise can help you maintain your fitness, keep your muscles strong, and relieve joint pain during pregnancy.
“The more you move throughout the pregnancy, the less joint pain you’ll experience,” According to Cokes, swimming, prenatal yoga, and prenatal Pilates are all beneficial for treating various types of joint pain, especially because you can engage in all three activities throughout your pregnancy.
Use Over-the-counter Pain Relievers
To help manage joint pain while pregnant, your doctor might advise using an over-the-counter (OTC) medication like acetaminophen for a brief period of time.
Ibuprofen and naproxen are examples of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) that Ruiz advises against using during the third trimester because they may harm your unborn child.
Before taking any OTC drug or medication while pregnant, always check with your doctor.
Your body can undergo many changes during pregnancy, and painful joints are a common and universal symptom. We hope you find it helpful to know why you have achy joint pain and some of the ways we suggest to relieve it.