Have you ever seen a pregnant woman with her hand on her lower back as she moves? Pregnancy commonly causes discomfort, aches, and pains, particularly during the second and third trimester.
Board-certified physician John Monroe, MD, at Healthy Life Family Medicine, encourages his pregnant patients to understand their risk for joint pain and offers tips to manage the discomfort during your pregnancy.
Causes of joint pain during pregnancy
Joint pain during pregnancy is caused by a variety of factors. The most common reasons pregnant women experience joint pain include:
Changing the center of gravity
As the baby grows, the uterus expands and causes a shift in the center of gravity that puts stress on the lower back. The abdominal muscles stretch to accommodate the growing uterus, which weakens them and also contributes to joint pain.
Growing a little human results in weight gain. The bones and joints experience additional stress from the new weight, increasing the risk of joint pain.
Another reason pregnancy increases the risk of developing joint pain is due to the redistribution of weight. As the belly expands to accommodate the growing baby, the mother’s posture can change and cause joint pain in the hips and lower back.
The body releases relaxin and progesterone hormones during pregnancy, which causes the ligaments to relax. Hormonal changes affecting the ligament and joint stability can result in joint discomfort and looseness, especially in the pelvis and hips. As the pelvis widens, the sacroiliac joints become more elastic and often result in discomfort or joint pain.
Natural methods to relieve joint pain during pregnancy
Understanding the causes of joint pain during pregnancy and finding ways to relieve discomfort through self-care and exercise is helpful.
Joint pain during pregnancy is common. Fortunately, there are some natural strategies you can try to relieve the discomfort, including:
- Low-impact exercises like swimming or walking
- Hot and cold therapy with showers, heating pads, or ice packs
- Massage therapy
- Elevating feet for knee and ankle pain
- Wearing supportive footwear
- Resting the body throughout the day
When to see a doctor about joint pain
If you’ve tried self-care and natural remedies to relieve pain but are still experiencing it, it intensifies, leads to additional symptoms, or prevents you from your daily activities, schedule an appointment with Dr. Monroe. He can offer additional tips and options for safely relieving joint pain during your pregnancy.
Call the office or schedule an appointment online at Healthy Life Family Medicine in Goodyear, Arizona, today.