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Pregnancy: Pelvic and Hip Pain

Topic Overview

When you are pregnant, you may get aches and pains in your hips and pelvic area. This is a normal sign that your pelvic area is preparing for childbirth. (This area is also called the pelvic girdle.) Pregnancy hormones are relaxing your ligaments. This loosens up your pelvic bones so they can shift and open for childbirth.

For pelvic girdle pain, you can try acupuncture treatments. Or you can learn pelvic stabilizing exercises from a physical therapist. These exercises strengthen the muscles that support your pelvis. Both acupuncture and stabilizing exercises have been shown to reduce pelvic pain during pregnancy.footnote 1

To help manage pelvic and hip pain at home, try these tips.

  • Lie on your back, propped up on your elbows or a pillow. Then squeeze a pillow between your knees. This can help realign your pelvic bones. It may relieve your pain for a while.
  • Wear a prenatal belt or girdle around your hips, under your belly. It can help stabilize your hips.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees.
  • Rest as much as you can. Apply heat to painful areas.
  • Ask your doctor or midwife if a safe pain reliever might help.

References

Citations

  1. Elden H, et al. (2005). Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: Randomised single blind controlled trial. BMJ, 330(7494): 761.

Credits

Current as of: June 16, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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