It’s long been an accepted truth that pregnant women get wider hips.
The term “childbearing hips” is even the accepted term for this product of the pelvic pain women experience as the baby grows and starts to descend into the birth canal in the last weeks of pregnancy.
Among the many old wives’ tales and assumptions about pregnant women, the pelvic bones spreading and becoming wider is true. The hip bones do get wider towards the end of the third trimester.
Do your hips widen during pregnancy?
Now that we have confirmed that a pregnant woman’s body prepares for the birth to allow passage of that baby, there are probably even more questions about this phenomenon of the human body.
As expectant mothers, we tend to get very concerned with how our bodies change during the process. You can find articles and blogs in medical journals about it and even in such publications as the Washington Post and popular magazines.
While it’s OK to wonder or even worry about the changes occurring in your body, it happens to us all, and acceptance of ourselves matters greatly.
Does it only happen in pregnant women?
Another surprising fact is that all adults are subject to wide hips over time. While pregnant people see their pelvic bone structure change due to the baby descending into the birth canal, it also occurs to all people.
Most of us may assume that the weight gain and the shift from pre-pregnancy weight to full gestational weight is what is to blame for stretch marks on the hips; if you’ve ever taken a good look at the average middle age man, you may notice that he has stretch marks in this area as well.
This is because, over time, the pelvic joints loosen, not just from giving birth. The pelvic muscles, ligament fibers, and the pelvic bone itself soften as we age.
And although we don’t grow taller as adults, we grow wider due to settling and shifting the pelvic area.
How do the hips expand during pregnancy?
The hips expand more noticeably during pregnancy because it happens more regularly.
We are used to their pre-pregnancy size, and the growing baby puts pressure on the pelvic floor, forcing the hips to separate. Otherwise, vaginal delivery would not be possible.
When you are pregnant, and the baby starts to run out of room in your abdominal area towards your due date, your rib cage flares itself outward, the pelvic floor widens, and your spine adjusts to the shape as your pelvis gets wider.
This is all made possible during pregnancy by the hormone relaxin. Relaxin is a pregnancy hormone that causes your body to expand rapidly to suit your baby’s needs. This strange hormone causes your feet to grow bigger, your hips to widen, and your ribs to flare.
Because your body expands in such a way, this may cause the average postpartum body to appear as though it has more loose skin as you lose weight to get back to your pre-pregnancy size.
Get rid of the stigma
If you were of small stature or build before pregnancy, and you look in the mirror during the third trimester and see a much wider build, it has nothing to do with poor health or obesity.
Expectant mothers, in particular, are hard on themselves when they see the effects of wide hips in the mirror.
However, it’s simply a change in the structure of your bones that makes you look this way. It’s total smoke and mirrors effect and has nothing to do with your weight.
If you are suffering from low self-esteem or having trouble accepting your appearance, seek professional medical advice. Mental health is women’s health, and you deserve to love your body the way it is.
Hip pain during pregnancy
If you’re wondering whether you imagine the pain associated with wider hips, you’re not. Hips widen during pregnancy differently than they do as we age. It’s not a slow process during pregnancy.
Bye bye collagen
Collagen keeps things tight within the body.
During pregnancy, collagen is broken down quickly. It is replaced with that hormone called relaxin which was mentioned previously.
Due to this, the spine is shifted, and the sacroiliac joints are no longer held tight. The sacroiliac joint is what connects the hips to the spine.
Most women experience some pain and discomfort during this process. The extra weight on exposed nerves can cause back pain, sciatica, and general discomfort.
The symphysis pubis is also affected, which can cause a fair amount of pain and discomfort. Keep your joints loose by continuing to stay active to reduce the pain.
Physical therapy, stretching, yoga, and relaxing when your body aches help deal with the issues causing pain in the late stages of your pregnancy.
Signs your hips are widening
If you’re wondering whether you’re imagining your hips getting wider or if it’s happening, there are a few things you can look out for.
There are ways to know when the body releases those hormones during pregnancy, resulting in significantly bigger hips.
1. Shoe size changes
If your shoes suddenly feel too tight or don’t fit anymore, the incredible journey of growing during pregnancy has taken off. The body changes of a human being are remarkable.
2. Extra inches
If you are curious about how many inches these hormonal changes will cause your hips to widen, or if you have already noticed that the belt that fits you no longer does, there’s no exact answer.
However the average is around 1.5 inches, but it differs for everyone.
3. Urinary incontinence
You seem to pee more often during the first trimester, but you shouldn’t have much trouble getting to the bathroom in time.
In the last few weeks before childbirth, you may notice that you are having more and more trouble keeping your panties dry, even after you’ve just been to the toilet.
This is because of the change in hormonal levels.
Will my hips go back to normal after childbirth?
Some women try to return to their state before pregnancy by binding the hips to be more narrow.
For some mothers, the hips return to a more narrow position completely. For other women, an attempt to shrink hips that have gotten wider may not yield great results.
During the first year postpartum, you will notice several changes to your body.
After you stop breastfeeding the baby, your breasts will have less elasticity.
You may need chiropractic care for back pain.
Each woman recovers from childbirth differently.
The best way to retain the way you looked and felt before birth is to exercise, stretch, eat a healthy and balanced diet that does not consist of processed foods and unhealthy fats, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest.
Your body is changing
It’s not just your mirror playing tricks on you. Your hips do get wider during the last trimester of your pregnancy.
Getting plenty of rest, exercise, and hydration can help combat soreness.
Some moms get back to a smaller size after giving birth. Others do not. This is in no way an indicator that you aren’t healthy or that you are “overweight.”
This means that you brought a human life into the world, which changed how your body is shaped. Loving and accepting how you look will help you feel better physically, and understanding that the female body is fantastic will also help restore your confidence.