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Hip Pain Early Pregnancy—4 Causes And The Signs To Watch Out For

hip pain early pregnancy

Women experience hip pain and pain in many other body joints at various pregnancy stages. 

Although not commonly acknowledged because it’s more common in the second and third trimesters, experiencing hip pain early pregnancy can and does happen to pregnant women.

In this article, we’ll talk about pain in the hip joints and pelvic pain for pregnant women, especially in the first trimester.

We’ll discuss ways to help relieve hip pain and what causes hip pain during pregnancy.

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Hip pain early pregnancy

While there’s no real explanation for why some pregnant women have hip pain during early pregnancy, don’t worry, you are not imagining it. In fact, it’s a fairly common symptom.

If you are experiencing hip pain during the first trimester of your pregnancy, it may be nothing more than the hormone changes your body is going through.

This, as well as other issues, can be at play, and while there are ways to reduce hip pain caused by these issues, most of the time, you just learn to live with it.

However, there are also some scenarios where hip pain during pregnancy can mean something more serious.

We’ll discuss all of these so that you can start to determine where your hip pain during pregnancy is coming from.

hip pain early pregnancy

What causes hip pain during pregnancy?

Hip pain is most common for pregnant women in the second and third trimesters

While it can be an issue for women in the first stage of pregnancy or during the first trimester, it’s most common this early for women who have had children before or women who have had issues with nerve damage, back problems, or other joint issues.

The following are some of the most common reasons for hip pain during pregnancy in any trimester.

1. Round ligament pain

Round ligaments attach the uterus to the body, and they can cause all sorts of issues, such as musculoskeletal pain, sharp pain when bending or squatting, and general throbbing to the hip joint.

Your ligaments start to stretch and have more give to them due to pregnancy hormones—namely, the pregnancy hormone relaxin.

This pain can occur most severely when women sneeze, cough, or stretch. It is also most common in the second trimester.

2. Sciatic nerve pain

Your sciatic nerve ends up taking on a lot of pressure during pregnancy. This can cause much pain, especially in the second and third trimesters.

Many women claim it feels like an electric pain that shoots from the hip down the leg, sometimes even resulting in leg cramps.

There are stretches, and ways to sit and lie down that can help to take the pressure off of this nerve, and some doctors will even recommend seeing a chiropractor to help with this issue.

Some women notice that the pain associated with pressure on this nerve goes away right after the delivery of their baby. Others, unfortunately, deal with ongoing pain for years after their babies are born.

3. Poor posture

Bad posture, especially in the second or third trimester, can cause a lot of women to experience pain in the back, hips, legs, shoulders, and back.

Maintaining a proper posture during pregnancy becomes more difficult as the weight gain in the front of the body, at the baby bump, throws off the center of gravity for pregnant women.

Many doctors suggest you should not sit or stand for extended periods and not sit with your legs or feet crossed. Doing so removes your posture, decreasing circulation and blood flow.

When pregnant, you have more blood volume, and sitting with your legs or feet crossed can have painful consequences.

Try to sit with both feet on the floor and your back straight.

4. Weight gain

Even in a healthy pregnancy, the weight gain women experience can put added stress on the hips and pelvic bones.

This is especially true in the third trimester, when your baby’s head starts to descend toward and into the birth canal.

Sore hips, pain in the back, and even in the lower abdomen can occur. Support bands and pregnancy tape can help with the pain associated with that growing bump.

You should also remember to take lots of breaks throughout the day, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep.

When to seek medical treatment

While most of the time, a pregnant woman can find a home remedy or way for treating hip pain or getting much-needed pain relief; there are a couple of instances in which you need to pay close attention to your hip joint pain and seek medical attention.

The following are scenarios that are more serious than simple hip pain:

1. Preterm labor

Preterm birth is when a baby is born before 37 weeks gestation. In these cases, the baby will have less chance of having a healthy birth weight or being able to breathe on its own, as the lungs are not yet fully developed.

There are also many other risks associated with going into labor too early.

If you have recurring hip pain, constant pain in the pelvic area or lower back, and any significant cramping or contractions, you need to contact your doctor or go to the emergency room.

2. Ectopic pregnancy

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the egg attaches to the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. This can cause severe and sharp pains in the abdomen, hip, or side.

There is no such thing as a viable pregnancy that is ectopic; if left alone or untreated, it is life-threatening to the woman.

If you have severe abdominal pain, hip pain that is severe and persistent or throbbing back pain that doesn’t go away, and you have tested positive for pregnancy, you need to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible for your own safety.

hip pain early pregnancy

Pain on the right hip during pregnancy

Sometimes it feels like just one hip or the other hurts during pregnancy. Some women complain about the right hip hurting more, while others complain about the right hip hurting more. 

In either case, there are many ways to deal with it.

How to prevent hip pain during pregnancy

There are many ways that you can start to proactively prevent hip pain before it begins so that you can have a happier pregnancy. The following are some great ideas to help you do just that.

  • Practice prenatal yoga to keep yourself flexible and strong
  • Change your sleeping position so that there is less pressure on your sciatic nerve
  • Wear a pregnancy support belt when working or standing for long periods
  • Get regular massage therapy from a licensed therapist
  • Engage in gentle exercise regularly throughout your pregnancy
  • Don’t ignore it when you feel pain, and address it when you do right away
  • Get help with lifting heavy objects, and always lift with the legs instead of the back

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How to relieve hip pain during pregnancy

A woman’s body goes through the wringer during pregnancy. Everyday life can be difficult as the pregnancy progresses and the baby drops lower into the birth canal.

As you get close to delivery, more stress and less sleep can add to joint stiffness.

Preparing for delivery, your body can get sore, stiff, and irritated. The following are things you can do to get some pain relief.

  • Take a warm bath and relax to relieve pelvic girdle pain
  • Do gentle stretches to help stressed connective tissues
  • Take otc pain relievers such as Tylenol to reduce pain
  • Use warm compresses on the hips and lower back
  • Sit with a hot water bottle against your lower back
  • See a physical therapist
  • Move around often to keep blood flow optimal
  • Speak with your healthcare provider if any increased pressure or pain in the hip area is noticed

Hip pain during pregnancy

Your hips are weight-bearing joints, and pregnant patients have much more weight to bear, starting around the second trimester. 

Pregnancy can affect your sacroiliac joints, pelvic floor, back, connective tissues, and every other body part. 

Pregnancy may be a blessing and a miracle, but it can also cause physical discomfort.

Hopefully, this article has given you some great ideas about how to prevent hip pain if you have not yet had any, as well as ways to treat pain in the hips and other joints if you are already experiencing it.

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