There are a lot of hard things about pregnancy and joint pain is among the hardest. Whether you experience knee pain, hip pain, SI joint pain, or sciatica, there are plenty of solutions to help relieve your pain.
Why do you experience joint pain during pregnancy
With pregnancy comes the increase of hormones, like progesterone and relaxin, that cause ligaments to relax to make your delivery easier, which causes joint pain or lower back pain. When these hormones are starting to return to normal after pregnancy, you’ll likely experience some joint pain then as well.
How to handle joint pain during pregnancy
1. Use the Chirp Wheel. The Chirp Wheel is a foam roller shaped like a wheel designed for muscle tension relief and back pain relief. Use it on your hips and legs to help with that restless sleep syndrome during pregnancy. Check out how to use it here. Or use it on your back for simple back pain relief and a nice massage.
2. Choose the best sleeping positions for pregnancy. Sleeping comfortably during pregnancy is nearly impossible. If you’re waking up frequently to turn over because of hip pain while sleeping on your side, you’re not alone. And of course, sleeping on your side is the only safe position for you and your baby. Try sleeping one your side with a pillow between your legs, keeping your legs bent, or using a pillow to support your abdomen (baby bump). You can also try placing a body pillow, rolling up a blanket, or having your partner lie right behind you so you have something to lean against to help take pressure off your hips.
3. Exercise. Exercise has many benefits during pregnancy such as, improving your sleep, preventing excess weight gain, lowering the risk of gestational diabetes (or helping maintain blood sugar levels if you have it), shortening labor, and reducing a risk of having a C-section. Another amazing benefit of exercise is decreased joint pain. As you strengthen and tone your muscles, it can help reduce pregnancy joint pain.
4. Take a bath. You might wonder, is taking a bath while pregnant safe for my baby? You should always ask your doctor if you’re concerned about something being safe for your baby. Taking a bath can help relax your muscles and reduce your joint pain. Although, you should take a few precautions before you get out the salts. (1) Make sure your bathwater isn’t too hot (no hotter than 98.6 degrees F). And (2) don’t take a bath after your water has broken because it could cause an infection. As long as you follow these two rules, enjoy a nice soak. Why does a bath help with joint pain during pregnancy? Heat opens up blood vessels, promoting healing and soothing sore muscles to reduce pain. Tip: Adding epsom salt (about 2 cups into your bath) will help relieve sore muscles, and it is safe to use for you and baby. Epsom salt helps soothe your muscles, helps with digestion, reduces stress, and soothes stretching skin.
When does joint pain start in pregnancy
Joint pain can start as early as 8 to 12 weeks during the first peak of the hormone relaxin. You can start doing strengthening and cardio exercises for pain relief. Continuing these exercises throughout your pregnancy can greatly reduce your joint pain and hip pain. Talk to your doctor about your pregnancy joint pain if it intensifies, prevents you from doing simple activities, or leads to other symptoms.
American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). Hip pain during pregnancy. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-complications/hip-pain-during-pregnancy/#:~:text=Using%20pillows%20to%20support%20your,hip%20you%20are%20sleeping%20on
American Pregnancy Association. (2021). Treating joint pain naturally during pregnancy. Retrieved from https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-health-wellness/treat-joint-pain-during-pregnancy/
Lindberg. S. (2020, November 23). All about joint pain during pregnancy (and getting relief). Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/pregnancy-joint-pain#:~:text=The%20primary%20causes%20of%20pain,(translation%3A%20loose%20ligaments).
Mayo Clinic. (2020). Pregnancy week by week. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/pregnancy-and-exercise/art-20046896
Newton, A. (2018, January 8). The benefits of epsom salt baths during pregnancy. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/epsom-salt-bath#The-benefits
Weiss, R. E. (2020, April 20). Safety tips for taking a bath while you’re pregnant. Retrieved from https://www.verywellfamily.com/can-i-take-a-bath-during-pregnancy-2759760#:~:text=Baths%20are%20perfectly%20safe%20in,your%20water%20has%20not%20broken.