I’m about 25 weeks pregnant now, and as with my first pregnancy, I have been experiencing a lot of hip pain. Most of the time it’s just enough to be annoying, and sometimes it’s barely noticeable, but it can get downright debilitating. And that’s not very conducive to running a bookstore, managing a home, or taking care of a toddler! So I have been on a quest to find a solution, or at least a way to make the pain more manageable.
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During my last pregnancy, I started seeing a chiropractor from 20 weeks on. That seemed to help, but didn’t completely relieve the pain. And everyone I talked to just said, “Yep. That’s pregnancy!” So I went about my business and tolerated the pain.
This time around, I started experiencing it much sooner – around 14 weeks. I didn’t want to have to put up with that level of pain for the entire pregnancy, so I decided to look into other options.
Plan A: Google & Strengthening Exercises
My initial research told me that I needed to do more strengthening exercises for the muscles around the pelvis. So I incorporated more core and lower body strength exercises into my workouts. That seemed to help for a few weeks.
Around 20 weeks or so, the pain returned. Big time. These pains were much worse than any I had experienced during my first pregnancy. They were sharp pangs that took my breath away and came from the slightest movement, like shifting my weight or rolling over in bed.
Plan B: Physical Therapy
Around that time, a college friend who is now a physical therapist shared an article on Facebook about hip pain in pregnancy and physical therapy. I decided to give that a try.
At my physical therapy appointment, I learned that I had been doing a lot of the wrong stretches and exercises for the particular way my hips were wanting to move. I’m sure what I was finding online was suitable for a lot of pregnant ladies, but it was the exact opposite of what my body needed. I guess that’s what you get when you try to Google your own medical solutions! 🙂
She showed me the kind of stretches I should be doing and told me to stay away from any kind of flexion movements, such as bending over – yikes. Not an easy thing to avoid, let me tell you!
I went home, followed all of her advice to the T, and things drastically improved. But then real life set in, I had responsibilities to fulfill, and I started getting worse.
Then one Saturday night, after sitting in a recliner watching tv with my husband, I started to get up to go to bed and found that I could not move even a microinch without severe pain shooting through my hip. Tiny movement by tiny movement I was finally able to get up off the chair and across the house into my bed, but I was almost sobbing by the time I settled under the covers.
I knew I could not continue the rest of the pregnancy this way, so it was on to plan C – another try at the chiropractor.
Plan C: Chiropractor
So far I’ve had two visits, and it was a good thing I went. My left hip was 1/2″ off from my right hip, there was significant swelling in that area, and I had a sacral torque … or some kind of fancy lingo like that that basically means my tail bone was crooked. Ah. That might explain a few things! I got the adjustment and directions to ice my hip three times a day and come back every few days. “Ouch” on the bank account, but “ahhhh” to my hips!
A few days later, though, I was back to a pretty decent level of pain.
Plan D: Pelvic Girdle Pain (And Stop Being So Proud!)
Then someone told me about Pelvic Girdle Pain, and eureka! I think I might have found a cause for the pain. I’m not making the same mistake again of Google diagnosing myself, but it sure sounds like what’s been bothering me! It’s worth asking my doctor about at my next appointment, anyway.
I didn’t really find any new solutions I haven’t already tried, but I did find a list of things I should be avoiding … and I’ve been violating almost every single one of them! The list includes:
- Bending or twisting to lift
- Standing on one leg
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Crossing your legs
- Sitting on the floor or in a twisted position
- Lifting or pushing heavy objects
- Carrying a baby on one hip
- Carrying loads in only one hand.
Okay! Yeah, so that might explain my horrific pain! I had been trying to avoid bending over, as the physical therapist recommended, but I’ll admit I haven’t been adhering to it like I should.
The problem is, I’m a mom, so I get all proud and think that I should still be doing everything I did before I was pregnant. I listen to other women talk about how they were shingling roofs or baling hay, or other crazy things like that, so I think I should be able to, too!
It didn’t help that I had a conversation with a male acquaintance the other day in which he complained about women “using their pregnancy” as an excuse to get out of work. He said, “My wife was hauling around 40 pound boxes when she was 8 months pregnant, so there’s no reason they can’t do it just because they’re pregnant.” I realize now that I had been following my doctor’s advice pretty well until that conversation, but then I let him guilt me into doing everything I had been doing pre-pregnancy.
But I see now that that’s just ridiculous. No, I don’t like it either when women abuse their pregnancy status as an excuse to be lazy and waited on hand and foot when they are capable of doing more, but it’s also very important that each woman do what’s best for her and her baby. And what’s “best” is personal and unique to each woman. What one woman can safely do, another may not, and there should not be a one-size-fits-all expectation for pregnancy. I’m just going to have to accept the fact that my body adjusts to growing babies differently than some, accept the fact that I’m not going to be able to do everything I think I should and ask for help, and not let anyone make me feel guilty about that!
Take-away lessons from my hip pain story:
- Don’t put off exploring different kinds of medical options or advice! Pain that is not normal should not have to just be put up with, and the sooner you get answers, the sooner the problems can be dealt with.
- Every woman is different, and every pregnancy is different! Just because your friend, mother, sister, coworker did it while she was pregnant doesn’t mean you should. Don’t compare yourself to others; do what is best for you and your baby.
- Don’t be stubborn! There’s no good reason to let pride cause you to be miserable for nine months. If you’re supposed to be taking it easy or abstaining from certain tasks, do it! And don’t be afraid to ask for help. You’re growing a child, for pete’s sake. Someone else can lift that box or push that vacuum. And don’t let anyone make you feel guilty for doing what’s in the best interest of your health.
Are there any other ladies out there who have had similar experiences? I’d love to connect with you and hear what worked for you! Share in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this post, here are a few more to try!
- Our Big Announcement! A Letter From First-Time Pregnant Me
- My Epic List of Tips for a Fabulous Pregnancy
- How I Delivered Two Babies Without An Epidural
- 7 Things I Wish I Had Known Before My First Baby
- 3 Sanity-Saving Baby Products Every Parent Truly Needs