Pregnancy: Pelvic and Hip Pain

Topic Overview

As your pregnancy progresses, you may develop aches and pains in your hips and pelvic area. This is a normal sign that your pelvic girdle is preparing for childbirth. Pregnancy hormones are relaxing your ligaments, loosening up your pelvic bones so they can shift and open for childbirth.

For pelvic girdle pain, you can use acupuncture or 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.1

To help manage pelvic and hip pain at home, try the following.

  • When lying on your back, propped up on your elbows or a pillow, squeeze a pillow between your knees. This can help realign your pelvic bones and may give you temporary pain relief.
  • Wear a prenatal belt or girdle around your hips, under your abdomen, to help stabilize your hips.
  • Sleep with a pillow between your knees.
  • Rest as much as possible, applying heat to painful areas.
  • Talk to your health professional about whether 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

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised July 23, 2012

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