Hip Pain during Pregnancy: Is It Normal, How to Get Relief?

WhatsApp
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Kirti V, last updated on 15 December 2023| min read
Hip Pain during Pregnancy: Is It Normal, How to Get Relief?

Quick Summary

Hip pain during pregnancy is a common problem faced by many expecting mothers.

The reason for hip pain in pregnancy is due to the changes that a woman's body goes through to accommodate their growing baby.

There are a number of things that can be done to help alleviate hip pain during pregnancy, such as: staying active, using heat or ice packs, and wearing a support belt.

Hip pain during pregnancy is a common problem faced by many expecting mothers. While pregnancy is an incredible journey filled with anticipation and joy, hip pain can cause some discomfort. As a woman’s body goes through remarkable changes to accommodate their growing baby, they may begin to experience pain in their hips. 

But fret not! The following article explores the reason for hip pain in pregnancy and how to alleviate it. It offers some tips to find relief and help you fully embrace this special time without discomfort. Continue reading to find out.

Is Hip Pain Normal During Pregnancy?

Yes, hip pain during pregnancy is normal. If you experience this pain, you are not alone. According to a study by NCBI, about 32% of pregnant women report hip pain at some point in their pregnancy. Hip pain during pregnancy 3rd trimester is usually more common. Why? Because the body starts preparing for labour. 

Women may experience hip pain on the side or the back of the hip, or it can radiate throughout the entire pelvic girdle region (a ring-like structure including the left and right hip bones). This discomfort can range from a persistent dull ache to sudden, sharp pain. Hip pain usually resolves after giving birth. 

Some common reasons for hip pain during pregnancy include :


  1. Relaxin Hormone: The body releases a hormone called relaxin during pregnancy to relax the muscles and ligaments in the pelvis. This allows for easier childbirth. However, the relaxed muscles and ligaments can cause the following: 

    1. Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: These weight-bearing joints in the hips can become dysfunctional during pregnancy, leading to discomfort.
    2. Round Ligament Pain: Discomfort and pain can also originate from the round ligaments. These are thick fibres on either side of the abdomen, extending from the pubic region.
    3. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction: This condition arises from the separation of pelvic bones, causing pain and reduced mobility.

  1. Weight Gain: As the baby grows, women gain weight. Did you know a woman can gain about 11 to 16 kgs during pregnancy? This extra weight can put pressure on their hip joints, leading to discomfort.

  1. Postural Changes: Weight gain can cause a shift in the body’s centre of gravity, leading to poor alignment. This can place extra stress on the hip joints. Furthermore, when the foetus positions itself more on one side than the other, it can lead to discomfort and aches. For instance, women may experience left hip pain during pregnancy if the foetus settles to the left side.

  1. Sleeping Position: Side sleeping can contribute to hip pain due to increased pressure on the joints. However, side sleeping often becomes the preferred choice despite its potential discomfort. Why? Due to limited comfortable sleeping positions available during pregnancy. 

  1. Sciatica: The expanding uterus can put pressure on the sciatic nerve (two nerves that run from the lower back to the feet), causing a condition known as sciatica. It causes numbness, pain, or tingling in the hips, buttocks, and thighs. 

  1. Transient Osteoporosis: Occasionally, left or right-side hip pain during pregnancy can be attributed to transient osteoporosis, which involves demineralisation of the hip bones. This typically arises in the second or third trimester and may be linked to calcium and potassium levels. Transient osteoporosis often improves after childbirth.

get the app
get the app

Treatment for Hip Pain During Pregnancy

The treatment for hip pain in pregnancy first trimester or later depends on the cause and severity of the discomfort. It may include a combination of approaches depending on the woman’s condition. Strategies to help alleviate hip pain include : 

Home Remedies 

Several home remedies are available to help relieve hip pain during pregnancy. Remember to consult a healthcare provider before attempting any new remedies or treatments. The following are some home remedies that may help:

  1. Warm Compress

Applying a warm compress to the affected region can alleviate hip pain by increasing blood flow and reducing muscle stiffness. You can use a heating pad or create a homemade compress by soaking a towel in warm water. Apply it for 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid placing the heating pad directly on your abdominal area.

  1. Massage

A gentle massage from a trained prenatal massage therapist can help relieve hip pain in early pregnancy by easing muscle tension. Women can also get a massage from their partners at home. Here’s a step-by-step guide to a partner-assisted hip massage during pregnancy:

  1. Lie on your side with your knees bent. Use a pregnancy pillow to support your body for comfort.
  2. Ask your partner to locate the edge of your triangular sacrum on your back. Visualise an imaginary line from your hip bone to your back, marking your triangular sacrum.
  3. Have your partner gently press down with their palm towards your feet on the triangular sacrum. Simultaneously, they should stretch in the opposite direction with their other palm towards your rib cage.
  4. They can also focus on your hip bone, using gentle circular or rocking motions with their fists to massage the area.
  5. Switch to the other side of the body for complete relief.
  1. Pelvic Belt 

A pregnancy support belt or pelvic belt can help reduce pressure on the hips and pelvis by providing additional support to the abdomen. According to a study by PubMed, wearing a pelvic belt positively affected hip pain reduction during pregnancy. 

Lifestyle Changes

Lifestyle changes can help reduce hip discomfort and improve well-being during pregnancy. You can enjoy a more comfortable pregnancy experience with the right lifestyle changes. The following are the key lifestyle adjustments to manage hip pain during pregnancy: 

  1. Maintain Good Posture: Ensure paying attention to your posture, whether sitting, standing, or walking. Keep your shoulders back, chest up, and pelvis in a neutral position to reduce strain on your hips. Avoid lifting heavy items.

  1. Sleeping Position: The correct position can significantly reduce left hip pain during early pregnancy and towards the end. It is recommended to sleep on your side during pregnancy. This position can improve blood circulation to the baby. Also, avoid lying on your back after 16-20 weeks of pregnancy, as it can increase the chances of stillbirth.

  1. Sleeping Pillows: For women who sleep on their side, placing a pillow between their knees and under the abdomen can help alleviate hip pain at night. Invest in a pregnancy pillow, or use regular pillows to support your body.

  1. Avoid Prolonged Standing or Sitting: Take breaks to avoid long periods of standing or sitting. Change positions frequently to prevent stiffness and reduce pressure on your hips. Furthermore, avoid activities that may increase pelvic pain, like crossing your legs or lifting heavy objects. 

  1. Wear Supportive Shoes: Choose comfortable, flat footwear with adequate arch support. It helps maintain good posture and reduces strain on your hips. If you start to notice pain, stay off your feet as much as possible.

  1. Stretches and Exercises: Women should engage in gentle exercises recommended by their doctors throughout pregnancy. These exercises help :

    1. Strengthen muscles
    2. Prevent extra weight gain
    3. Improve posture
    4. Reduce hip pain

Yoga is one such stretching activity that may be good for pregnant women. This is due to its gentle and low-impact nature. However, women should let their instructors know they are pregnant before engaging in yoga poses. The following yoga poses can help reduce hip pain during pregnancy:

  1. Cow’s Pose: The stretch strengthens your lower back, decreasing hip pain during pregnancy. It also helps relieve round ligament pain. 

    1. Start on your hands and knees. Align your wrists under your shoulders and the knees under your hips.
    2. Gently lower your belly towards the mat, creating an arch in your spine.
    3. Lift your head and gaze straight ahead.
    4. Return to a neutral position. 
    5. Repeat this movement as needed.
  1. Child’s Pose: The resting pose helps gently strengthen your aching hips, pelvis, and thighs. 

    1. Begin in a kneeling position. Your toes will be tucked under, arms extended forward, and knees spread apart, about hip-width distance.
    2. Sit back on your heels and exhale as you lower your torso, bringing your forehead to the floor.
    3. Rest your forehead on the mat and let your chest sink toward the ground.
    4. Hold the position for as long as it is comfortable.
    5. Return to a neutral position. 
  1. Pigeon Pose: The pose helps stretch your hip flexors and lower back. Stretching helps lengthen the muscles, alleviating lower back or hip pain during pregnancy. 

    1. Begin in a tabletop position on your hands and knees.
    2. Slide your left knee forward as far as comfortably possible. Slide the foot toward the opposite wrist (right wrist).
    3. Extend your right leg backwards, feeling a gentle stretch along the underside of your front leg.
    4. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. 
    5. Repeat the stretch with the opposite leg.

  1. One Leg Forward Bend: The exercise helps stretch the entire back, hips, and thighs. By stretching the hips and lower back, it resolves issues like sciatica. 

    1. Sit on the floor. Keep your legs straight and extended before you.
    2. Bend one knee and place the sole of that foot on the inside of your opposite thigh.
    3. Inhale deeply, lengthening your spine and preparing for the stretch.
    4. While exhaling, lean the upper body forward over your extended leg. Keep your back straight. 
    5. Reach your hands toward your extended foot or leg, aiming to hold your ankle, shin, or foot, depending on your flexibility.
    6. Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. 
    7. Slowly return to the normal position. 
    8. Switch to the other leg.

Healthy Diet 

Excessive weight can put additional pressure on your hips. According to Healthline, usually, only 340 extra calories are required daily to support a healthy pregnancy. A balanced diet helps you stay within your pregnancy’s recommended weight gain guidelines. Healthy foods and beverages you must include in your diet during pregnancy are:

  1. Fruits like apples, oranges, bananas, mangoes, and berries provide vitamins, fibre, folate, antioxidants, etc.
  2. Vegetables like sweet potato, broccoli, spinach, peppers, and okra are low in calories, fat and cholesterol. They are good sources of vitamins, fibre and minerals.
  3. Nuts and seeds, beans and lentils, tofu, lean meats and chicken, and eggs contain protein. 
  4. Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, bulgar, millet, and whole-wheat bread have fibre, folic acid, iron, and other vitamins and minerals.
  5. Low-fat or fat-free dairy like yoghurt and cheese are important sources of protein and calcium.
  6. Oils like olive oil and vegetable oil contain vitamins A, K and E.
  7. Drinking water improves joint health.

Medical Intervention

Women who experience hip pain during early pregnancy or towards the end should consult a doctor. They may find relief with over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen. However, OTC medications can have some risks. Therefore, you should consult a doctor before consuming these medicines.


When to Consult a Doctor?

While back and hip pain are normal in pregnancy, it is important to recognise that not all pains are common. Expectant mothers can sometimes encounter severe lower back and hip pain in early pregnancy that disrupts their daily activities. In such situations, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional promptly.

Women should also contact a doctor if they experience symptoms of preterm labour during late pregnancy. These symptoms include:

  1. Hip pain accompanied by pelvic pressure that spreads to the thighs before the 37th week of pregnancy
  2. Abdominal cramping and discomfort, especially in the lower abdomen
  3. Lower back pain that extends to the front and side of the body while changing positions
  4. Unexpected contractions that occur every 5-15 minutes and last for 60 to 90 seconds
  5. Clear, pink, or brown vaginal discharge

Takeaway

Hip pain during pregnancy is often attributed to hormonal changes, weight gain, and postural adjustments. While it can be challenging, various strategies and treatments are available to help manage and alleviate hip pain. Consultation with healthcare providers and adopting healthy habits can go a long way in addressing this common issue.

At HexaHealth, we offer expert guidance to address pregnancy hip pain. Our team offers knowledge and resources to reduce hip discomfort throughout pregnancy. Furthermore, we can help you connect with expert doctors if you require medical intervention. So, schedule an appointment TODAY! 

Suggested Reads

Fever in Pregnancy
Loose Motion in Pregnancy - How to Stop? Top Home Remedies
Piles during Pregnancy - Symptoms, Causes, Risks & Treatment
Heart Disease in Pregnancy - Signs, Risks and Solutions
Bleeding during Pregnancy - Reason, What to Expect, Solutions
Stomach Pain during Pregnancy - Causes, Risks and Solutions

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, hip pain is common during pregnancy, especially during the second and third trimesters. Several factors can contribute to hip pain during pregnancy, such as weight gain, hormonal changes, and incorrect posture.

Causes of left hip pain during early pregnancy may include:

  1. Increased pressure on the left side of the hip resulting from the growing foetus
  2. Hormonal changes
  3. Weight gain
  4. Poor sleeping position
  5. Changes in posture

Yes, hip pain during pregnancy 3rd trimester is common. During this time, the baby gains significant weight, putting pressure on the hips. Furthermore, the production of pregnancy hormones is highest during this time.

Hip pain is most common during the second and third trimesters. However, many women may also experience hip pain in early pregnancy of 4 weeks. It may accompany symptoms like morning sickness, breast tenderness, and cramping.


Right-side hip pain during pregnancy can be caused by factors like:

  1. Increased pressure of the growing foetus on the right side 
  2. Gaining weight
  3. Hormone fluctuations
  4. Changes in posture
  5. Incorrect sleeping position


There are several home remedies, lifestyle changes, and medical treatment options to relieve hip pain during pregnancy. Some of these treatments include:

  1. Warm compresses
  2. Massage
  3. Stretches and exercises
  4. Correct sleeping position
  5. Wearing comfortable shoes

The treatment and management for lower back and hip pain in early pregnancy include:

  1. Strengthening and stretching exercises
  2. Heat and cold
  3. Improving posture

Many women complain that hip pain during pregnancy hurts to walk if not treated. To relieve this hip pain, you can consider the following approaches:

  1. Pain medications like acetaminophen 
  2. Warm compresses or warm baths
  3. Massage 
  4. Physical therapy
  5. Chiropractic care

You should consult a doctor if hip pain during pregnancy makes regular activities like walking difficult.

You can relieve hip joint pain during pregnancy with the following methods:

  1. Yoga 
  2. Pain relievers like acetaminophen 
  3. Massage
  4. Warm bath or compresses

Yes, there are remedies for hip pain in the first trimester of pregnancy. These include:

  1. Light yoga
  2. Warm baths
  3. Massage
  4. Pain relief medications

Sleeping on your side during pregnancy can increase hip pain. However, it is the most comfortable sleeping position. Therefore, you should consider sleeping with your pillow between the knees for better alignment of the legs. You should avoid lying on your back after 16-20 weeks of pregnancy as it increases the chances of stillbirth.


Side sleeping is the most comfortable position during pregnancy. To avoid hip pain, place pillows between your knees and under your abdomen.


Positions that can aggravate hip pain during pregnancy include:

  1. Standing for long periods
  2. Sitting or lying down in one position
  3. Doing certain exercises

The safe and recommended medicines to relieve hip pain during pregnancy include acetaminophen and paracetamol. Talk to a doctor before taking OTC medications for hip pain during pregnancy. 


Consult your doctor if hip pain becomes unbearable during pregnancy. Hip pain during late pregnancy can also be a sign of preterm labour. 


References

All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.


  1. Kesikburun S, Güzelküçük Ü, Fidan U, Demir Y, Ergün A, Tan AK. Musculoskeletal pain and symptoms in pregnancy: a descriptive study. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease. 2018 Nov 19;10(12):229–34.link
  2. A. Henigsman S. Pregnancy Hip Pain: Home Treatment, Causes, Prevention [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2023 Sep 22]. Available from: https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/pregnancy-hip-painlink
  3. Weatherspoon D. Pregnancy hip pain: Is it normal and how to find relief [Internet]. www.medicalnewstoday.com. 2020 [cited 2023 Sep 22]. link
  4. A. Henigsman S. Pregnancy Hip Pain: Home Treatment, Causes, Prevention [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2023 Sep 22]. link
  5. American Pregnancy Association. Hip Pain During Pregnancy [Internet]. American Pregnancy Association. 2017. link
  6. A. Henigsman S. Pregnancy Hip Pain: Home Treatment, Causes, Prevention [Internet]. Healthline. 2018 [cited 2023 Sep 22]. link
  7. Weatherspoon D. Pregnancy hip pain: Is it normal and how to find relief [Internet]. www.medicalnewstoday.com. 2020. link
  8. American Pregnancy Association. Hip Pain During Pregnancy [Internet]. American Pregnancy Association. 2017. link
  9. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Eat Healthy During Pregnancy: Quick tips - MyHealthfinder | health.gov [Internet]. health.gov. link
  10. Australia H. Healthy diet during pregnancy [Internet]. www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au. 2022. link
  11. Kesikburun S, Güzelküçük Ü, Fidan U, Demir Y, Ergün A, Tan AK. Musculoskeletal pain and symptoms in pregnancy: a descriptive study. Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease. 2018 Nov 19;10(12):229–34.link
  12. BabyScience IVF Clinics Pvt Ltd. Hip Pain During Pregnancy - What You Need to Know - Baby Science IVF [Internet]. www.babyscienceivf.com. 2022 [cited 2023 Sep 22]. link
  13. Nivin Todd. Back Pain During Pregnancy: Causes and Treatments [Internet]. WebMD. 2022. link

Updated on : 15 December 2023

Reviewer

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More

Author

Kirti V

Kirti V

B.A. English | M.A. English ( Magadh University, Bihar)

3 Years Experience

With 3 years of full-time experience as an SEO content writer, she has honed her skills to deliver captivating and persuasive writing that leaves a lasting impact. She is always ready to learn new things and expand...View More

Expert Doctors

Obsteterics and Gynaecology

45+ Years

Experience

97%

Recommended

Infertility and IVF, Obstetrics And Genecology

19+ Years

Experience

97%

Recommended

NABH Accredited Hospitals

Akanksha IVF Centre, Janakpuri
JCI
NABH

Akanksha IVF Centre, Janakpuri

4.94/5( Ratings)
A - 3/7
BH Salvas Hospital
JCI
NABH

BH Salvas Hospital

4.89/5( Ratings)
Chandan Palace
get the app
get the app

Latest Health Articles

aiChatIcon