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When Do Hips Widen During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, hips start to widen after the 10th or 12th week. This is around the time when the hormone, relaxin, is released to loosen pelvic ligament fibers and widen the cervix. This helps prepare a woman’s body for the growing fetus and facilitates an easier birth.

The hips widen at about the 10th to 12th week of pregnancy. This is the answer to a common question asked by expecting mothers. It is around this time that the body releases a hormone called relaxin, which is designed to loosen pelvic ligament fibers and widen the cervix. A woman’s hips are normally wider than a man’s to facilitate the passing of a newborn through the birthing canal. The widening of the hips is one of the most notable changes a pregnant woman will see throughout her pregnancy.

Table of Contents

Do Hips Become Wider During Pregnancy?

Yes, but given that every woman is built differently, there isn’t a general guideline that applies to everyone. However, most women experience similar markers during pregnancy as their hips widen.

Will My Hips Return to Their Pre-Pregnancy Size?

Since it took a whole nine months to transform the body in preparation for birth, it usually takes about 6 to 12 months to see it fully return to its normal size.

Why Do My Hips Widen When I’m Pregnant?

Your hips widen during pregnancy to prepare the body for the growing fetus and birth. As the fetus grows and a woman starts to carry a heavier load, the widening of the hips helps shift her center of gravity. This change provides a stable base that supports the weight gain and the new form the body adopts.

In addition, wider hips also allow the uterus to expand and the pelvic muscles to accommodate the passage of the fetus during birth. The bottom line is that wider hips make carrying and giving birth to a baby easier.

What Can Cause Hip Pain During My Pregnancy?

The main reason why women may experience hip pain during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters is the release of relaxin. This hormone is secreted after a woman ovulates as she prepares for a potential pregnancy. When she becomes pregnant, the levels of relaxin continue to rise.

Because relaxin loosens connective tissues in the hip joints, the increased flexibility makes the muscles overcompensate as the connective tissues adapt to the maximized range of motion. Joint tissues and surrounding muscles are overexerted and wear out causing pain.

What is Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction?

The pubic symphysis is the anatomical term for the joint between the right and left pelvic bones. Symphysis pubis dysfunction is made up of a group of symptoms a pregnant woman experiences as the pubic symphysis increases its range of motion.

Symptoms may manifest from mild discomfort to shooting pain. Pain varies depending on how weight is distributed and the way a woman moves her body. Commonly, most women experience an increase in the level of pain until it is time for delivery.

What is Sacroiliac Joint Pain?

Some pregnant women can experience sacroiliac joint pain, which is characterized by discomfort in the lower back and buttocks. In some cases, the pain can also be felt in the thighs and legs.

The sacroiliac joints connect the sacrum to the pelvis. Again, the relaxin hormone is the main reason why pregnant women may experience this condition. There are various ways in which a woman can alleviate this type of pain including wearing a maternity support belt and doing physical therapy.

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?

Not all pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain. Those that do experience a group of symptoms that are caused by the stiffening of pelvic joints. A waddling gait or difficulty walking is one of the characteristics of PGP. Symptoms are more likely to be felt during straddle movements such as getting in and out of the bathtub.

What Does it Mean to Have Childbearing Hips?

Simply put, childbearing hips describe a woman’s pelvic structure that is characterized by wide hips. It is an expression used to describe the hips of women who have wider or larger hips than most. Women vary greatly in shape and size, thus not all women may have childbearing hips.

What is a Gynecoid Pelvis?

The gynecoid pelvis is used to characterize the hip area of a man or a woman that features a feminine shape. The bone structure is wider, more delicate, and lower compared to a masculine pelvis.

It also displays a wider and more round angle of the pubic arch as women usually have. A gynecoid-shaped pelvis is considered to be the most beneficial for delivering a baby.

What is an Anthropoid Pelvis?

A deep and narrow pelvis is classified as an anthropoid type because it is oval. This elongated form allows for more room from front to back. However, because it is narrower than the gynecoid type pelvis, it may make labor lengthier.

What is an Android Pelvis?

A pelvis that is android in shape looks like a male pelvis. The shape is like a wedge or heart and it is much narrower than a gynecoid type pelvis. Because of its narrow shape, labor is very difficult and slows down the baby’s passage through the birth canal. A longer delivery can trigger the need for a C-section.

What is a Platypelloid Pelvis?

Also known as a flat pelvis, a platypelloid pelvis is found to be the least common type. It is oval like the anthropoid type pelvis, but shallow. This shape makes vaginal birth challenging and may trigger the need for a C-section as the baby has difficulty passing through the birth canal.

Why Do Childbearing Hips Allow an Easier Delivery?

Wider hips make it easier for the pelvic joints to expand as a baby passes through the birth canal. Childbearing hips are more round, open, and wide – all of which give a baby plenty of room during labor.

How Can I Treat Hip Pain?

You may attempt to alleviate hip pain with the following therapies:

  • Exercises
  • Acupuncture
  • Warm Baths and Compresses
  • Chiropractic care
  • Aspirin
  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

When is Medical Intervention Necessary?

If basic remedies don’t alleviate hip pain and it starts to disturb your daily activities, it’s best to see your physician. Your OB/GYN will provide you with effective therapies while maintaining a safe pregnancy.

Use Soothing Warm Compresses

Warm compresses are a great way to relieve hip pain during pregnancy. Apply warmth to the hip joints to increase blood flow and relax muscles. You may use a heating pad or hot water bottle to soothe muscle spasms.

Pregnancy or Pelvic Belts

Pregnancy or pelvic belts help relieve hip, back, and abdominal pain during pregnancy. They offer support by wrapping around your back and hips providing much-needed compression. The belt allows pressure to be distributed evenly and supports the joints while also providing support to the growing abdomen.

Choose a Supportive Sleeping Position

During pregnancy, you may find yourself having fewer choices for sleeping positions. Although side sleeping may be your favorite position during pregnancy, it contributes to hip pain. To alleviate pressure on your hips while side sleeping, place pillows between your knees to provide alignment and support.

Physical Therapy

A physical therapy regimen can be started even before you become pregnant. By the 2nd trimester, hip pain becomes common and you should certainly make physical therapy part of your daily care.

Hip-Opening Exercises to Practice During Pregnancy

Practicing exercises that help to open your hips during pregnancy will allow you to enjoy your delivery much more. The following exercises will help you achieve more flexibility, reduce achy muscles and joints, help you relax, and prepare you for childbirth.

Open Your Pelvis With Squats/Garland Pose

Squats will make your thighs stronger and will open your pelvic area to prepare you for delivery. Some health experts suggest doing approximately 300 squats daily to deliver your baby quickly. When you perform squats, be sure your ankles, knees, and hips are squared and aligned while making sure your knees don’t go past your feet as you bend them.

Hip Flexor Stretch

As you stretch your hip flexors, be sure to support with a towel under your knee while keeping your spine erect. Repeat stretch at least three times and hold it for 30 seconds.

Pigeon

The pigeon pose will open your hips as the hip flexors and lower back are stretched. It will help you increase flexibility and mobility.

Figure 4

While laying on your back, the figure 4 exercise will give you a deep stretch of your hips and buttocks.

Seated Straddle

The seated straddle position provides a big stretch to your hips, legs, shoulders, and arms.

FAQ

Will my hips widen during pregnancy?

Yes, the hips certainly become wider as the pregnancy progresses.

What trimester do hips widen?

Hips start to widen at the 2nd trimester and continue to widen into the 3rd trimester.

Will hips go back after pregnancy?

After giving birth, most women will start to see their hips return to their pre-pregnancy size after approximately 12 weeks and will continue to transform in the next 6-12 months.

Does it hurt when your hips widen during pregnancy?

Yes, however, relieving your body from hip pain during pregnancy can be achieved by consistent exercise and other therapies.

Do your hips widen if you have a C-section?

Hips widen during pregnancy regardless whether you have a C-section or natural birth.

How to shrink hips after pregnancy?

A series of exercises along with nutritious diet will aid in shrinking your hips after pregnancy.