Groin pain is really common during pregnancy. It can occur at any time during pregnancy, but is generally the most problematic in the third trimester.
Causes of Groin Pain During Pregnancy
- Increase in Hormones- Your body is running high with hormones such as progesterone and relaxin which have a loosening effect on your muscles, joints, and ligaments. This process helps prepare your body for childbirth, but also causes relaxation of tissues and joints that normally support your body.
- Structural Changes- Your body is changing each day. Your stomach muscles are stretching, as is your uterus. Your baby is increasing in size, putting extra strain on your hips and pelvis to hold you up. Your center of gravity is shifting. You are using your muscles in different ways and this can cause discomfort in your groin area.
- Weight gain- As your pregnancy progresses you are gaining weight and this puts strain on your hips and pelvis, which are stretching and widening to make room for baby.
- Poor posture- Bending and sitting improperly can put extra pressure and tension on your hips and groin as can standing for extended periods of time.
- Stress- Stress causes tension and stiffness in all parts of your body. With the extra pressure that maternity places on your hips and pelvis, groin pain is not uncommon. Try out some of our stress relieving tips.
- Round ligament- Round ligament can create intermittent sharp pains in the hips, pelvis, and uterus along the inside of your hip bones and in the groin. This type of pain is caused by stretching in the uterus putting pressure on the round ligament that holds it in place.
- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction is a condition of instability in the pelvic joints, specifically the pubic bone, which can be aggravated by relaxed ligaments during pregnancy.
Preventing Groin Pain During Pregnancy
The following are things you can do to reduce groin pain. Sometimes it is not possible to eliminate all pain entirely, but the following tips can help dramatically.
- Practice good posture- Stand with your hips and pelvis tucked in and your shoulders back and head up.
- Wear good shoes- high heeled shoes and shoes without support can contribute to groin pain.
- When sleeping or resting, lie on your side with your knees and hips bent. Try placing a pillow between your knees and one under your belly. This can take pressure off your groin, hips and back. There are also some great pregnancy pillows that can help make you more comfortable.
- Try a pregnancy support belt.
- Practice safe lifting and bending- To lower your body, bend at the knees instead of the waist. Use your thigh muscles to push yourself up.
- If you will be standing for extended periods of time, try to keep one of your feet elevated on a low stool.
- Exercise regularly to strengthen your body and help support your increasing weight.
- Prenatal Yoga- is excellent for keeping your body moving and increasing mobility while decreasing pain.
- Be sure you are getting adequate calcium and magnesium in your diet.
- Get your partner or a friend to help you with techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief book.
- Pregnancy massage (prenatal massage)- regular massages can help keep your body loose and comfortable, helping you manage stress and pain.
- Acupunture- can help keep you balanced and prevent you from aching.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- Chiropractic visits can be helpful for groin pain.
- When you sit, elevate your feet slightly. Try to take breaks at least every half hour and don’t cross your legs.
Treatment for Groin Pain During Pregnancy
- Use ice or heat.
- Take acetaminophen for pain.
- See a chiropractor, massage therapist, or acupuncturist.
- Use a pregnancy belt or support device.
- When lying down use a pregnancy pillow.
- Have your partner help you with pregnancy pain relief techniques.
- Take a warm bath.
- Herbal medicine.
When You Should Call Your Doctor
- Your groin pain is very intense
- Your groin pain is getting increasingly worse.
- You have rhythmic hip and pelvic pain that feels like menstrual cramps.
- You are having spotting or bleeding.