With the extra weight maternity brings and all the bodily changes a woman undergoes during pregnancy, the hips, thighs, legs, pelvis and back are natural places to have discomfort.
Causes of Thigh Pain During Pregnancy
- Structural changes- Your body is undergoing a great deal of change. Your posture has shifted a lot. Your abdominal muscles and uterus are stretching, and your baby is growing inside you. This puts extra strain on your hips and pelvis to hold you up and changes your center of gravity. Most of the muscles of the thigh attach to the pelvis in some area or another. All the changes in your hips can produce pain in the front, back, inside or outside of your thighs.
- 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.
- Weight Gain- as you put on weight, your legs and thighs must work harder to hold you up. This can make them ache and feel tired and sore.
- Round ligament- Round ligament can create intermittent sharp pains in the hips, pelvis, and uterus along the inside of your hip bones and can refer pain down into your thighs and groin. This type of pain is caused by stretching in the uterus putting pressure on the round ligament that holds it in place.
- Circulation Problems- as your uterus gets bigger it may put pressure on your blood vessels, resulting in poor circulation to your legs.
- Edema- water retention can cause swelling, impeding blood flow and adding tension.
- Nerves- Weight gain and baby may put pressure on the nerves that lead into your legs, resulting in pain or cramping.
- 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 Thigh Pain During Pregnancy
- Drink plenty of water.
- Be sure you are getting adequate Calcium and Magnesium in your diet.
- Practice prenatal yoga.
- Exercise regularly. Walking is very beneficial during pregnancy.
- Practice regular stretching exercises.
- Wear support hose.
- Try not to sit or stand for long periods. If you must, take frequent breaks and walk around.
- If you will be standing for long periods, elevate one foot slightly on a stool.
- If you will be sitting for long periods, elevate both feet slightly, placing them on a stool or small box.
- Practice pregnancy pain relief techniques.
- Don’t cross your legs.
- Wear a pregnancy support belt.
- Practice Self Massage or get regular Prenatal Massages and/or acupuncture.
- Use a pregnancy pillow at night.
Treatment for Thigh Pain During Pregnancy
- Take a warm bath.
- Use moist heat.
- Take acetaminophen for pain.
- See an acupuncturist, massage therapist or chiropractor
- Herbal Medicine.
- Have your partner help you with hands on techniques such as those in the Pregnancy Pain Relief book.
When to Call Your Doctor
- Your pain is severe.
- Your pain is getting worse or is accompanied by spotting or bleeding.