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Pregnancy is a roller coaster of emotions and can cause symptoms that can be both annoying and painful to go through. Hormonal changes, excess fluids, the weight of your growing tummy, pressure from the uterus and the difficulty to maintain a correct posture can cause undue stress to the joints and result in intense discomfort.
You need to understand that while it may be not possible to completely avoid leg joint pain during pregnancy, there are a few remedies that you can try to relieve the pain.
What is Joint Pain?
Joint pain is a sore or stiff feeling that you may experience at places where your body is structured to bend. Such places include the hips, elbows, knees, fingers, and ankles.
Causes of Joint Pain in Pregnancy
The reason for joint pain in each woman may be a reflection her health. But there are a few common reasons that lead to joint pain in many women.
- Hips, knees, and ankles usually are under pressure and pain due to weight gain during pregnancy. As the increasing weight requires extra support and better weight distribution, you may feel discomfort around these joints.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome which occurs due to excessive fluid gain can also put pressure on your wrist, leading to pain in both, your wrist and hand.
- Hypothyroidism is a condition when you thyroid glands do not produce enough thyroid hormone. The condition leads to weight gain and can also cause excessive pain in the joint during pregnancy.
- When you are pregnant, your ovaries release a hormone called relaxin that prepared your pelvic muscles and tendons by stretching and relaxing them. However, it may also loosen ligaments around the joints putting additional strain on them, causing pain.
- Pregnant women are recommended that they sleep on the left side. Sleeping on one side for an entire night may make the body stiff and cause joint pains, especially at the hips.
- A medical history of arthritis or disk problem can lead to constant pain in the joints during pregnancy. The symptoms of the condition may even get worse when you are pregnant.
- The weight of the baby and the uterus can cause something called as Sacroiliac Joint Pain, which results in pain the in the lower back and may even restrict movement to an extent.
- If you are sitting and working for long hours during pregnancy, you may also be prone to joint pain.
Doctors usually conduct a biochemical blood analysis to check for lack of any microelements and calcium. Deficiency of calcium can also be a reason for joint pain.
Although, if you have a history of auto-immune diseases like arthritis, spondylitis, osteoarthritis, etc, your medical history and medication will be checked during your prenatal visit to rule out any complications.
Acetaminophen, in very small doses, may be given to pregnant women. However, it is absolutely essential that you check with your doctor about its suitability before taking this medicine, as it is linked to liver damage when used excessively.
One of the best ways to treat sore joints during pregnancy is to follow simple home remedies. Some of the remedial measures you could take include.
- Hot and cold therapy: You can take a hot shower or place electric heating pads on your joints. You can also use an ice pack wrapped in a towel and place it over your joints.
- Splints: You can use splints on your hands and knees to relieve pain.
- Massage: Massaging the problem area can reduce stiffness and facilitate movement. You can also sign up for prenatal massage therapy with a licensed therapist.
- Herbal supplements: Certain herbal supplements like ginger extract can be used to relieve joint pain. However, you will need to ensure that these do not react with medicines by consulting a doctor and seeking medical advice.
- Omega 3: Food items rich in omega 3 fatty acids, like eggs, can be a great remedy for joint pain.
- Footwear: It is important that you wear footwear that provides proper support and stay away from heels to reduce joint pain.
- Don’t over-extend: Exercising regularly can help promote muscle movement and flexibility in joints. However, it is important that you do not extend yourself too much to avoid straining your joints. Swimming and water aerobics are gentle and can help relieve joint pain.
- Sleep: Get enough sleep and rest well. A well-rested body can help reduce joint pain.
- Elevate your feet: Put your feet up as much as you can to relieve joint pain and improve blow flow.
When to Consult a Doctor?
If the home remedies do not help with the pain you can reach out to your doctor to prescribe you medications. Communicate with your doctor about any arthritis or other medications that you may be on. You may need to get a different prescription for it as many drugs are considered to not be safe during pregnancy.
Keeping your body healthy and squeezing in exercise and a balanced diet to your routine can help reduce the intensity of these pains. You can alleviate a large portion of your joint pain with these simple measures.
Also Read: 10 Effective Pregnancy Sleep Tips