November 17, 2010 (2:40 pm)

Pregnancy / Postpartum Hip Pain

by Kristen Suzanne

Back in the 7th month of pregnancy with Kamea, I started having hip pain. It never did let up with the birth of her, in fact, it’s become a little worse. For the most part, it doesn’t hurt too much during the day, except when I get up from a seated position and take the first few steps (ouch!). It hurts the worst when I’m sleeping (which sucks when you’re finally trying to get some much needed sleep!). It’s my left hip and the pain hurts whether I’m lying on my left or right side. If I’m lying on my back, it’s okay, but this mama does a lot of side-lying nursing through the night so I need to be on a side. However, one thing that has really helped at night is using my (Blessed Nest) nursing pillow against my back when I’m lying on my side (I knew I’d get more use from this pillow than just breastfeeding. Love it!). Prior to figuring that out, I used to just keep myself up on my side balancing with my own muscles and I couldn’t really relax. I wonder if this contributed even more to the stress in my hip? But, now that I’m using the pillow (and not just any pillow, it needs to be hearty and be able to stand up to my leaning on it), it’s easier to be relaxed in bed.

So, it was getting really bad. I could barely sleep as pain shot through my hip and down my leg so I finally decided to get help at about 4 months postpartum. I was choosing between physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, seeing my MD, (oh, and I thought about seeing a chiropractor). I opted to try the physical therapy first. I went for about 4 visits so far. It has helped thankfully. It’s not completely better but there is improvement. When I’m there I stretch it, do some exercises, they put a heating pad on it, then put electrical impulse things on it, and they rub the heck out of it.

Fingers crossed it keeps getting better, because I think that I want to get back into the gym after Thanksgiving. I need to get my blood pumping a bit, but with my hip acting up, it’s impossible. I’d also like to do some strength training. Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying our gorgeous Arizona weather and walking with Kamea in a babywearing carrier. We go around the block 2-3 times a day. That’s nothing major, but carrying a 15 pound baby strapped to your body does burn some extra calories and build a little physical endurance.

And while I’m on the topic of complaining about postpartum pain, can I bitch about the postpartum hair shedding? I think I’m officially going to be doing a “comb over” like some balding 50 year old man. :(

Here’s a cute forum post that says it all.

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  • Bandora

    I've been experiencing massive post partum hair shedding as well and so is my little one, after being born with a full head of hair I can now see scalp!

  • Lyndsay Williams

    The hair shedding freaked me out – I have always had a lot of hair, and despite all of my reading, had not come across that little tidbit. It is crazy how much hair I lost.

  • Lissa

    You may want to check out a chiropractor for your hip pain. Some spinal manipulation may help alleviate the pain. I hurt my hip over the summer (similar pain to what you have) and did some physical therapy and manipulation. Worked wonders.

    As for the hair – the good news is that this is short lived. The bad news is it stinks right now. With both my kids I lost a lot of hair but it ended up coming back so don't worry. My DH complained about having to unclog the drains a couple of times. But it will stop.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Oh, thx! That was the other consideration… Chiro. Forgot to add that.

  • Lauren519

    Hey Kristen, so sorry about your hip and hair! I haven't had much hip pain, only at night from sleeping on my left side for too long. Once I turn to my right side for a little, it goes away. As for the shedding, I can totally understand! I hate to sound so vain, but I have cried many times after being sick and losing a ton of hair. Especially when I would pull it out in chunks in the shower. I always had my hairdresser give me a good hair cut to cover it (shorter helps). So I am almost positive I'll experience it after my baby comes. I guess it has to do with the trauma to the body? That's what my docs always tell me, because it always occurs 3-4 months after I've had a bad flare. Anyway, hang in there! XOXO

  • Kristen Suzanne

    It blows. But an obvious teeny tiny price to pay. ;)

    Sent from my iPad

  • Sky

    I hope I get that “hair shedding!” Other women have told me about it and I can't wait. Yeah, I think it's gross – I've always had to vacuum bathroom floor so often to deal with my normal shedding. But it's never seemed to thin out my hair and I hate how thick it is. Right, you'd think it's a blessing UNTIL you try to dry it or keep a clip in it – ain't happening. No one wants super thin hair but sheesh, I wouldn't mind reducing 25% volume; I'll tell you that!

    I'm 34 weeks and I've had left hip pain for 2 weeks (along with knee pain, pelvic pain, feet that look like Shrek's, serious heartburn, nasal congestion and peeing every 45 minutes, even at night – IMAGINE how much sleep I get) and as grateful as I am to have a healthy little one inside (this was an IVF baby), this pregnancy thing is for the birds (I even feel badly for them).

    Sorry for the complaining but when I read about your hip pain I thought, Crap, I have that too – on top of everything else!

  • Kristen McNabb

    Ohhh, I feel your pain, literally! I had that exact same experience during my 6th month of pregnancy and then again after I gave birth. Each time I got adjusted and the pain was gone. The key is finding a good chiropractor. Don't be afraid to shop around if you don't see good results. I hope you feel better soon! And I'm with you on the hair shedding thing. Mine always comes out like crazy with each kiddo. I actually just chopped my hair and donated it to Locks of Love, that way I have less to clean up :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks for sharing. Nice to know I'm not alone. :)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I actually thought that same thing when I was pregnant. I ordinarily

    have very thick hair and thought to myself, “Hey, if I lose hair, no

    big deal. I can stand to lose some.” WRONG! I had no idea it would be

    this much. My hair is way thin now.

    Oh, and congrats on your IVF baby. Don't know if you know, but Kamea

    is too. We did a natural transfer for her, but prior to that, we did

    mini-ivf and have 3 souls on ice if we need help with Kamea's future

    sibling. :)

  • Elainie

    Wow, sounds intense. I know some women get pain from the way their baby is positioned in the womb .Check out for tons of info and belly mapping to prevent malpositioning- I plan to do this with my pregnancy this time around because I have a history of posterior labors and one posterior born baby.

    Have you ever checked out network chiropractors? I was surprised at the efficacy after having first brushed it off because it's not like traditional chiropractic practice.

    Sorry about the hair-loss, I never dealt with postpartum hair loss. I think it's strange some women get it and other's don't.

  • Elainie

    This is the section of that website that might interest you regarding hip/back pain/adjustment after a baby's birth:

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Strange indeed. Lucky you.

    I will check the link out. Thx!

  • Anna

    I feel your pain on both counts. Our hip pain sounds a bit different, but yoga and the chiro are helping me through min. Carrying an 18 pounder on my right hip for a good portion of the day isn't doing the left side any favors. And the hair – argh! I don't have an enormous amount to begin with, but what used to be 3x around with the hair tie to make a ponytail is now 4x. So sad.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Ooh. Good point about the hip carrying. I just started doing that with Kamea.

    3 times around hair to now 4 times. Yup. :/ lol.

  • Claudia S

    LOL, yes the hair shedding is awful I have a 4 yr and a 2 yr old and lost a lot of hair with both of them and since I got pregnant when my first one was only 1 yr I was loosing hair for a period of 3 yrs! But it does grow back thank God I mean what is a woman without her hair! Regarding the hip pain, my first choice would have been to see a chiropractor, one that specializes in kinesiology and acupuncture, hip pain is very common and not hard to fix at all. It is good to check out a few of them and find the one that you like most, after all it is a great idea to do a chiropractor visit at least once a month for prevention and great health. If you are in back pain or some other pain related with your spine than there is no healthy food that is going to make you feel better. Just my two cents.

  • Janelle

    My hair is falling out like mad as well – it is grossing me out! I find it everywhere…

    I had hip pain as well, and it has certainly improved but isn’t completely gone. Did the PT think it was due to everything stretching out during pregnancy?

  • Jamie

    I experienced massive hair loss too. I actually had a bit of a receding hair line for a while. I think it took about a year and all my hair came back though. It sucks, but the good news is you’re so busy this first year it’ll go by fast. Did your feet grow? If you haven’t yet, don’t try on your fancy shoes. :( I cried.

  • Jackie

    I'm a big fan of therapeutic yoga from an experienced practitioner because of it's whole body approach. My most beneficial experiences have been with certified Anusara yoga teachers. Basically, I have high respect for the rigor of their training and and the Anusara philosophy/approach resonates with me. Of course, experience, training, and honoring my gut feelings are always my approach to finding assistance in wellness.

    Love your blogs!

  • Jackie

    I'm a big fan of therapeutic yoga from an experienced practitioner because of it's whole body approach. My most beneficial experiences have been with certified Anusara yoga teachers. Basically, I have high respect for the rigor of their training and and the Anusara philosophy/approach resonates with me. Of course, experience, training, and honoring my gut feelings are always my approach to finding assistance in wellness.

    Love your blogs!

  • Jamie

    Oh yea, and try rockin some bangs for a while. It helps. ;)

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I just finally grew them out :(

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I added this above… cute forum post from another shedding mama. ;)

  • bitt

    Having experienced bad pain myself I can empathize. It sucks! I am glad you are getting some relief from physical therapy. I have the electrical things at home called at TENS unit and it really helps. It could be worth the investment to get one to have at home to use when you need it.

    And got the book today! Love it!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Yes, common pain for preg/postpartum.

    Sent from my iPad

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I haven't tried shoes yet but crap… My feet are already huge! I'm not sure they can get any bigger!

    Sent from my iPad

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks :) ))

    Sent from my iPad

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thank you. I will look into it if it doesn't improve more.

  • Deb Kloosterman

    …my ob/gyn said it takes about a year to get back to normal…I was shocked, but found this to be true for me in general…wish they would talk more about postpartum stuff…seems to be glossed over!….yeah, my hair was a mess too….not fun, but it does come back, though my hair in general seems thinner than 10-15 years ago…best with the hip repair…getting back to weights and such sounds like it will be good for you….it was for me too :)

  • Jessegale

    you've probably tried this, but you can stick a thick pillow between your thighs while side lying nursing to protect your back and hips. I've found that helpful — because i cannot give up side-lying nursing at night! It is a must for sleepy moms…

    Kamea looks so adorable and happy in your pictures! Congrats!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Ahh yes, I should've mentioned that I'm doing that, too. :) I love

    side-lying nursing… so sweet snuggling with her.

  • Jamie

    Kristen, have you tried doing epsom salt baths for your hip? They can really do some amazing things. I hope you feel better soon! Take care!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Actually no, but a good idea. Thx.

  • Naiade

    After having my fist baby in May, I have had some pretty persistent, nasty hip pain. Which, as you mentioned, can be a nuisance when side-lying nursing! Sadly, whenever I bring up pain issues with my midwives, I'm told “what do you expect? You just had a baby!”. I'm encouraged to hear that physical therapy worked for you at 4 months. I'm in Tucson, and was wondering if you might share which PT you went to?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Sure… Rehab Plus in north Scottsdale

    Sent from my iPad

  • Lisa

    Hi Kristin,
    I'm a mama to 6 and with my 5th pregnancy I too experienced hip pain like none other. I could barely lift my leg making getting in and out of the car or shaving my legs difficult. It worsened after childbirth, she was 10lbs 3 oz at birth – a big one for sure. In all the research I did about it, I found it very common to have this and many referred to it as really a pubic pain – thus affecting lifting of the leg. That makes sense as we widen and loosen for childbirth. I felt like an old lady, not being able to get down on the floor or up. It took about 7 months for it to subside.
    Now onto my 6th birth, another big one at 10lbs 10 oz, I sought chiropractic care from 5 months on in hopes of preventing this pain from happening again. I really found a great chiro (search around, get recs from friends, and know if you don't feel right about someone, there's someone else out there!). My chiro specializes in women and children and even worked with some midwives during training. It made all the world of difference and no pain this time around! I did have to go often at first, like twice a week, but then we worked it out to once a month which I still do now. Just wanted to chime in with my experience in case you were still suffering.

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Thanks for sharing. It's been getting better since my PT treatment and it's almost gone. :) congrats on your babies!

  • emily

    You're not alone Kristen!
    I'm now about 25 weeks pregnant with my third baby and I have some really severe joint pain- my right hip is the worst but also experience aches and pains in my left hip, lower back and knee joints. When it's really bad I get pain between my shoulder blades and around my sternum and just about everywhere :( I had this pain with baby number 2 as well, but it went away after birth. Now I'm not sure if I can wait until the birth. -I sometimes have the sensation of my hip “popping out” and have difficulty sleeping due to the pain (I sleep with a pillow under my tummy and a pillow between my thighs and this helps slightly) If I lie on my back I get immediate back pain. In the morning I find it difficult to get up. If I sit on a squishy couch where my posture is not supported I get bad aches and find it difficult to move into a comfortable position. I can't sit on the floor at all because if I do I can't get up without assistance and a lot of hurting, I'm only 25 but I feel like I'm so much older. I've spoken to my doctor about it but she just said it's normal and doesn't recommend i do anything. I'm going to read all the comments below and see if anyone's come up with a way to beat this :) When I was pregnant with baby number 2 the midwives told me that some women get this pain so bad that they can become temporarily wheelchair bound, which is pretty scary!!

  • Kristen Suzanne

    I hear you! I feel like I'm 80! Lol. Mine is better, much better, but not great :(

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  • Christine

    I came upon this blog as I’ve been experiencing hip pain equivalent to when I was 8 months pregnant.  I didn’t experience any joint pain after my son was born (which was 4 months ago) until very recently.  Is this normal?

  • Kristen Suzanne

    Hmmm interesting. I’m not sure. Are you sleeping a certain way that could suddenly have caused it?

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Kristen Suzanne is a Raw food chef and author who blogs about all things green and mommy-related! More...

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