Improve Hip Mobility after Giving Birth - Nancy Branberg
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Improve Hip Mobility after Giving Birth

One of the best ways to improve hip mobility after giving birth, is to work with your body as naturally as possible. Pregnancy is a beautiful journey that transforms a woman’s body in many  remarkable ways, and it’s invariably going to be an interesting journey for both you and your partner. 

To accommodate the growing baby, your body undergoes numerous hormonal and physical changes. That includes putting some serious and persistent strain on your pelvic girdle for the duration of your pregnancy. 

While these changes are necessary for a healthy pregnancy, they can also impact your joints, not just your hips. Understanding how pregnancy affects your hips will empower you to regain mobility and comfort after childbirth.

Pregnancy’s Impact and How Giving Birth Changes Your Hips

One of the key players during pregnancy is the hormone Relaxin. It’s produced by the ovaries and placenta, and it loosens the ligaments and softens the cartilage around your pelvic joints. This increased laxity allows the pelvis to widen and creates space for the baby to descend during birth.

The hormonal changes and the growing baby lead to increased weight and a shifting center of Gravity. Many women get worried about the amount of weight they are gaining, or by the extra food they are eating, but it’s important to remember that it’s normal to gain a healthy amount of weight when you get pregnant.

As your pregnancy progresses, the weight gain puts extra stress on your joints, and your hips are absolutely no different. Combined with a shift in your center of gravity due to the growing uterus, can lead to an altered posture and an abnormal gait. 

It’s the altered biomechanics that strain your hips and contribute to your pain or discomfort.

improve hip mobility and reduce hip painHip Discomfort During Pregnancy

Most women will experience some degree of hip pain during pregnancy. This discomfort can manifest in various ways, including an aching or dull pain in the groin area, buttocks, or outer hip area.

You may even experience a sharp shooting pain that radiates down your leg (sciatica).This often leads to difficulty with walking, standing, or climbing stairs.

Even after delivery, the effects of Relaxin can linger for several weeks or even months. This can lead to persistent hip instability and contribute to conditions like pelvic girdle pain.

The good news is that with time and gentle exercises, you can regain your pre-pregnancy hip mobility and alleviate any lingering discomfort. 

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How to Improve Hip Mobility after Giving Birth

Giving birth is an incredible feat, but it can also leave your body feeling achy and stiff, especially in the hips. Thankfully, there are several natural approaches you can take at home to regain your hip mobility and restore a sense of comfort in your body.

Always remember that gentle movement is key to your recovery. Postpartum yoga poses specifically designed to target the hips and pelvic floor can be incredibly beneficial. You can find plenty of yoga lessons online and then you do yoga in the privacy of your own home. 

You can look for classes specifically geared towards new mothers, or explore online resources with modifications for postpartum recovery.

Regular Stretching can Help Improve Hip Flexibility

Focus on stretches that target your inner and outer thighs, glutes, and hamstrings. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times per side. Here are some examples:

Butterfly Stretch: Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together and knees bent out to the sides. Gently press down on your knees with your elbows while keeping your back straight.

Pigeon Pose: Start on all fours, then bring one knee forward towards your hand and rest your other leg stretched out behind you. Sit up tall and gently lean forward, feeling a stretch in your glute and hip of the back leg. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.

Pelvic Tilts: These simple exercises can help strengthen your core and improve pelvic stability. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently press your lower back into the ground and tilt your pelvis upwards, engaging your core muscles. Hold for a few seconds, then relax and repeat 10-15 times.

Listen to Your Body and Rest

Remember to prioritize sleep! Newborns require a lot of attention, but getting enough sleep is just as crucial for your own recovery. Whenever possible, remember to take naps when your baby sleeps or delegate tasks to allow your body to rest and repair.

Be mindful of your movement. Avoid strenuous activities or heavy lifting in the early postpartum period. Focus on gentle movements that don’t cause pain. As your strength and mobility improve, you can gradually increase the intensity of your exercises.

Always remember to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water helps your body function optimally and can improve joint mobility. Usually you should aim for around 8-10 glasses of water per day, but your body will tell you when it needs more water, and when it’s had enough.

An anti-inflammatory diet is also another thing for you to consider. Certain foods can promote inflammation in the body, and that can in turn worsen your hip pain. That means you’ll need to limit processed foods, sugary drinks, and any unhealthy fats. 

Instead you should focus on whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein sources. These foods provide essential nutrients for healing and recovery.

Calcium is crucial for bone health, and Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium. If you are going to be breastfeeding, then keeping your calcium levels up is going to be even more important. Include calcium-rich foods like dairy products, leafy greens, and fortified foods in your diet. Consider consulting your doctor about a Vitamin D supplement if needed.

Remember to Be Patient with Yourself

Regaining your pre-pregnancy mobility takes time and consistency. Celebrate small improvements and listen to your body’s signals. If you experience any severe pain or discomfort that doesn’t improve with these methods, consult a healthcare professional for further guidance.

These natural approaches can significantly improve your hip mobility and overall well-being after childbirth. In the next section of the article, we’ll explore some additional strategies, including medical interventions that can further support your recovery journey.

Techniques Used in Physical Therapy for Hip Mobility

While natural approaches can significantly improve hip mobility after childbirth, there are situations where seeking professional help from a physical therapist can be extremely beneficial. Physical therapists are movement specialists who can create a personalized treatment plan to address your specific hip issues and expedite your recovery.

Physical therapists may use various manual therapy techniques to improve joint mobility and reduce muscle tension. This can include techniques like soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilizations, and myofascial release.

A personalized exercise program is a cornerstone of physical therapy for hip mobility. Seeing a physical therapist can help you design exercises that target your specific needs. That means focusing on strengthening the muscles that support your hips and improving hip flexibility.

improve hip mobility and reduce hip pain with physical therapyThe Benefits of Physical Therapy for Hip Problems

A physical therapist will help you with strengthening exercises that target your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles can significantly improve hip stability and reduce pain. Examples include bridges, squats, and side-lying leg lifts.

Range-of-motion exercises include gentle stretches that can help improve hip flexibility and reduce stiffness. Your therapist will show you the proper techniques to maximize the benefits of range-of-motion exercises and avoid further injury.

They may also use modalities like ultrasound or electrical stimulation to reduce pain and inflammation, promote healing, and improve muscle function. Many of these have been shown to help speed up recovery and heal the body.

The Road to Faster Recovery

A personalized physical therapy program can help you regain hip mobility and reduce pain much faster than self-directed methods alone. You also have a reduced risk of future injury. By strengthening the muscles that support your hips and improving your movement patterns, physical therapy can help prevent future hip problems.

An improved quality of life is exactly what you can come to expect from seeing a physical therapist. Reduced pain and increased hip mobility can significantly improve your daily activities and overall well-being.

Leaving hip pain or mobility issues untreated can lead to several complications. Joint degeneration can accelerate wear and tear in the hip joint, potentially leading to osteoarthritis. Without working those hip muscles properly, it inevitably ends up in weakness and imbalances around the hip, further compromising joint stability and function.

Neglecting hip issues can progressively restrict motion

Neglected hip pain and instability can increase your risk of falls, which can lead to further serious injuries. That is why physical therapy is a valuable tool for women experiencing hip problems after childbirth.  

A physical therapist can create a safe and effective treatment plan to help you regain your mobility, reduce pain and inflammation around the hips, and even prevent future complications. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help if you’re struggling with hip issues that are hindering your recovery and overall well-being.

Nancy Branberg

Nancy Branberg

Nancy has long had a passion for helping people - especially those who felt they were powerless over their pain. After becoming a mom and having her own “child-birth” traumas to deal with, Nancy became interested in learning about the pelvis - not just the musculo-skeletal system, but the reproductive and digestive system as well. Every day she is amazed by the complexity and the inter-relatedness of all the systems. Nancy is Fall Church’s leading physical therapist who is able to help you overcome these problems without medication or surgery. Nancy Branberg Physical Therapy, LLC empowers women to take control of their pelvic issues so that their energy and attention can shift towards doing all of the things they love to do.
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