Joint pain is a common complaint among pregnant women. The hormonal changes that occur throughout pregnancy compounded with weight gain and added stress on the musculoskeletal system can cause significant joint pain, which in severe cases can inhibit daily activities.
Joint pain noticed in early pregnancy includes hip, knee, pelvis, lower back, groin and sacroiliac joint pain. Interestingly, women who suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, may find that their symptoms get better while pregnant.
Joint pain is noticed as early as the first trimester of a woman's pregnancy and is due to the surge of hormones that occurs immediately after conception. The hormone relaxin that is produced to loosen joints, ligaments and muscles during pregnancy and childbirth can actually cause joint pain.
If joint pain is interfering with the completion of daily activities, a health care professional should be contacted for a professional diagnosis. By conducting a thorough medical history, physical examination and, if needed, diagnostic procedures including x-ray or ultrasound, the source of the pain can be identified and a treatment plan can be designed.
According to the National Pain Foundation, treatment for prenatal joint pain varies depending on the location of the pain but may include acetaminophen, prenatal massage, ice packs, warm baths (under 100 degrees) or chiropractic adjustments.
Pregnant women should participate in regular exercise throughout pregnancy. Exercise will help to prevent joint pain that can occur in overuse injuries, which are common during pregnancy due to muscles and joints that compensate for changes in body mass.