One of the most common complaints during exercise in pregnancy and simply in general during pregnancy is sore/tight hips. Why is this?
When we think soreness, our common reaction is to stretch. We think that stretching will help loosen whatever is tight and sore. This works in many cases, but often times in the case of hips during pregnancy it is actually that we need to balance the stretching with strengthening.
For pregnant mamas, actually for most people, who are not doing exercises to specifically target the outer hips, what can often happen is that some of our smaller supporting hip muscles start to take over when there is more of load required on the hips. This can happen for people who take up running and also for people who become pregnant. What happens is these smaller supporting muscles get overworked and tired. Imagine doing bicep curls from your wrists instead of your elbows, your forearms and wrists would tire quite easily!
What commonly happens is that the tensor fascia latae, or TFL, a small muscle that connects to the IT band, a tendon that runs down the side of the leg (most runners are very familiar with this band) starts to take on the work of the hip. It is a small muscle and gets burned out really easily, but it is busy telling all the other muscles around it “Hey, I’ve got this!”. What we want to do is tell the other muscles that we actually need them to turn on, primarily gluteus medius and also a bit of gluteus maximus. They are giant muscles (think the large muscle we consider our butts and then an additional side muscle that wraps from the butt toward the hip) and are much better equipped to support us.
Once we do movements to strengthen these muscles then the TFL suddenly realizes that it can relax and some of our hip pain may greatly diminish. We’ll have several muscles doing the job now instead of just one.
The great news? Prenatal exercise can help! Click on over to our prenatal yoga videos and you'll find a few videos to help you with your hip pain!
Wisdom and insight with a dash of humor to help guide you on your journey through motherhood.