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Laxity in Pregnancy is what may be causing you those aches and pains

The Role of the Relaxin Hormone

As discussed previously on the blog, pregnant people undergo some major changes in their bodies, including producing different hormones that play various roles during pregnancy. One hormone that affects the musculoskeletal system in a pregnant person’s body is called relaxin.

Relaxin is a hormone produced by the corpus luteum (an endocrine gland made in the ovary when a follicle has matured and released an egg during ovulation) and the placenta (an organ developed in the uterus during pregnancy that provides oxygen and nutrients to your baby). Relaxin inhibits uterine activity and helps relax the pelvic joints so your hips can widen in preparation for birth. Relaxin peaks during the first trimester. However, relaxin can also contribute to laxity in other areas of the body during pregnancy, not just the pelvis.

What is laxity and how it affects the pregnant body

When one becomes pregnant, joint laxity from relaxin begins around six weeks of pregnancy and becomes more noticeable by week 12. The main area of laxity is centered in the pelvis, which is how the body begins to prepare for birth. In particular, the main joints of the pelvis- the pubic symphysis and the sacro-iliac joints are affected, which cause pelvic pain including pubic symphysis pain and SI joint pain.

Other areas of the body may be affected from joint laxity from relaxin, including the shoulders, hips, spine, as well as the feet and ankles. Pain can be more apparent in people who have underlying orthopedic issues before pregnancy, those who lack muscular strength before pregnancy, and those who have underlying hypermobility issues.

What you can do about laxity while pregnant

Strengthen and Stabilize

You can’t stop the body from creating and releasing relaxin during pregnancy, however you can strengthen and stabilize the body through exercise to support your joints.

Check out this pregnancy exercise program published by Heather Jeffcoat, DPT in the Journal of Childbirth Education.

Avoid overstretching

While stretching the back, glutes, hips, and legs can be beneficial for back and pelvic pain during pregnancy, be careful not to overstretch joints, please consult with a physical therapist in order to determine if you are stretching too much.

See a Pelvic Floor physical therapist

A trained pelvic floor PT will help you determine safe stability and strengthening exercises for you to do during pregnancy, contact Femina PT for more information and to schedule today.

References:

https://www.britannica.com/science/corpus-luteum

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/staying-healthy-during-pregnancy/hormones-during-pregnancy

https://www.hormone.org

Irion, J. M. (2013). Womens health in physical therapy. La Vergne, TN: Cram101, Inc.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/placenta/art-20044425

**This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor.

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Heather is the best! I saw her today for terrible hip/groin pain. I was so impressed with the safety measures in place and felt completely safe . Thanks for the healing hands.

S.S., age 54

Testimonial by P.M.

I was hopeful but frankly skeptical when the doctor treating me for Interstitial Cystitis recommended that I go to Heather for physical therapy. Medication and diet helped control my IC symptoms, but I had never heard of physical therapy being used to treat IC. The education and treatment I received from Heather was a revelation. She explained that the pain I experienced with IC had helped create a cycle of muscle guarding which affected the entire pelvic area. I had no idea of the amount of tension being held there. No wonder my husband and I had not been able to have sexual intercourse for years!

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Testimonial by S.P., Age 26

I would like to start off by thanking Heather Jeffcoat for educating me and curing me of Vaginismus. I had been married for almost three years before I was referred to Heather. I never knew about Vaginismus until almost three years into my marriage. I knew something was wrong when I went on my honeymoon and came back a Virgin. I had always imagined how magical my first night would be but boy was I wrong.

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Testimonial by Jackie W.

I was in multiple car accidents a decade ago, and I have been to many physical therapists through the years without success. They found the root of my lower back pain problems and after nearly a decade of barely being able to walk I finally can again without pain. They are also the best pelvic floor pts and the only ones who found the connection between my pelvic floor and lower back problems. If you need help with physical pain, they are your answer.

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Testimonial by Rosanna R., age 35

Heather has affected my life in the MOST POSITIVE way and I am forever grateful. My husband refers to her as the "sex doctor" so you can only imagine how happy he is with my therapy outcome.

After the birth of my son I suffered from "Vaginismus", however, at the time I just thought I was broken. My "broken vagina" affected me physically but it was an emotional struggle as well. Many women in my life also suffered with pain from sex after their babies were born so I knew I wasn't alone. They told me they "just got used to it" but I couldn't see myself living that way.

Sex wasn't just painful, it was literally impossible - IT DIDNT FIT!

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Testimonial by Mary L.

I started seeing Heather to treat my Interstitial Cystitis in November 2016. At this time, I was extremely miserable, in constant pain, and felt as though no one was listening or understood what was going on with my body. I have just finished my last appointment and I can honestly say that my life has completely changed for the better because of Heather and her team of PTs! I live almost completely pain free, and when I do have flare ups, I am able to treat them at home on my own. I am so grateful that this office was recommended to me a honestly cannot recommend them enough!

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