During pregnancy blood produces a hormone named relaxin, which loosens the joints, veins and muscles. It helps the uterus to accommodate the embryo and its growth.
Relaxin affects the flexibility of the joints and causes pain, especially in back, ankle and knee. Expectant mothers suffer a lot for this hormone in the last trimester. Few exercises and habits can help cope with the situation:
- Sit straight on a chair with back support. Use a pillow or rolled up towel to support your back.
- Keep your posture straight. Avoid bending down while lifting things.
- Lie on your side and place a pillow beneath the knee.
Some stretching exercises can also help ease the pain:
- Lie down and fold your knees. Raise one leg over the knee of the other, grab the heel and pull towards the face. Hold this posture for a few seconds. Repeat once. (Picture 1)
- Lie on your back and fold both the knees. Hold one thigh and straighten the leg slowly. Hold it for three seconds. Do it for the other leg. (Picture 2)
- Lie on your side and reach for your heel with one hand from the back. Pull the heel off the bed and hold it for a few seconds. Repeat once. (Picture 3)
Pain in the back, waist, hip and knee during pregnancy is very disturbing. Physiotherapy is safer during pregnancy as medicines cannot be taken then. However, expert’s suggestion is required before adopting any method.
- Umma Shaila Rumki is an adviser of physiotherapy at the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Centre in Dhaka. This piece originally printed in Prothom Alo print edition has been rewritten in English by Faria Islam.