Question: Groin pain in pregnancy

Q: “I am 17 weeks pregnant with my third child. I am having trouble walking – my groin is really painful when I walk (It feels like it did when I was about 36 weeks pregnant with my first two). It affects my groin and the tops of my legs. As I work full time I wondered if there was anything to worry about or if there was anything I could do to relieve it?”

A: I’m sorry to hear about the pain in your groin.

pelvis x-ray

Occasionally, the symphysis pubis joint becomes abnormally loose during pregnancy, which can cause severe pain

As I’m sure you know, pregnancy second or third time around can be quite different from a first pregnancy. Muscles, ligaments and joints seem to react more dramatically to the effects of the hormones relaxin and progesterone, and everything feels looser and less supportive.

These changes may account for your pain – a combination, maybe, of muscular strain and the weight of your growing uterus pressing on that particular spot. Some women find that wearing a supportive ‘maternity belt’ – or outsize support pants – helps. It may be worth taking a look in a mother-and-baby shop for these.

I also feel that it would be a good idea to tell your midwife or doctor about the pain next time you have an appointment. Occasionally, the symphysis pubis joint (at the front of the pelvis, under your pubic hair) becomes abnormally loose during pregnancy. This can cause severe pain, not just directly over the joint, but elsewhere as the whole pelvis becomes unbalanced and attempts to compensate. The pain is usually worse when the legs are moved apart – such as when you go up and down stairs, or get out of bed, and so on. You may find a session with an obstetric physiotherapist helpful. I hope you get some relief soon.
Hannah Hulme Hunter, Babyworld Midwife.


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