The peptide hormone relaxin is responsible for this increase in flexibility during pregnancy. As the name implies, relaxin “relaxes” or increases the elasticity and of joints and muscles. It is released by the ovaries (corpus luteum) and placenta and is even found in sperm in males. It plays many roles in your body when you are pregnant, including: uterine growth, cervical ripening, preventing inappropriate uterine contractions during early pregnancy, and relaxation of pelvic (and other) ligaments. This last point is especially important for when it is time for baby to pass through the vaginal canal. Some woman experience varying degrees of pelvic instability and sometimes pain due to this increase in elasticity of the ligaments. Speak to a chiropractor or naturopath who specializes in pregnancy to help alleviate symptoms. Exercising while pregnant is still encouraged but it is important to be mindful and stay within a safe range of motion as you maybe more prone to sprains and strains. It takes about five months for the increased level of relaxin to leave the body so even postpartum don’t push your joints beyond normal anatomical limits to prevent injury. If you are still experiencing pelvic pain or instability after this time period, a therapy called prolo-therapy may be a good option for you.
Dr. Pamela Smith, ND
Dr. Pam has a family practice at The Nest Family Wellness Centre which offers naturopathic and midwifery care. She combines science-based natural medicine with conventional medical therapeutics. Learn more about Dr. Pam and the services offered by her clinic here, or book an appointment at www.drpamelasmith.com.
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