Relaxin During Pregnancy
It may be hard to relax with all of those aches, pains and GI issues right now, but as soon as you are about to push out that baby, you’ll be thanking relaxin for doing its job!
What is relaxin?
Relaxin is a hormone that helps to relax your joints, muscles and ligaments. It is typically produced from your ovaries, but once you become pregnant, it is also released from the placenta, the lining of the uterus and the membranes that surround the baby. This allows your pelvis to relax and stretch to make room for baby to pass through. So, if you're feeling extra limber, wobbly or achy, it's because your joints aren't exactly stable, so watch your step mama.
What it does
Your uterus is growing from the size of a tennis ball to the size of a beach ball. It needs somewhere to fit. Relaxin allows your whole body to become limber, but more importantly, it allows your pelvis to relax and stretch in order to make room for your growing uterus and for that baby to pass through.
Relaxin also helps with some of the less talked about parts of pregnancy. For example, when you're pregnant, your blood volumes increases by 50% to support your uterus. Without your arteries becoming more relaxed, it would send your blood pressure through the roof.
This special hormone is pretty important, but it can also trigger some discomforts in your body. Because it is loosening up your ligaments and joints, it can cause some instability in your spine and pelvis, so make sure to take care of your posture during the first and third trimester (when relaxin is at its peak) so you don't cause anymore strain on your back.
Since your hips and pelvic joints are already sore, make sure to not overextend your muscles. Otherwise, they will be causing you much more pain.
Relaxin can also cause Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Pelvic Girdle is the bone structure that supports your legs, hip joints and other surrounding joints. It is accompanied by sharp pains in the symphysis pubis (the joint that connects the pubic bone in the front) or dull aches in the back of your pelvis where the sacrum and the iliac bones connect. If your practitioner says that you have PGP, you can look into buying a special girdle to help with support.
Although it may not relieve your pain completely, there are a few remedies that may help to ease the discomfort. You can get massage therapy, sleep with a pillow between your legs, use pregnancy belly bands, modify the way you get dressed and how to get out of bed, or talk to your practitioner about some exercises that may help.
In the meantime, relax knowing your body is doing exactly what it is supposed to be doing.