Health / Pregnancy

6 Exercises to Reduce Hip Pain During Pregnancy

Because you're bound to experience some hip discomfort during those nine months.

Got hip pain? You’re not alone. Hip pain is a common symptom for pregnant women, particularly in the homestretch of the third trimester.

Here we explore some reasons why you experience hip pain during pregnancy and an expert shares some exercises to alleviate those aches.

Why are my hips so achy?

Weight Gain

Jill Hoefs, M.P.T., owner of Body Align Physical Therapy in Manhattan and Summit, New Jersey, and co-author of Your Best Pregnancy: The Ultimate Guide to Easing the Aches, Pains, and Uncomfortable Side Effects During Each Stage of Your Pregnancy, says there are a few main causes of hip pain in pregnant women.

The first: weight gain. “Some women gain a third of their weight, and doing that, especially in such a short time period, is hard on your joints.”

Aaptiv has new (and safe) maternity workouts that you can use by our prenatal experts. Check them out in the app today.


Next, fluctuating hormone levels can lead to hip pain. That’s because the body’s production of a hormone called relaxin increases. Relaxin allows the pelvis and birth canal to widen and expand, so the baby can descend during delivery.

But in the process, relaxin allows the pelvic joints to loosen and shift, which can result in a dull ache in the hips.


Sciatica can also cause hip discomfort (this has amazing reviews). There are two sciatic nerves traveling from the lower back to the feet.

As your baby grows, so does your uterus, placing pressure on those nerves and leading to pain and/or numbness or tingling in the hips, butt, and thighs.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Finally, if experience sharp and stabbing pain (especially in the center of the pelvis) that verges on unbearable when doing daily activities, you may have a condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction.

This comes as a result of excessive instability in the pelvis caused by those quickly widening hip joints. If you believe you’re experiencing SPD, talk with your healthcare provider.

He or she may advise you to wear a pelvic support belt (like this best seller), called a Serola sacroiliac belt, to hold the pelvis together and provide more stability.

Moves to Reduce Hip Pain

A few basic yet effective moves have the power to diminish pregnancy-related hip pain. It will help to have a resistance band or tubing and a small dense ball (like this one), similar to those used in Pilates, on hand.

Read on for Hoefs’ moves, many of which she performed herself during her three pregnancies.

Side-Lying Clamshell

“Your gluteus maximus should be the largest and strongest skeletal muscle in your body, and it is your strongest hip external rotator,” Hoefs says. “Keeping it strong takes stress off your hip joints and back.

Pillow Squeeze


Child’s Pose

Foam Roller

Bonus Move: The Anti-Waddler

When the outer hips, or hip abductors, are weak, people tend to compensate by leaning to the side when standing or walking. In heavily pregnant women, this appears in the form of waddling. Hoefs call this move “the best anti-waddling exercise because it strengthens your hip abductors, and strong outer hips help you to stand and walk with correct posture.”

Aaptiv has more maternity workouts you can do at your own fitness level and pace. Check them out in our app today.

Health Pregnancy


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