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  • Writer's pictureLeng Zie

Relaxin: the hormones that prepare for birth but may cause discomfort during pregnancy


the hormones that prepares for birth but might cause discomfort

Pregnant women often experience discomfort in joint areas such as the wrist, lower back, pelvic region, and knees. This is primarily due to hormonal changes, particularly the hormone relaxin, which is produced in higher quantities during pregnancy.


Here's a more detailed explanation:


Hormonal Changes

  • During pregnancy, a woman's body undergoes significant hormonal shifts to support the growing fetus. One of these hormones is relaxin, which is produced by the corpus luteum and later by the placenta. Relaxin's primary role is to prepare the body for childbirth by relaxing and softening various structures, including ligaments and connective tissues.

Effects on Ligaments and Joints:

  • Relaxin's influence on ligaments and joints can lead to increased laxity or looseness. Ligaments are the tough, fibrous tissues that connect bones to other bones, providing stability to joints. When these ligaments become more pliable due to the effects of relaxin, joints can become more flexible and mobile.


Common Areas Affected:

  • Pregnancy-related ligamentous and joint laxity can affect various parts of the body, including the pelvis (to prepare for childbirth), hips, knees, ankles, and wrists. In some cases, women may notice increased flexibility and joint mobility.


Impact:

  • While the increased joint flexibility is a natural part of pregnancy, it can sometimes lead to temporary discomfort or instability. It may affect a woman's ability to perform certain physical activities or contribute to musculoskeletal changes during pregnancy.


Management:

  • Management of pregnancy-related ligamentous and joint laxity typically involves gentle stretches or exercises to maintain strength and flexibility, avoiding activities that put excessive stress on affected joints, and using supportive measures like maternity belts or braces if necessary. During prenatal yoga in my classes, moms will be given safe modifications poses.


Postpartum:

  • In most cases, the effects of relaxin and ligamentous laxity gradually subside after childbirth as hormone levels return to normal. However, it's essential to consult with a healthcare provider if joint laxity causes significant pain, instability, or any concerns during pregnancy.


It's important to note that while ligamentous and joint laxity is a common and normal occurrence during pregnancy, any persistent or severe symptoms should be discussed with a healthcare provider to rule out any underlying issues and receive appropriate guidance for managing discomfort or instability.

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