6 Hip Exercises You Can Do During Your Pregnancy

Pregnant women may encounter frequent aches and pains in several body parts, such as their legs, back, and hips. Hence, consider trying some hip exercises during pregnancy to help relieve discomfort around your lower back and hips or stay fit during this time. These exercises may also help strengthen your muscles.

However, we recommend first discussing these exercises with your doctor to determine the ones that suit your condition. In this post, we have put together some effective hip exercises you may practice during pregnancy to relieve pain and strengthen your hips.

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Hip Exercises During Pregnancy

Here are a few easy prenatal yoga exercises that will take care of hip pain during pregnancy and also strengthen those muscles:

1. Side Leg Raise:

Lift your leg about 6 to 12 inches outwards to the side.

Image: Shutterstock

It will help strengthen the muscles on the side of your hips.

  • Stand straight behind a table or a chair with your feet slightly apart.
  • Lift your leg about 6 to 12 inches outwards to the side. Make sure your back and legs are straight and toes are facing forward.
  • Slowly lower your leg. Repeat with the other leg.
  • Repeat until you complete at least 10 to 15 times with each leg.


protip_icon Quick tip
You may use resistance bands while performing this exercise to increase the tension on muscles and improve strength. However, seek your doctor’s permission before using them (1).

2. Hip Flexion (Flexing):

It will help to strengthen your hip muscles.

  • Stand behind or to the side of a chair or a table.
  • Slowly bend your left knee and bring it towards your chest for as far as you comfortably can. Make sure you stand straight and do not bend at your waist or hips.
  • Hold it for a few seconds and slowly lower your leg down to the starting position.
  • Repeat with the other leg.
  • Keep alternating between both the legs till you complete about 15 repetitions with each leg.

3. Hip Extension:

This exercise will help strengthen your hips.

Image: Shutterstock

This is one of the effective hip exercises while pregnant, that will help to strengthen your hips.

  • Stand about 12 to 18 inches away from a chair or table and keep your feet slightly apart.
  • Bend towards the front from your hips and take a 45-degree angle. Make sure you hold the chair or table to balance yourself.
  • While you are in position, slowly lift your left leg straight behind you. Do not bend your knee and make sure you do not point your toes or bend your upper body forward. Hold the position for a few seconds.
  • Slowly lower your left leg back to its starting position.
  • Repeat the steps with the other leg. Keep alternating between both the legs till you have repeated the same for about 15 times with each leg.
  • Take a break and then repeat the process to complete a set of 8 to 15 alternate repetitions using each leg.

4. Kneeling Stretch To Ease Hip Pain:

This is one of the best hip stretches during pregnancy that you must try. Use the exercise to relax your hip muscles and relieve any pain you may experience in the hip area.

  • Place yourself on the floor by putting both your hands and your knees on the ground.
  • Let your hip be up in the air for some time. Now slowly bring your head down towards the floor. Make sure you do not do it too quickly, as it can increase the pain in the round ligament or cause a pulled muscle. A sudden movement in the position can also make the blood rush suddenly to your head and make you feel dizzy or lose balance.
  • Repeat the stretch a few times and whenever you feel the pain in your hip area.


protip_icon Quick tip
A ball wall squat can help stretch and strengthen your hips and legs. Stand against the wall with an exercise ball between you and the wall. Firmly press the ball into the wall, and do a slow, controlled squat (2).

5. Sit Down Stretch:

This exercise can help remove any discomfort in the hip area.

Image: Shutterstock

Use the simple sitting down exercise called butterfly stretch, which can help remove any discomfort in the hip area while you are pregnant.

  • Sit down on the floor. Place your knees apart and your feet together in a classic butterfly sitting pose.
  • Bring your feet inwards towards you as much as you comfortably can. Slowly bend forward till you feel a mild stretch in your hip area.
  • Stay in the position for about five seconds. Sit up straight and repeat for about 20 times.

6. Lizard Lunge:

This pose helps open the hips, groins, and hamstrings, which promotes flexibility and eases tension in these areas.

  • Get on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.
  • Step your right foot to the outside of your right hand.
  • Allow your left knee to drop to the mat, letting your pelvis drop to open your hips.
  • Rock gently side to side, shifting your weight forward and pressing your hands into the floor.
  • You can stay on your hands or come onto your elbows, whichever feels comfortable.
  • Take two or three slow breaths in this position.
  • Walk your hands over to the left side of your mat for a side-body stretch.
  • Bring your hands back inside the front foot, press your hips back, and shift more weight onto your back knee.
  • Walk your hands forward, spreading your fingers wide, while keeping your front knee at a ninety-degree angle.
  • Allow your head to bow down and focus on breathing into your lower back, letting it widen with each breath.
  • Visualize your lower back rounding, creating length through your spine, and elongating your tailbone back.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How should I ease my hip pain during pregnancy?

Warm baths or compresses increase blood flow to the hip joint, which imparts relaxation. Place a body pillow between the knees and slightly under the belly to alleviate it. Try sleeping in an aligned position for about a week and see if there’s an improvement. Clench the hip muscle of the leg you’re stepping with while walking. It will strengthen muscles around the hip, thus alleviating pain.

2. Will my hips stay wider after pregnancy?

The body will expand throughout pregnancy as the baby grows. Hips begin to expand during 10 to 12 weeks of pregnancy. But the pelvis usually returns to the usual position four to 12 weeks post delivery. It takes the body two to three months after giving birth to stop releasing relaxin. This hormone loosens joints and widens the hips to prepare for delivery (1).

3. Why do my hips ache when I sleep on my side during pregnancy?

Soreness and pain are the strongest on the side where the baby lies in your uterus. Side sleeping places pressure on the joints and leads to pain (2). To combat it, place a pillow or blanket underneath and lean against it while sleeping. It minimizes the pressure on the hip joint of a specific side.

Hip exercises during pregnancy help improve your overall fitness and promote healthy weight gain. Exercises, including hip flexion, hip extension, pelvic tilts, lunges, glute bridges, kegel exercises and side-lying leg lifts will help strengthen your hip muscles, and stretches, such as kneeling stretch, cat-cow stretch or sit down stretch, can reduce the discomfort from the hip area. Remember to take frequent breaks and keep yourself hydrated during the exercise regimen. It is advisable to consult your doctor before starting any exercise and also avoid it if you are not comfortable with any movement.

Infographic: Hip Exercises You Can Do During Your Pregnancy

During pregnancy, hip exercises can help improve and maintain flexibility and strength, alleviating common discomforts such as back pain and hip pain. The following infographic lists a few hip exercises along with their benefits. Be sure to give it a read and save it for future reference.

pregnancy safe hip exercises recovered (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Takeaways

  • Experiencing hip pain during pregnancy could be due to the pressure exerted on the back.
  • Including simple hip exercises in a routine can help pregnant women gain relief from the symptoms of pain.
  • Examples of pregnancy-safe hip exercises include hip extension, sit-down stretch, and side leg raise.
  • Although these exercises may help relieve hip pain and discomfort, it is ideal to seek medical advice before starting any new exercises while pregnant.

Relieve pregnancy aches and pains with this stretch routine ideal for your back, hips, and shoulders. Feel relaxed and energized with simple, easy-to-follow stretches. Get ready to feel great!

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Relaxin.
    https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/24305-relaxin
  2. Hip pain during pregnancy.
    https://americanpregnancy.org/healthy-pregnancy/pregnancy-complications/hip-pain-during-pregnancy/
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