While pregnancy changes a woman’s body to a large extent, it also adds a lot of stress on her bones. So, it is not just a gynecologist that you may need to consult while in pregnancy, but you may also need an orthopedic doctor.
Lower Back Pain
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Transient Osteoporosis of the Hip
Following are some of the common orthopedic conditions that affect pregnant women:
- Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a very common occurrence in pregnancy. This happens because of the uneven distribution of weight due to managing the weight of the baby.
Although treating lower back pain during pregnancy can be challenging, complications rarely persist after the baby is born. Having a strong back before pregnancy can help you plan for the physiological changes that will occur in pregnancy.
Back-strengthening exercises done in the first and second trimesters can also pay off in the second half of your pregnancy. However, it should be kept in mind that exercises done during pregnancy can require modifications; therefore it is important to consult your orthopedic doctor and gynecologist first.
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- Plantar Fasciitis
The plantar fascia is a thick, web-like ligament that links the back of your foot to the front. It helps you walk by serving as a shock absorber and protecting the arch of your foot.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful condition caused by inflammation of the fascia that affects the bottom of the heels. This pain is typically caused by weight gain during pregnancy. Most pregnant women experience shooting pain in the morning.
Home treatments with ice, shoe inserts, or getting a foot massage can help. If the pain is intense, cortisone injections may be given to help relieve the pain and improve mobility.
- Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome, also known as median nerve compression, is a condition in which the hand feels numb, tingly, or sluggish. It occurs as a result of pressure on the median nerve, which runs the length of the arm, passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, and ends in the hand.
The retention of fluids during pregnancy, particularly in the third trimester, may alleviate carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be made even more difficult if there is excessive weight gain.
Carpal tunnel syndrome can be treated with night splints, ice packs or cortisone injections. Following the birth of the infant, the condition usually improves.
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- Meralgia Paresthetica
Meralgia paresthetica is a condition in which you experience tingling, numbness and burning pain in the outer part of your thigh. It is a comparatively uncommon disease, but it is found mostly in pregnant women and obese people.
This numbness or tingling sensation in the thigh is caused by the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve, which supplies sensation to the upper leg.
The pressure against the nerve can cause a noticeable patch of numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the thigh, as the baby grows. Cortisone injections around the nerves can help if symptoms get severe.
- Transient Osteoporosis of the Hip
When the femoral head weakens and loses density, it is called transient osteoporosis of the hip. Often occurring in late-term pregnancy, this condition can weaken the hip joint due to temporary bone loss.
Causes of transient osteoporosis of the hip include obstruction of blood vessels, hormones and carrying excessive weight. Eating a balanced diet rich in calcium and all nutrients, consuming NSAIDs, and using a walker can help in the treatment of this condition.
- Osteitis Pubis
Osteitis pubis is the condition that causes inflammation of the lower front portion of the pelvis (also called pubic symphysis) where the right and left pubic bones intersect. The pelvis is a group of bones that connects the lower body to the upper body.
Due to added weight and location of the developing infant, the intersection of these major bones may become inflamed during pregnancy. Hormonal changes that cause ligaments to become laxer in preparation for childbirth may also affect the ligaments in this region.
Application of Ice packs and heat packs, consuming NSAIDs, and resting can help relieve groin pain and inflammation caused by osteitis pubis.