Relaxin'...Because of "Relaxin"

Your body goes through so many changes during pregnancy that it can feel like you’re waking up to a different body each morning. Sometimes you will feel great; sometimes you will feel like complete crap. It can be hard to know and understand why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling. Today, I’m going to discuss one of the changes that occurs in your body that can make you feel good or bad, depending on the day!

One of the hormones your body releases during pregnancy is called “relaxin”. Relaxin helps to relax or loosen your joints and ligaments, so that your body can grow to accommodate baby. So, relaxin is a good thing – you need it for your body to be able to expand the way it should, but it can also cause some underlying issues.

1. Sore Joints – because of this hormone loosening your joints, you can start to feel pretty achy and even painful in those joints. Usually, the area that women feel pain the most is in their pelvis. If you’ve had Pelvic Girdle Pain throughout pregnancy, a contributor to that pain is relaxin.

2. Lax Joints – this is a point that can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. If you’re not experiencing any pain, many women see this extra laxity in their joints as a really good thing. You will be much more flexible than you usually are! However, some women feel like this extra laxity in their joints makes them feel unstable in their hips, knees, or shoulders, which is also often accompanied by pain.

Here’s a couple things to keep in mind, knowing that you’ve got relaxin in your system.

1. Don’t Overstretch – if the relaxin in your system isn’t causing you any pain, be cautious about overstretching your joints during activities like yoga or barre, or even just in any daily stretching you may do at home. Overstretched ligaments don’t just snap back into place. Permanent damage can be done if your ligaments are stretched too far for too long. So, if you’re one that’s not experiencing any pain from the extra laxity in your joints, maybe just hold back a little bit from how far you feel like your body can be stretched. Don’t stretch as far as you feel like you can – take it down a notch or two to keep yourself from overstretching those ligaments.

2. Monitor Your Movements – if the extra laxity in your joints is causing you pain, learn to modify you exercise to accommodate that. You still want to be working out (as long as you’ve got the all-clear from your doctor) but you don’t want to be in pain while you’re exercising. Perhaps you’ll need to eliminate single-leg movements or certain hinging or twisting motions. And if you’re in doubt, reach out to me and we will figure it out together!

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