One of the things I find most challenging about pregnancy and breast-feeding is what my body is capable of (or no longer capable of in my case) due to the effects of the relaxin hormone. I understand that when it comes to bub growing the relaxin hormone is necessary to assist in the expansion of bubs living quarters inside my tummy & that birth is possible because relaxin performs its function in loosening everything up. The part I’m not so okay with is where relaxin’s effect on my body begins with twinges in my right butt cheek at 12 weeks as my pelvis begins its descend into increasing instability resulting in the need for regular Physio sessions and ultimately a pelvic belt by halfway through my pregnancies! I was grateful this time around that I knew what that familiar twinge meant, unlike the first time when I braved it out to the point of not being able to walk/ roll over in bed without being in agony before seeing a Physio and discovering what was causing the pain. I totally don’t recommend that strategy to anyone!!! If you get butt/ leg/ pelvis/ pubic pain in pregnancy, don’t tough it out, it’s unlikely to go away on its own. Find a good women’s health Physio, she’ll be one of your most beloved pregnancy friends for the relief she brings you!!!
Alas, the effects of relaxin on your body do not simply cease the moment bub joins you on the outside. Not if you’ve had anything like the pelvic instability I experience anyway! 3 months post birth and I’m still having trouble with my pelvic stability! I understand that’s got to do with breast-feeding, it keeps the relaxin hanging around in levels high enough to continue to cause issues (in my case at least). I would never stop breastfeeding simply in the hope of regaining pelvic stability, but it is one of life’s frustrations for me in this stage. I’m told the effects of the relaxin hormone should begin to subside around 14 weeks postpartum – so looking forward to that!!!
It’s funny though, I don’t remember feeling this frustrated by the ongoing effects of relaxin on my body the first time around! I guess it speaks to how much better I’ve coped second time around that I’m raring to get back into exercise! And I also need to accept that with a toddler now, the stresses & strains on my body are far greater this time around! Walking for exercise means wearing Cheeky Chops & pushing Cheeky Monkey in the pram… No small feat with a weak core and pelvic instability! Especially considering the many hills in our suburb!
I can’t complain too much, as pelvic instability for a time is a relatively small price to pay for two precious children! The frustration I feel doesn’t drown out how amazingly blessed I feel! Not most days at least – combined with sleep deprivation though, hormones play serious tricks on my grasp of reality!
Is relaxin your friend or foe during the pregnancy & newborn phases?