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Anyone ever experienced this during childbirth...

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
We had planned for an unmedicated birth using the Bradley Method, but I had a very unexpected pain that I had never heard of or read about. It was a severe pain (worse than the contractions) in my very upper thigh... basically right below my hips and spreading down into the upper part of my legs. My husband is in the medical industry and says he thinks it was my "abductor" muscles, if that helps anyone. It was kind of like I had a charlie horse in this area, in each leg, with each contraction. It was miserable!! The whole theory of the Bradley method is to relax and I could relax through the contraction pain, but this other pain was impossible to relax through. The only way to get any sort of relief was to stand up and try to stretch those muscles out. The only problem was standing like that made the contraction pain worse, but the one time I actually tried to laid down through a contraction I got physically sick from the pain in my hip area!

Anyway, the nurse said she thought it was my hip bones expanding as the baby moved down. Which makes sense, but I already had very wide hips and my baby was under 7 pounds! Why would they need to expand? I think she was right though because the day after she was born I could not fit into pants I wore while I was pregnant! They would not fit over those widened hip bones!

I guess my question is... has anyone ever had this pain or heard of this pain, and if so how did you make it through without medication? I finally caved and got an epidural, but I would REALLY like to avoid that in the future, so I'm just curious.

Thanks for your help!
post #2 of 31
Some people feel labor contractions/cramping in their upper thigh in addition to/instead of in their abdomen. It's normal (although not common) and it's not caused by injury/disease/etc.
post #3 of 31
I don't have any personal eperience, but here are a few brainstorm ideas.
See a chiropractor regularly a few months before baby is born, one well versed in Webster technique. If you're in alignment, and baby's in the best position, I would think it would put less pressure on your hips. At least, I know that going to the chiro helps me with my pregnancy hip pain, so I expect it could only help prevent labor hip pain, too.

I would think warm water might help a lot, too. Did you get to labor in a hot bath or shower at all last time?

What about having a doula there who can specifically help massage your hips during contractions?

Also, it may have been a "first birth" type of thing that won't be repeated, because you're already nice and stretched out after your first. I hope that's the case for you.
post #4 of 31
Thread Starter 
Ok- thanks for the information. A good massage would have felt good, my poor husband just ended up being as exhausted as I was! Is it normal to have your hips expand that much? (To the point where you can't get your maternity pants on?) They have shrunk some but I can tell they are wider than they used to be.

I'm sure hoping this pain doesn't come back again!
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
One thing I forgot to mention... she was posterior. Could that have made a difference? She ended up rotating but I already had the epidural by then so I'm not sure if that changed anything?
post #6 of 31
I had that with my first. I had used bradley but wasn't able to use it because he was posterior and was 28 hours of back labor. I actually mainly felt the contractions in my back and a little in the front for the first 20 hours or so but I transferred to the hospital and got an epidural and it was during pushing then that I felt that pain in my legs/thighs. It was horrible!

My second birth, a hypnobabies one, with the baby in good positioning was nothing like that though. I had no leg pains or anything. So it's definitely possible that you won't experience it again.
post #7 of 31
Pain can radiate to other parts of the body because nerves receive and transmit messages all over the body. I have known of women who felt labor pains in their knees, legs, and had shooting pains elsewhere.

Labor with a posterior presentation is often a whole world to itself. These labors are often more painful, longer, and one of the many reasons for the explosion in caesarean section rates.
post #8 of 31
I was going to suggest a posterior baby before you said it. Posterior babies can cause all kinds of pains that are not "textbook" contraction pains, and doulas are trained in techniques to help relieve these oddball pains. Trying different positions to get baby turned around would be first choice, but if baby is just plain stubborn, it sounds like a good double hip squeeze would have helped you out a lot.
post #9 of 31
I did with my first. She was NOT posterior, unless MW was wrong or she moved during labor, entirely possible i suppose...
It was MUCH worse pain-wise than actual contractions. It made me want to kick and curl up and stretch all at once - none of those things easy to do when a head is on it's way out
Didn't happen with second baby though, was at a birth center vs. hospital and was waterbirth vs. laying on bed. Maybe that's a difference?
I was SO relieved even though baby #2 was much (2 lbs.) bigger and took longer to descend... the absence of those awful leg/thigh pains was noticed
I think a lot of it was more confidence in laboring + birth center + waterbirth, if that helps your future plans!
post #10 of 31
I had pains shooting into my legs like that after being given pitocin to speed up labour (PROM at 34 weeks, and there were some signs of fetal distress). They were actually quite familiar from the sacroiliac pain I used to have after an accident in which I'd fallen on the small of my back and which tended to come back during menstrual cramps, so it hadn't occured to me that they might be unusual, just part of the all around misery (yes, I ended up needing an epidural as well - insisted on one after I was not supposed to move around or make a noise anymore but instead told to lie still on my left side as the baby's heartrate kept going down massively whenever I moved or screamed with a contraction). Maybe you want to have your sacroiliac joint looked at by a physiotherapist or osteopath?
I do hope that I will have neither PROM nor pitocin the second time around and that that will make for a more manageable labour. not that much longer, and I'll be able to let you know!
post #11 of 31
I'm pretty sure everyone's hips stretch out during labor, regardless of the babies' size. Mine did, and it did hurt in my hip/leg area! I did not have the thigh pain during labor, however whenever I get my period my right thigh will "cramp" as well as my lower abdomen.
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Wow! This is all really helpful and gives me lots to think about! I'm definitely going to do all I can to prepare for that next one! And maybe start seeing a chiropractor soon, because my whole body has felt very "off" since giving birth! Thanks again for all the help!!
post #13 of 31
I had that very same thing with my second labour. In fact, thè only sign that labour had already begun was pain in my thighs. Labour with DS1 was lightning quick (almost born in the car), but I had 30+ hours of back labour with DS2, plus that pain you mentioned. He was also posterior. I didn`t get any drugs, but I was really, really nearing the end of my threshold.
post #14 of 31
I had extreme pain in my hips and thighs during pushing. I didn't feel it during labor but I spent the entire labor standing/on birth ball between contractions and in a squat during them. I felt like I *had* to squat during contractions. then I sat down on the birth stool to push and my hips cramped up. My midwife ended up propping my legs up on her shoulders while she sat on the floor so I could keep my hips straight. I wish I would have just pushed while squatting because I think I would have avoided that, that's my plan for this birth anyway.

I don't know if this pertains to you, but I have very loose hips from doing ballet into my early 20s. I've felt the same cramping during other activities from time to time so I know it was my loose hips expanding. Oh, and even when I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight after the birth my hips were still too wide for my past pant size. My son was only 5lbs14oz and he widened my hips!
post #15 of 31
typically, birth does widen everyone's hips. it changes the Q-angle of the femur, which is why a lot of moms have hip/knee pain after birth. they have to learn how to walk with the hips wider.

now, with certain exercises, they can be brought in again, but still there will be perhaps a 1/4-1/2 inch difference from pre to post pregnancy for most women.

this is just my experience with my own body and working with women in postnatal yoga.

but, my hips do actually fit my pre-pregnancy clothes, though that could be due to lycra.

otherwise, i agree that the pains were likely normal as mentioned by the previous posters.
post #16 of 31
I only had the thigh pain during my labor with my son. It was the only place I really felt contractions. Very odd! A heated rice sock helped some but it was still painful. He was posterior. Wouldn't be suprized if the next one is to. My mom had 4 that all were posterior and my first was. I am thinking maybe the way I am shaped.
post #17 of 31
I had this very same pain when I had my 5th baby. She was positioned OK. The way I coped w/ it was on hands and knees. I do NOT like to be on my butt or back during labor. I usually stand, and this was just not an option as the thigh pain was unbearable during ctrx. Hands and knees got me thru. Not fun, I think it was worse than any other pain I was experiencing at the time. It was puzzling too because in my 4 previous births I had not experienced the thigh pain. And it was also distressing because there wasn't a lot I could do about it. I never got any pain meds. But then again my labor was only 2 hrs. If it had been a lot longer I probably would have.
post #18 of 31
maybe think about trying hypnobabies next time....when you are in hypnosis, during the active labor stage you "turn off" from your upper chest to your upper thighs.....that training of relaxing that section of your body could help next time.
post #19 of 31
I found this thread searching for "hip pain in labor" and since it was posted less than a month ago I will respond!

I felt terrible pain in my hips (not my legs, though) during the later portions of labor and the earlier stages of pushing. I remember it being more of an achy, pulling sensation. Like someone stuck a fork in my hips and was twirling the muscles around it like spaghetti. It was always there but got much worse with the contractions, and it was so painful that I did not even notice my contraction pain. I'm wondering whether or not I'll have the same kind of pain again now that I'm expecting my second.

This was a home birth and I didn't end up getting any medication. My midwife tried putting me in different positions and applying counter pressure to my hips, but none of it felt even remotely better. The only position that ended up feeling better at all was laying flat on my back (the way they tell you never to lay, lol!).

My maternity pants, even with all the elastic, didn't fit after the birth.
post #20 of 31
I had a client who had that when she was pushing. She was shaking and crying because of the pain every time she had a contraction. The midwife reached in and felt her sutures, said that the baby was OT, and that if she could just push past the pain, baby would come down and rotate. And the mom did it, bless her. Once baby rotated, the pain subsided. My personal theory is that the baby's head was pressing on a nerve and causing that shooting pain.
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