The Relaxin Hormone - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 10 Old 10-29-2009, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I had an apt with my midwife yesterday and mentioned that I'm having leg muscle soreness and a popping/creaking feeling in my lower back. She said its probably hard for me to stand up and painful to take a step, then gradually gets easier and less painful as I walk and I said yes, that's exactly what I'm feeling. She said it was the Relaxin Hormone and that it works to relax muscles, ligaments and makes joints more pliable in preparation for pushing the baby out. I've started initially feeling like this about month 5, and its gradually getting more painful/difficult to move around.

So this got me thinking:
Has anyone here had the Relaxin Hormone work to the extent that it hurts to walk and is really hard to stand up? And if so, about when did it start and did you have an easy/easier labor because of it? Also, if you've had more than one birth, I'd like to know if you saw any difference in how difficult or easy your labor was if you felt the effects of Relaxin or if you didn't feel the effects of Relaxin. Does that make sense? I'm pretty much wondering if you had a painful late pregnancy like I described but had an easier labor and birth because of it, and if you didn't have a painful late pregnancy, was your labor and birth difficult?

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#2 of 10 Old 10-29-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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Not exactly answering your question, but I highly recommend you see a chiropractor. Getting adjustments, and learning some stretching and toning exercises, can keep you pain free (or at least far less in pain).
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#3 of 10 Old 10-29-2009, 04:33 PM
 
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I'm a physical therapist turned SAHM.

In my case, relaxin makes my sacroiliac joint unstable. So the two halves of my pelvis can move on one another. When one side slips on the other, a person often reports feeling a clunk or something similar. I've had left sided SI joint pain with each of my three pregnancies, and I have minimal to no SI problems when not pg.

The relaxin makes the ligaments loose and stretchy which allows some bones/joints to move around and become less stable. This is what can sometimes cause pain.

You can see a good chiro or PT to get some relief if it is really bothering you. SI pain (if that's indeed what you are dealing with, obviously that can't be diagnosed via the internet) can really hurt...I've had sciatica with my SI problems as well.

My previous two labors and deliveries were pretty short and easy (6.5 hours and 3 hours) but I don't think there was any relationship between that and what I experienced in pregnancy.

Some moms do experience things like symphysis pubis dysfunction in part due to relaxin circulating (SPD is a separation of bottom of pelvis down at the pubic bone) and that can make labor and delivery more painful.
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#4 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 12:25 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I looked more into symphysis pubis dysfunction and SI pain, and that's not really what I'm feeling. I'm not having any pelvic pain except for the occasional shooting pain that lasts less than a second, which I assume is ligaments. The part that hurts are mainly my thigh muscles. Even lifting my leg a little to put on pants is pretty painful.

I thought it would be interesting to hear if anyone had easier labors and painful late pregnancies.

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#5 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 08:55 AM
 
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Not that I can tell over the internet, but just so you know--pelvic instability brought about by relaxin does not always manifest as pelvic pain directly. What you describe could well be the result of pelvic alignment issues.

But I still can't answer your question
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#6 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 12:56 PM
 
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Could it be sciatica though? The instability in your pelvis can cause sciatic nerve issues. Your sciatic nerve runs down the back of your leg.

You could also be having instability in the ligaments of your back, etc. that is causing issues w/ your nerves (the nerves come out of your back and run into your leg) into your leg potentially, for example. Obviously there's no way to know for sure what is going on and what the origin of your pain is without getting a thorough evaluation.
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#7 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I was under the impression that it was all normal, the way my midwife said its just my body getting ready for labor. But now what you're telling me is kinda freakin' me out. I thought this was more common.

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#8 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 04:52 PM
 
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As far along as you are, yes, back pain and pelvic instability will be an issue. It is natural to have lower back pain these last few weeks. I think counterpressure is wonderful! I lean across a big pillow and my husband just applies pressure to my lower back. Getting on all 4's and doing pelvic rocks helps too. Having my SI joints messaged helps too.

I have crippling SPD. Starting at 24 weeks and it rapidly has gotten worse. I had to stop working because I am on my feet for 12 hours. There are days when I can't walk at all. The good news for you is you don't have too far to go. I am only 29 weeks and am not looking forward to how much worse it will get. This is my 4th and I have never had it before, but I am scared about labor!
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#9 of 10 Old 10-30-2009, 05:19 PM
 
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With my first I had something like this- my back, knees, ankles, and feet were in constant pain. It hurt most if I'd been sitting/laying down, and would slowly fade as I moved. I used to crawl to the bathroom in the middle of the night because my feet and knees hurt too much for walking and by the time it eased up I'd be back in bed anyway.

It started hurting around 5 months, got steadily worse, and then about 2 weeks before DD was born it just stopped hurting, pretty much all at once.

I had a pretty easy labour (8 hrs of active labour including 2 hrs of pushing- posterior baby, no back pain. The only part that actually HURT was the feeling of my hips being pushed apart, which seemed odd. I really thought all that relaxin would make my hips move easy-peasy!)

Grace - wife to Jeff and mama to Nigella (11/08) and Orrin (01/10)- expecting a new addition (05/12)! Life is a whirlwind, but I'm learning to enjoy the ride!

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#10 of 10 Old 10-31-2009, 09:06 AM
 
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Oh, not meaning to be scary! And what you are feeling IS pretty normal! You don't have to think, just because you have normal, relaxin-prompted pelvic instability of pregnancy (possibly) that there is anything wrong, or anything to fear at all.

It's just this: as a midwife, for years I thought of the kind of pain you describe as 'normal' for pregnancy--and other than maybe recommending some stretches to help reduce the achiness, I didn't much comment on it. I also didn't know enough about the issue--and next to nothing about chiropractic and 'physical therapy' (in the general sense of particular moves, tonings and stretchings that address the issues causing the pain). Now I know more--and share it with those it applies to .

Doesn't sound as if your situation or pain is anywhere near what some mamas on this thread have described--and perhaps you will be fine without help of any sort. I just wanted you to know that you might not *have* to be in pain at all....maybe your mw is just not aware of the ways 'normal, relaxin-induced pelvic instability/pain' can be addressed.

And to get back to your original question (finally! ), I've not seen any noticeable in labors with women who have the symptoms you describe.
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