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Joint Pain During Pregnancy

Are you having a hard time moving around because of joint pain during pregnancy? Find out why you're getting aches and pains and what you can do about it.
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Updated March 2, 2017
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What is joint pain during pregnancy?

You might be feeling stiffness, soreness or pain in the places your body bends: elbows, fingers, knees, hips and more.

What could be causing my joint pain during pregnancy?

Pregnancy  weight gain itself can put strain on your joints (knees and heels in particular) and make them hurt — especially if it’s your first baby, says Joseph A. Salinas, MD, ob-gyn at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic in Houston. If you exercise a lot, you might get joint pain from overuse.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is also common in pregnancy. Fluid gain, in addition to the weight gain, can cause increased pressure at the wrist, triggering pain in your wrist and hands.

Joint pain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism, but Salinas points out that pregnant women are normally screened for the condition at the beginning of pregnancy, so if you had it, you’d probably know it already. When caught early, hypothyroidism usually doesn’t cause any complications. “A lot of women with hypothyroidism deliver healthy babies every day,” he confirms. “We just have to be sure that their levels are checked and that they’re on supplementation throughout the pregnancy.”

When should I go to the doctor about my joint pain during pregnancy?

For joint pain, it’s fine to wait and mention it at your next office visit — unless you actually had an injury or if it’s severe, says Salinas.

Also, see your doctor if you’ve been around someone with parvovirus (aka fifth disease). “There are some birth defects associated with parvovirus, especially if you’re in the first trimester, but it’s rare,” says Salinas. That’s because most adults have been exposed to it as kids and are now immune. But if you’re exposed to someone (usually a small child) with fifth disease, he suggests you see your doctor to get your blood counts and antibody levels checked.

How should I treat joint pain during pregnancy?

To treat general joint pain, use Tylenol as needed. But it’s just as important to rest, elevate your feet at night and cut back on exercise if that’s making it worse.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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