This post is a response to a reader question about my pregnancy and torn hip labrum. But first I want to announce that I created a hip pain resource page listing all my postings regarding this injury in chronological order and grouped around pain management and pregnancy. You will find it much easier to follow my progress and reader questions than dig through the archives.
Reader Question about torn hip labrum
So I guess I have a few questions for you…woman to woman (I realize you’re not a doctor, but you have been through this)
1. did you do physical therapy during your pregnancy? any cortizone shots to help with pain?
2. did you have to go on bed rest at all? i’m concerned/wondering if my chances to be on bedrest will increase b/c my body will be less stable
3. childbirth – vaginal or c-section?
4. are you choosing to have surgery now? I saw your post about things to prepare before having surgery. Its funny, I have read so many different things about the actual recovery/time and the doctor that wanted to do surgery said its an outpatient procedure and crutches for only 2 weeks. which just baffles me!
Physical therapy during pregnancy
I went to physical therapy once during my third trimester… for my back pain. I gained so much weight (42 pounds!) that I started experiencing back pain just from walking (around the 7th month). The weight gain was my fault.
My friends said they ate the healthiest when they were pregnant, but it was the exact opposite for me. For some crazy reason I just started this “see food” diet. I see the food; I want to put in my mouth. I had more donuts during those 9 months than the last 9 years combined. But I was able to exercise well into the 7th month and was able to climb up the side of a sloping levee at 6 months (which made my male co-workers really nervous, but as an engineer I had to do field visits).
Since I was so far along in my pregnancy, the physical therapist said she could not help me and recommended I start using a pregnancy support belt. Once I started using the pregnancy support belt and support hose, I was still very uncomfortable, but managed to work up until I gave birth.
The last time I had a cortisone shot was in 2009. I injured my hip in 2006. However, I did take Tylenol a total of 4-5 times during my entire pregnancy.
No bed rest during pregnancy for hip pain
I was concern about bed rest as well prior to getting pregnant. My energy level declined and my hip pain level went up as my pregnancy progressed. But I kept up with my hip exercises, foam rolling, and icing throughout the pregnancy. I eventually got to the point where I could only walk half a mile and do stretches (3rd trimester), but there was no concern about bed rest.
The support belt and hose are little miracle workers! They basically help with the instability created by my weak hip and bulging belly. The physical therapist noted that my back swayed too much each time I walk. So I make a conscious effort to take small steps (to minimize the swaying) and tightening my butt muscles (to take the pressure off my back). This makes walking during the last two months a hassle, but at least I was able to get through the most physically uncomfortable part of my pregnancy.
Childbirth and beyond
First off, I want to say that if I did not have a previous injury on my hip and back, I would be one of those women with a prefect pregnancy and birth. Little to no morning sickness and labor and delivery in less than 9 hours (7 hours if you only count the time at the hospital). Vagina birth with minimal tearing. I started exercising again 4 weeks postpartum and was walking 3 miles a day with the stroller by 7 weeks post partum. It could be genetics or that I take care of my body with exercise and healthy eating (personally I think it is mostly from the latter and a handful of supplements I take on a daily basis PRIOR to getting pregnant).
Due to my previous injury, I believe I experienced slightly more hip pain during pregnancy than average. However, most women tend to experience back pain by the 3rd trimester anyway due to the size of the belly so I don’t think the back pain I experienced was unique.
The hip pain during pregnancy is definitely from my torn hip labrum since I did not experience pain on my “good hip.” But the hip pain peaked around mid-2nd trimester (coinciding with the peak of the relaxin hormone and leveled off after the 5th month).
Hip surgery not in the near future (pain level about the same)
With a 6 month old infant, hip surgery is not in my near future. It is not even on the radar for the next 5 years since I would like another baby when Hazelnut becomes a pre-schooler (darn this biological clock!). If I started my family in my late 20s, then I would consider hip surgery between the two kids, but I am heading towards my mid-30s really fast. I want to get through the early years first (you can’t have down time with babies and toddlers). I don’t even have time to get sick with a full time job and a baby.
From everything I read, your recovery time from hip surgery depends on how athletic you are and the surgeon you selected (and it is never as quickly as initially estimated). My orthopedic surgeon recommends I get pregnant first before considering hip surgery. And I am happy that I did. If I have to make the same choice again, I would still choose to have a baby.
My hip pain level post pregnancy is about the same as before. Sometimes I actually think it might be slighter better since I don’t seem to need to do hip exercises as often as before. However, I cannot say for sure because I do not have a record.
A Chiropractor might help!
Hailey mentioned alignment issues in her email. Though I only mentioned going to a chiropractor on this site once or twice, I am a regular chiropractor patient. I go once per month for an adjustment (more for my back and neck). A torn hip labrum is too deep for a chiropractor to be of much help (though you should let them know you have such an injury).
Would I have to go to a chiropractor if I do not have a torn hip labrum? I do not know. I got this injury from a car accident several years ago and at the time I also injured my back and neck. I just know that after a session with my chiropractor I feel better and feel like she corrects my alignment issues (albeit temporarily). But I do think my torn hip labrum might contribute slightly to my alignment issues as well.
Please keep me posted on how you are doing Hailey and let me know what decision you make about your hip injury.
Until next time and thanks for stopping by Small Steps to Health.
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