Orthopedic Problems in Pregnancy

6 common bone and joint disorders in pregnant women

Expectant mothers often need the care of an orthopedic specialist as well as their OB/GYN. A pregnancy can place a great deal of stress on woman's body because of the added weight and position of the baby as well as physiological changes that can exacerbate an existing joint or bone problem. Many of the conditions are also related to the health and weight of the mother prior to the pregnancy.

Here are the six of the most common orthopedic conditions seen in pregnancy:

1

pregnant back pain
Westend61 / Getty Images

More than half of all pregnant women experience significant lower back pain. Both the weight of the baby and the awkward distribution of weight causes rapid muscle fatigue and can lead to the development of muscle spasms, sometimes severe.

While treating lower back pain can be difficult during pregnancy, problems seldom linger after the delivery. Having a strong back before pregnancy can help prepare you for the physiological changes ahead. Similarly, back-strengthening exercises during the first and second trimesters can often pay off during the latter half of your pregnancy.

More

2

pregnant hands
Kohei Hara / Getty Images

Carpal tunnel syndrome is a condition in which the median nerve of the wrist is pinched. Typically, people with carpal tunnel syndrome will complain of pain, tingling, and numbness in the hand and fingers.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can be exacerbated due to the retention of fluids during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester. It can be further burdened if you gain excessive weight, highlighting the need for reasonable weight control.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can often be treated with night splints, ice compresses, and cortisone injections, if needed. The condition will almost always improve following the delivery of the baby.

More

3

feet pregnant plantar fasciitis
Natalie Kauffman / Getty Images

Plantar fasciitis is the inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the fascia, that connects the heel bone to the toe. Often referred to as a heel spur, plantar fasciitis can cause a stabbing pain in the heel and is typically associated with rapid weight gain during pregnancy.

It can often be worse in the morning and during the latter stages of a pregnancy. Most cases of plantar fasciitis can be treated at home with ice application, orthopedic shoe inserts, night splints, and regular foot massage. Cortisone shots are sometimes given if the pain is severe or interfering with mobility.

More

4

thigh
Andre Perlstein / Getty Images

Meralgia paresthetica is a relatively uncommon condition but one that is seen during pregnancy and in people who are overweight. The condition is caused by the compression of the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve which supplies sensation to the upper leg.

When the baby grows, the pressure against the nerve can create a notable patch of numbness on the thigh as well as tingling or burning sensations. If the symptoms are severe, cortisone injections around the nerves can often help.

Like many of the other orthopedic conditions, meralgia paresthetica will usually resolve on it own after the delivery.

More

5

pelvis
MedicalRF.com / Getty Images

Osteitis pubis is an inflammatory condition affecting the bones at the front of the pelvis called the pubic symphysis. This junction of these major bones can often become inflamed during pregnancy due to added weight and position of the developing baby.

Ice/heat application, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or simply being off your feet can significantly reduce the groin pain and inflammation associated with osteitis pubis.

More

6

hip pain
artpartner-images / Getty Images

Another hip condition associated with late-term pregnancy is transient osteoporosis. This condition is one in which pregnancy can cause temporary bone loss that significantly weakens the hip joint. The cause is not entirely known, but hormones, weight-bearing stress, and the obstruction of small blood vessels around the hip are considered contributing factors.

The condition is characterized by the sudden onset of pain, typically in the front of the thigh, the groin, the side of the hip, or the buttocks.

Treatment may involve the use of crutches or a walker. NSAIDs can help treat pain, while nutrition and calcium supplementation may prevent excessive bone loss.

More

Continue Reading