Relaxin is a substance that increases in the last months of pregnancy to facilitate vaginal delivery. But it produces hypermobility of the tendons that can trigger body aches
The relaxin is a hormonal family of insulin that is produced in the kidneys, brain and arteries of all people. In the case of women, it is also produced in the ovary after ovulation, in the uterus , the placenta and the mammary glands in order to facilitate childbirth. While in men it occurs in the prostate.
Its role is still being investigated, but it is known to play a role in collagen synthesis, so that the body’s ligaments become more elastic . Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that protect the joint, providing stability. People have them in all the joints of the body and they surround the muscular attachments and the bones that make up the joint.
What are the benefits of relaxin in pregnancy?
Relaxin levels peak early in the second trimester and in labor . This translates into:
- Greater muscular elasticity for childbirth.
- Spontaneous contractions of the uterus are softened.
- It favors the flexibility of the pubic joint.
The fact that at the end of pregnancy we have that extra laxity has as a consequence that, during labor, when the fetal head has to pass through this bony ring, the pubic joint will allow a certain amount of play , which in some cases will be what allows or not a vaginal delivery .
Does it have negative effects?
The negative effects of relaxin are that this joint hypermobility leads to an increase in the instability of the joints, which translates into back pain, hip pain or pain in the pubic area.
How to Avoid Relaxin Pain
- Do not make sudden movements to avoid ligament injuries
- Avoid picking up weights, and if you do, do it slowly and bending your knees
- Watch your body posture.
- If you have pubalgia or pubic pain, a pubic band or girdle that crosses over the pubis and lifts the weight of the uterus so that it does not rest on the pubis can help.
- Try sleeping with a pillow between your legs to keep your pelvis aligned and your hip joints rested and not straining.
- Practice swimming during pregnancy as it strengthens the paravertebral muscles and allows you to exercise the muscles without putting pressure on the joints. Also, you can try other sports, like yoga or Pilates that promote gentle stretching.
- Heat is a great ally to combat these discomforts with a hot bath or by placing an electric mat or a hot water bottle on the painful area, it will relieve us of tension and relax the muscles.
Have you ever heard that feet can grow during pregnancy ? Yes, it is not a myth and relaxin may be the cause of the pregnant woman’s foot increasing up to one size during pregnancy due to its effect on the ligaments that join the 26 bones of the foot
- Relaxin increases during pregnancy and, although it facilitates labor, it also has negative consequences due to its action on the ligaments.
- This joint hypermobility leads to an increase in joint instability, which translates into pain in the back, hips or pubic area.
- To avoid this, it is convenient to avoid sudden movements, perform sports such as swimming or that promote gentle stretching (yoga, adapted Pilates), regular breaks, apply heat …