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Joint pain when pregnant

Your body is growing and changing at a dramatic rate during pregnancy, which can put additional strains on all the places your body bends, including elbows, knees, fingers and hips. Particularly if this is your first baby, your body is adjusting to the redistribution of your weight that can cause occasional discomfort.

What causes it?

Weight gain is the main culprit of joint pain, since your bones simply have more to support. Your frame is growing, your center of gravity shifts and your abdominals are overly stretched. Additionally, hormones released during pregnancy relax your joints, making their job a bit more strenuous. If the joint pain is especially bothersome in your fingers and wrists, it could be a sign of carpal tunnel syndrome, which is common in pregnancy due to fluid buildup in your hands and fingers. Getting regular exercise is important when you’re pregnant, but if you’re pushing yourself too hard you could be exacerbating the stress on your bones and joints.


Mild joint pain is nothing to cause alarm, since overall soreness and stiffness are expected in pregnancy. Before reaching for Tylenol or other medications, make sure you are stretching, resting, and elevating your feet as much as possible. If you think your joint pain is the result of a previous injury, you may want to talk to your healthcare provider to get it checked out.

Read more
  • R Ablove, T Ablove. “Prevalence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome in Pregnant Women.” Wisconsin Medical Journal. Volume 108, No. 4. Web. 2009.
  • Gay Frankenfield, RN. “Preventing Aches and Pains During Pregnancy.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web.

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