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Author Topic: Re: Tips for hips?  (Read 2851 times)


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Re: Tips for hips?
« on: May 11, 2010 at 02:17 PM »
hello Ladies,
It's Darline, an exercise specialist and perinatal fitness instructor. Angela sent me the link to your posts. so sorry that you are all suffering so with hip and low back pain.

When I was pregnant with both my kiddos, I found that wrapping my body around a body pillow to sleep helped immensely. Part of the problem, is that the Q angle, the angle of the thigh bone at the hip insertion, becomes accentuated during pregnancy as the hips spread in preparation for childbirth. As a result, the muscles, ligaments and tendons are working overtime to "hold you all together." You may also note some knee pain as the tendons and ligaments helping to support the thigh bones are also strained at the knee insertion.

Things get a bit dicier when a woman is on bed rest because she does not have the ability to move freely about and stretch the ligaments and tendons and get movement into the joint space.

Here are 5 of exercises that you can do to try to get some movement back in your hips and alleviate some of the stiffness. I will try to describe them from the position of lying propped on your back and lying on your left side. Check with your OB/midwife before performing these exercises as some situations, i.e. cervical shortening, may be an issue and they may not want you performing certain movements.

Hip Abductors: If you are lying on your left side, bend your knees so that your hips and knees are at 90 degree angles. (You'll look like you're sitting in a chair, but on your side. You may keep the pillow between your knees if you wish). Your feet should be stacked right on top of the left. Gently press your heels together and open your knees until your right knee is pointing up towards the ceiling. Hold for 1-2 secs and then return to the starting position. Repeat 10X. If you don't have to remain on your left side and your OB/midwife consents, roll onto your right side, place a pillow behind your back so that you are slightly rolled backward (to relieve pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large blood vessel taking blood back to your heart from your legs) and repeat the exercise on your right side.

Hip Circles: Laying on your left side the same as for the hip abductors, raise your right knee towards the ceiling. If it's not too difficult, reach down and gently grab your right knee and gently rotate your knee (and hence your hips) in small circles. If you can't reach your knee, use an exercise band or towel to assist. If you have permission, roll onto the right side, (see positioning above) and circle the right knee and hip.

Leg ab(ad)duction: If you are able to lay on your back, prop yourself up on some pillows and rest comfortably with your legs stretched out in front of your. Flex your feet so your toes are pointing to the ceiling, but don't lock your knees. Legs should be resting comfortably on the bed. Slowly open your legs as wide as you can without straining whatsoever. (Your legs should gently glide over your mattress like you are making a snow angel) Repeat 10 times.

Leg Sweeps: If you aren't allowed to lay on your back, you may be able to do leg swings. Lay on your left side with a pillow between your knees. Gently extend your right leg. Very slowly and gently sweep your right leg in front of you, then sweep it back behind you as far as you can comfortably go without straining. Repeat 10X. If you are allowed to do so, repeat on the right side, positioning yourself with a pillow behind your back as previously stated.

Knee Flexion/Extensions: This exercise can be done laying on your side or propped up on your back. We'll address the side lying position first. On your left side, with or without the pillow between your legs (which ever is more comfortable), start with your legs bent as if you are sitting on a chair. Gently extend your legs until you are lying straight on your left side. Then slowly draw your knees back to the starting position. Repeat 10X and if you are able, repeat on the right side.

If you prefer to do them in a pseudo supine position, lay on your back, propped up on pillows, legs straight out in front of you. Slowly drag your feet towards your bottom as far as is comfortable. DON'T STRAIN TO BRING YOUR FEET ALL THE WAY TO YOUR BOTTOM! (This can be done assisted with an exercise band or with a bath towel.) Release to starting position. Repeat 10 X.

Full Body Stretch: It is so easy to get stiff while on bed rest. You should stretch at least once an hour. Here is a stretch you can easily do while on your left side. Lay on your left side comfortably with a pillow between your knees and your knees bent so that your hips and knees are at about 90 degrees. (may not be a full 90 degrees depending on how big your belly is!) If you can, gently reach down and grab your knees. Give them a very gentle pull towards your belly and hold for 5 seconds. Then let go of your knees and extend your arms over your head and your legs in the opposite direction. When you are fully extended, hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat as needed.

These 6 exercises should help alleviate some of the pain and stiffness. You may not be able to do 10 at first shot, but do one or two and work up to the ten. Do the exercises couple of times a day. Good Luck.

Darline Turner-Lee, Physician Assistant, Exercise Specialist and perinatal fitness instructor
Owner of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond and Bedrest Fitness


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Re: Tips for hips?
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2010 at 01:37 PM »
Hi Darline!

Do you have any tips for us poor ladies who aren't able to do the leg exercises? For example, while I can get help from my husband with stretching, I cannot do leg exercises under my own power. I've got a short cervix that is just barely holding on, thanks to a cerclage, plus an irritable uterus. So, while tightening my muscles can cause some big problems for me,  I can move gently and stretch with assistance. I've been on bedrest for weeks, and am carrying real low with twins. So, all of that weight and pressure in my hips and back is just killer.


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Re: Tips for hips?
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM »
Oh My!!!
My hips have been killing me for the past week or so!!!!!!
Mostly at night since I'm always on my left or right side; also my shoulder will start aching too.
I don't know what else I can do with pillows - I have one under my head, one behind my back, one in front of me & between my legs!  The pain is pretty awful sometimes, and you'd think it would relieve when switching to the other side, but there are times that I switch & as soon as I lay on the newest side, it instantly starts hurting, while the other one is still throbbing.
It's not as bad during the day but can still feel a dull ache in them.

I see my MW in one week, will have to see how my cervix is measuring & whether I can try any of the suggested exercises!