How Birth Changes Your Hips: A Comprehensive Look at the Effects of Pregnancy and Childbirth

Pregnancy and childbirth are miraculous experiences that bring new life into the world. While these processes are undoubtedly beautiful, they can also cause significant changes to a woman’s body, particularly the hips. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore how birth changes your hips, the factors that contribute to these changes, and ways to help your body recover after giving birth.

An Overview of the Hip Changes During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes numerous changes to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare for childbirth. One of the most noticeable changes occurs in the hips as they expand and shift to make room for the baby. This expansion is necessary for the baby to pass through the pelvis during delivery, and it can lead to temporary or permanent changes in a woman’s hip structure.

Some women may notice that their hips become wider, while others may experience a change in the shape or positioning of their hips. Additionally, the increased weight and altered center of gravity during pregnancy can stress the hip joints, potentially causing discomfort or pain.

Factors Contributing to Hip Changes

Several factors contribute to the changes in a woman’s hips during pregnancy and childbirth. These include weight gain, pelvic ligament laxity, and posture changes.

Weight Gain

As a woman gains weight during pregnancy, her hips may naturally widen to support the extra weight and accommodate the growing baby. This added weight can also pressure the hip joints and surrounding muscles.

Pelvic Ligament Laxity

The ligaments surrounding the pelvis and hips become more relaxed during pregnancy, allowing for increased mobility and flexibility. This natural process helps the body prepare for childbirth, but it can also lead to changes in the shape or positioning of the hips.

Posture Changes

Pregnancy can cause changes in a woman’s posture as her center of gravity shifts to accommodate the growing baby. This altered posture can place additional strain on the hips and contribute to changes in their structure and appearance.

The Role of Hormones in Hip Changes

Hormones play a significant role in the changes that occur in a woman’s hips during pregnancy. One hormone, in particular, called relaxin, is responsible for loosening the ligaments in the pelvis and hips. Relaxin is produced in higher amounts during pregnancy, allowing the hip joints to become more flexible and the pelvis to widen in preparation for childbirth.

While the increase in relaxin is necessary for a smooth and successful delivery, it can also lead to changes in the hips that some women may find undesirable. The loosened ligaments can cause the hips to widen, potentially altering a woman’s overall appearance and causing discomfort or pain.

Postpartum Hip Changes and Recovery

After giving birth, many women will experience a gradual return to their pre-pregnancy hip size and shape. This recovery process can vary significantly from one individual to another, with some women noticing an almost immediate return to their pre-pregnancy hips, while others may take several months or even years for their hips to return to their original state. 

In some cases, a woman’s hips may never return entirely to their pre-pregnancy size or shape, as the changes that occurred during pregnancy may have caused permanent alterations to the hip structure.

It’s essential to remember that every woman’s body is different, and there is no “normal” timeline for postpartum hip recovery. It’s crucial to be patient and give your body the time it needs to heal and recover naturally.

Exercises to Help Strengthen and Tone Your Hips After Birth

While it’s important to allow your body to recover at its own pace after giving birth, there are certain exercises that can help strengthen and tone your hips, potentially aiding in the recovery process. Some exercises that can help improve hip strength and stability after childbirth include:


This exercise targets the glutes and hip muscles, helping to improve stability and strength. To perform a bridge, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your hips off the ground, do not squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement, and then lower back down. Repeat for several repetitions.

Side-Plank in Clamshell 

This exercise targets the obliques to help minimize the appearance of the wide hips. Start by laying on your side, knees bent, stacked on top of each other. Take a breath in and breathe out as you lift your hips off the floor. Focus on your breath here and breath out as you bring your hips to the ground. Repeat for several repetitions before switching sides.

Diaphragmatic Breathing 

This exercise targets the pelvic floor to contract. If you feel you have wider hips, focus on your breath out, exhale longer than you inhale. This movement helps contract the pelvic floor and bring your pelvis. If you add the word “lam” as you breathe out, it will just help contract the pelvic floor even more. If you feel you are having difficulty with mobility of your hips, breathe in longer in 360 breath of your ribs and breathe out shorter to help stretch that pelvic floor. 

Before beginning any exercise program after giving birth, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that it is safe for you to do so. They can help guide you on when it’s appropriate to start exercising and provide recommendations based on your specific needs and recovery progress.

Key Takeaways

Pregnancy and childbirth can have significant effects on a woman’s hips, leading to changes in size, shape, and overall structure. These changes are a natural part of the process, as the body adapts to accommodate the growing baby and prepares for delivery. 

While many women will experience a return to their pre-pregnancy hip size and shape, others may find that their hips have changed permanently.

By understanding the factors contributing to these changes and implementing appropriate exercises to strengthen and tone the hips, women can help support their postpartum recovery and maintain overall hip health. 

For more information, reach out to me today!