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What is Relaxin?
What is Relaxin?
In the female body, relaxin is a hormone that is produced in the first few weeks of pregnancy. As the pregnancy progresses, Relaxin continues to be circulated throughout the body. As its name implies, relaxin relaxes certain components of the musculoskeletal system. Relaxin decreases stiffness in cartilage, joints and tendons and creates laxity in connective tissue. The main indication of this hormone is to allow growth of the baby inside the woman’s uterus and more laxity (or loose ligaments) within the pelvis to facilitate an easier delivery.
What does this mean for the female body?
The laxity creates more mobility, specifically in the joints of the pelvis. As beneficial and critical as this may be for growth and delivery, it can cause instability in the pelvis and lower back. This creates compensated gait patterns as the female body learns to move with the new range of motion and growing front load. This can also cause potential achiness and discomfort in the hips and low back.
Post Pregnancy Relaxin
Relaxin will remain in circulation as long as the mother is breastfeeding. This has big indications when it comes to post-partum recovery and eventually, return to sport. For the breastfeeding moms, joints, ligaments and muscles will continuously be more lax and a little less stable, even though she is no longer pregnant.
Restoring muscle length, strengthening weakened muscles and being able to control potential lax joints is extremely important post partum. The need is even more crucial when it comes to our breastfeeding moms. It is important to be able to find a balance between returning to the activity they love but learning how to protect their potentially less stable and more lax joints.
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photos: www.hormone.org, anatomynote.com, duopilates.com