Skip to Content

Do your hips go back after pregnancy?

It is common for a woman’s hips to widen during pregnancy. The extra weight and shifting hormones cause the ligaments in the pelvis to loosen and relax. This allows the pelvis to expand, making room for the growing baby. For some women, this expansion is permanent, while for others, the hips return closer to their pre-pregnancy shape.

Do hips stay wider after pregnancy?

For many women, the hips do not fully return to their original width after giving birth. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin causes the ligaments in the pelvis to stretch and loosen. This allows the bones of the pelvis to spread apart. The pubic symphysis (the joint at the front of the pelvis) can expand up to 50% during pregnancy.

This widening of the hips may persist after childbirth. Studies show that the distance between the iliac crests (the top of the hip bones on either side) remains about 5-9 mm wider even a year after delivery. The pubic symphysis may also retain a wider gap than before pregnancy.

However, there is a lot of variation between women. Factors like age, number of pregnancies, genetics, and exercise levels can affect how much the hips spread and how much they return to normal.

Why do hips stay wider?

Here are some reasons why the hips may remain permanently wider after pregnancy:

  • Hormones – The hormone relaxin causes loosening of ligaments during pregnancy. If levels remain elevated after birth, the ligaments may stay looser.
  • Multiple pregnancies – Women who have had more than one pregnancy are more likely to experience permanent widening.
  • Genetics – Some women have looser ligaments and pelvic joints that are more prone to permanent changes.
  • Age – Older mothers tend to experience more pelvic changes that remain after childbirth.
  • Trauma during delivery – Difficult deliveries or those with extensive tearing can lead to lasting changes.
  • Insufficient recovery – Not allowing enough healing time after pregnancy may result in wider hips.

Do hips return to normal for everyone?

While many women experience some degree of permanent widening, some women’s hips return almost entirely back to their pre-baby shape. Here are some factors that can determine whether the hips return to normal:

  • Age – Younger women’s bodies tend to recover more completely after childbirth.
  • First pregnancy – Changes tend to be less pronounced after a first baby compared to subsequent pregnancies.
  • Genetics – Some women are just predisposed to bounce back more quickly.
  • Fitness level – Women who are active and exercise often have an easier time regaining their pre-baby figure.
  • Rate of weight loss – Slow, steady weight loss can allow the hips more time to recover.
  • Breastfeeding – Nursing helps stimulate contractions to tighten core and pelvic floor muscles.

While returning fully to pre-pregnancy hips is difficult, many women can get close through diet, exercise, and time. Activities like yoga and pilates can help strengthen the core and pelvic muscles.

How long does it take for hips to return to normal?

Most of the changes in hip width and shape occur in the first 3-6 months after giving birth. Here is a general timeline:

  • 0-6 weeks – Hips remain at their widest due to effects of relaxin and postpartum recovery.
  • 3 months – Most changes have occurred but hips likely remain somewhat wider.
  • 6 months – Hips are getting closer to pre-pregnancy dimensions.
  • 9-12 months – Hips have recovered close to their original width.
  • 1-2 years – Hips are as close as they will get to pre-pregnancy shape.

However, there is substantial individual variation in this timeline. Age, fitness level, genetics, and other factors can accelerate or delay the process. Making sure to allow the body adequate healing time is important.

Tips for returning hips to normal

Here are some tips that can aid the process of getting your hips back to their pre-baby shape:

  • Breastfeed to help your uterus contract.
  • Wear a postpartum belt to provide compression.
  • Practice kegels and pelvic floor exercises.
  • Start gradual walking as soon as approved.
  • Follow a balanced, nutrient-rich diet.
  • Stay hydrated to avoid fluid retention.
  • Slowly ease back into exercise after 6-8 weeks.
  • Include strength training to rebuild muscle mass.
  • Try yoga or pilates to strengthen core muscles.
  • Be patient and allow your body time to recover.

While your hips likely will never look exactly like they did pre-pregnancy, consistency with healthy lifestyle choices can help them get close. And a little extra width is a small price to pay for the miracle of bringing a new life into the world!

When to seek medical advice

In most cases, the changes in hip width after pregnancy are not cause for concern. However, you should consult your doctor if you experience:

  • Severe or worsening pain in the hips or pelvis
  • Noticeable asymmetry in hip width
  • Difficulty walking or severe waddling gait
  • Numbness or tingling in the hips, groin or legs
  • No improvements months after delivery

These could be signs of hip dysplasia, a pelvic injury, or other complications requiring medical treatment. Your OB-GYN or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and provide personalized recommendations for your postpartum recovery.


For most women, the hips experience some degree of permanent widening after pregnancy. However, with time, care, and targeted exercise, it is possible to regain hip dimensions close to your pre-baby shape. Focus on allowing your body adequate healing, follow a healthy lifestyle, and be patient with yourself. While your hips may never look exactly the same again, your body performed the incredible feat of growing and delivering a baby. Some small physical changes are an understandable price to pay for that miracle!