Pelvic pain during pregnancy is not something to worry about. Be reassured that many expecting mothers feel pelvic pain. As your organs make room for the growing uterus, hormones drastically change and ligaments stretch; it’s no wonder that you’re feeling pain that you didn’t once before.
Causes of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
There are several common, less-severe causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy. Most often, your pelvic pain is caused by your body making room to help your baby pass through your pelvis during labour.
The most common causes for pelvic pain during pregnancy include:
- Growth spurts of the fetus and uterus
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction. This is the inflammation and pain caused by the movement of joints during and after pregnancy
- Pressure from your baby’s weight
- The secretion of the hormone, relaxin, resulting in the softening of ligaments. This is to loosen the joints and ligaments to prepare your pelvis for delivery.
Common Locations for Pelvic Pain
A pregnant woman may feel pelvic pain as her body prepares for childbirth. It can also be common for the pelvic pain to radiate to other parts of the body.
As a result, you may feel some pain and discomfort in the following areas of your body during your pregnancy:
- Over the centre of your pubic bone
- Across your lower back
- In your perineum
- In your thighs
- The round ligament. This is the ligament that starts from the top of the uterus and ends at your groin. As it begins to stretch, you may feel sharp, stabbing pains on one or both sides of your abdomen. Although it is uncomfortable, it is generally harmless.
If you’d like to see how pregnancy changes your pelvis and prepares itself for childbirth, you can watch this informative video.
When to be Concerned About Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
The pelvic pain you feel should be mild to moderate. The pain should also reduce and/or go away with rest. If you have any concerns about your pain during pregnancy, it is recommended that you visit your doctor or OB-GYN immediately.
You should seek professional attention from your doctor or OB-GYN if:
- You experience a fever and/or chills along with your pain
- Your pain is consistent and doesn’t go away with rest
- You have lower abdominal pain that doesn’t subside
- You feel a burning sensation when you urinate
- You experience dizziness and persistently feel nauseous and/or vomit
- You see greenish, watery, or bloody discharge
- Bleeding occurs
How to Reduce and Treat Your Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
It is important that you do whatever you can to help provide comfort when you experience pelvic pain. Keep in mind that what works for one person does not necessarily work for another. Here are some recommended ways in which you can prevent, or reduce your pelvic pain and discomfort:
- Exercise in water. As you experience more strain on your joints during pregnancy, the buoyancy of the water allows you to not only feel weightless, but prevent injuries while exercising. Aqua Aerobics and swimming laps are two great options for expecting mothers that want to keep fit.
- Use pelvic physiotherapy to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back, and hip muscles
- Use equipment such as a pelvic support belt or crutches, if necessary
- Rest when possible
- Wear supportive, flat shoes
- Place an ice pack over the pelvic joints to reduce inflammation
- Avoid pushing yourself through the pain. If it hurts while doing an activity, stop. If your pain flares up, it could take a while for it to settle down again.
- Try not to move too much. You may not feel the pain immediately, but it could sneak up on you later that night, or the next day.
Pelvic pain is common for most pregnant women and there are ways in which you can reduce, or treat your discomfort. However, if you have any questions concerning your pain, please visit your doctor or OB-GYN.
Closing the Gap Healthcare provides Pelvic Physiotherapy to women who are pregnant (including prepartum and postpartum pregnancy) that experience issues associated with pelvic pain, dyspareunia, and vaginismus. If you are experiencing pelvic pain, contact us to see if pelvic physiotherapy is right for you.