What is pelvic pain during pregnancy?
You should be concerned about pelvic pain during pregnancy if you also experience fever or chills, vaginal bleeding, fainting or lightheadedness, severe pain, trouble moving around, fluid leaking from the vagina, the baby moving less, blood in bowel movements, nausea or vomiting, or repeated diarrhea.
Pelvic pain in pregnancy is a common issue for many women. As many as 80% of women report pelvic pain at some point during their pregnancy
It can also be a sign of symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or pelvic girdle pain
For most women this pain is mild, but for some it can be severe and even disabling. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms to determine their cause and the best course of treatment.
Causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy
Sometimes the cause of your pelvic pain during pregnancy can be minor. It could be due to cramping, gas and bloating, or constipation
Pelvic pain in the first trimester is normally caused by your body adjusting to and making room for the baby. It may also be related to digestive issues that tend to be worse during pregnancy, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD
Pelvic pain in early pregnancy may also be caused by miscarriage. The most serious cause of pelvic pain in early pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy, which is pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancies require immediate medical attention.
Round ligament pain is the most common cause of pelvic pain in pregnancy during the second trimester. The round ligaments support the uterus. They stretch during pregnancy to accommodate your growing baby. Round ligament pain is a sharp pain that's felt in the abdomen or in the hip area, on either side. Any sudden movement that makes these ligaments retract quickly can cause this pain. It only lasts for a few seconds and generally gets better in the third trimester.
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP), sometimes called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) can occur at any stage in pregnancy but is more common late in pregnancy. The pain may occur in your pubic bone, at approximately the level of your hips, in either side of your lower back, or in the perineum, which is the area between your vagina and anus. It may spread to your thighs as well. You may also have a grinding or clicking feeling in your pubic area. PGP is not harmful to your baby, but it can be very uncomfortable for you.
Treatments for pelvic pain during pregnancy
The treatment for your pelvic pain will depend on what is causing it. It may include a combination of home treatments, medication, or therapy.
Normal changes of pregnancy
For pelvic pain that is related to normal pregnancy changes, some helpful options include:
- Don't do any heavy lifting.
- Try sleeping with a pillow between your knees.
- Move more slowly but more often.
- Use a heating pad, but never for more than 10 minutes at a time.
- Rest more often.
- Do Kegel exercises.
- Use a maternity belt for extra support.
- Round ligament pain
If your pelvic pain is caused by round ligament pain, try to:
- Get extra rest.
- Move and change positions slowly.
- If you know you need to cough or sneeze, bend and flex your hips.
- Ask your doctor about stretching exercises for persistent pain.
- Pelvic girdle pain
Pelvic girdle pain can range from mild to severe. You can try the following options for relief:
- Avoid strenuous activity or heavy lifting.
- Try a heating pad or ice pack on painful areas, but don't use a heating pad for more than 10 minutes at a time.
- Wear a pelvic support belt.
- Do kegel exercises.
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs.
- Talk to your doctor about pain relievers if the pain is severe.
- Talk to your doctor about physical therapy if home measures aren't helping.