Pelvic Discomfort During Pregnancy


Unfortunately, discomfort during pregnancy is common, especially in the pelvis, and there are several different culprits.  The ever expanding pregnant belly naturally puts ever increasing stress on the bones, joints and muscles in your pelvis and back which can result in pelvic girdle pain. Examples can include but are not limited to:

Pressure from the Baby’s Weight- By the beginning of the 3rd trimester the baby will start feeling increasingly heavy in the body placing more of a load on your joints, your bladder, other internal organs, and on your nerves, especially, those that run from your vagina to your legs. Pain in this case normally comes with movement, therefore, lying down on one side should help relieve some of the pressure.

Relaxed Pelvic Joints- The pregnant body releases the hormone relaxin which helps the ligaments become stretchy for childbirth. It also can loosen the pelvic joint which causes a bit of separation. It is common to feel pain near the pubic bone and feel that your legs are a bit unstable. Your pelvic joints move more during and just after pregnancy; this can be the cause of inflammation and pain. Be very careful not to overstretch your ligaments, move for the sake of staying mobile, move towards feeling a sense of ease in your body, and not from the “no pain no gain” modality.  It is important to back off and to give yourself the support that your body needs during your pregnancy, it will thank you later during your quick recovery.

Constipation- especially later in pregnancy can cause quite a bit of discomfort, staying hydrated and yoga movements are usually excellent remedies for this condition.

Round Ligament pain- the round ligament extends from the top of the uterus down to the groin and during pregnancy this stretches and a woman may feel pain along her sides as the uterus tilts and pulls on the ligament. The pain is more prevalent while walking or sitting, and getting into and out of a chair. Lying down on the side that bothers you should make the pain disappear. This type of pain normally disappears for good around the 24 week mark.

For these “run of the mill” types of pelvic discomfort recommended treatments can include taking a warm (never hot) bath, standing in the shower with the water directed at your back, a pelvic support garment, a heating pad or ice pack, lying on your side with a pillow between your legs, regular exercise, acupuncture, and prenatal massage. Quick movements and sharp sudden turns at the waist should be avoided.

The following culprit is a little more concerning even though it is treated in much the same way as the above conditions, it is something that you should definitely discuss with your doctor or other health care professional, although I would suggest the mention of all your aches and pains to your doctor. 

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)- characterized by the joints becoming a bit “too” loose, a little too much separation, a feeling of pain down inside of the thighs, or in the pelvic floor between your legs, perhaps a grinding or clicking sensation in the pubic area. The sensation becomes worse by parting the legs, walking, going up and down stairs, or moving around in bed.

Treatment for SPD can include exercises that focus on the tummy and pelvic floor muscles, gentle hands on treatment of your hip, back, and pelvis to correct balance and to shift pressure performed by an experienced professional prenatal massage therapist. At home, try doing Kegels while on hands and knees (lifting in and up on the inhale, holding for 10 seconds, and slowly releasing down and out on the exhale), try sitting on a birthing ball as this will take the pressure from the weight of the baby off of the pelvis, and finally don’t push through the pain, if something hurts stop doing it.

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