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Pelvic pain during pregnancy is quite common as your hormone levels are constantly changing, organs are shifting, and ligaments are stretching to accommodate a baby human inside your uterus. Even though pelvic pain is typical during pregnancy, when do you take it seriously? Here are some facts about some mild and serious causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy. Read our guide to know more about them!
10 Mild Causes Of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Here are some common fugitives of pelvic pain during pregnancy. If pelvic pain gets too severe to bear or if you experience symptoms like bleeding, strong cramping, or unusual discharge along with it, get in touch with your OB-GYN immediately.
1. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)
Levels of relaxin, progesterone, and estrogen increase during pregnancy. This helps in stretching your ligaments during childbirth by relaxing your pelvic muscles and making your joints mobile.
The symphysis pubis is the joint located at the front of your pelvis that turns unstable and stretchy during pregnancy leading to pain in the pelvic floor. This pain could start soon after conception and tends to worsen towards the end of the pregnancy period. To get some relief from pain, some women use pelvic support belts.
2. Accommodation Pain
You might experience cramp-like pain from 8 to 12 weeks of your pregnancy that feels like you have your period coming along. It is probably your expanding uterus that is causing this pain as long as there is no bleeding. You will feel this kind of pain during your first pregnancy most likely.
3. Round Ligament Pain
In your 2nd trimester, you might experience pain on your sides as the ligaments in your body from the top of your uterus to the groin region stretches while getting up or walking. The pain occurs because your uterus is tilting and pulling on the ligaments. One way to make them disappear is to lie on your side. This pain will subside by 24 weeks of your pregnancy.
4. Diastasis Recti
Diastasis recti happen when the rectus abdominis muscles start to separate during pregnancy leading to pelvic pain. The abdominal muscles are attached from your breast bone to your pubic bone and as your hormones change the pubic muscles get stretched. Your doctor will probably suggest at-home exercises to relieve this pain after birth. On rare occasions, severe cases of diastasis recti might need surgeries.
5. Pressure From The Baby’s Weight
Pelvic pain during third-trimester pregnancy is due to the pressure of the weight of your baby on your pelvic region. Some nerves run from your vagina into your legs and the rapidly developing fetus presses down on them. This kind of pain generally occurs during movements such as riding in a car or walking because your baby is bouncing. To relieve this type of pelvic pain in pregnancy, you can try lying down on your side while resting.
6. Ovarian Cysts
When your ovaries change the way they produce or release eggs, they form into functional ovarian cysts which are generally common, harmless, and non-cancerous. These cysts grow large during pregnancy and combined with the pressure your growing fetus will put on your ovaries, this pain will only get persistent. If the cysts rupture, the pain might worsen.
Get in touch with your OB-GYN and let them know if you have a history of ovarian cysts. An ultrasound will make sure that the cysts have not increased in size. On rare occasions, a cyst might twist which is a condition that is prompted by rigorous or sudden activities like having intercourse or running. This condition is also called torsion and it causes very constant, severe, and sharp pain along with sweating, vomiting, and nausea.
7. Braxton Hicks Contractions
Tightening or pressure in the pelvis region that comes and goes might be contractions but if these contractions are not painful and are sporadic, they are most likely practice contractions, known as Braxton Hicks. These occur during your 20th week of pregnancy and may be triggered by dehydration.
Braxton Hicks contractions will disappear on their own but if you experience more than 4 contractions in an hour for about 2 hours, get in touch with a healthcare provider. Generally, preterm labor that occurs before 37 weeks show contractions every 15 minutes for about 2 hours. To check if you are having contractions, lie down and feel your belly. You can feel your uterus going hard and then relaxing.
8. Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Expectant moms tend to get a urinary tract infection at some point in their pregnancy. Typical symptoms of a UTI are,
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody urination
- Painful urination
Sudden urges to urinateUTI are concerning because it may progress into a kidney infection that puts moms at risk of preterm labor. Your OB-GYN tests take urine tests pon every visit to check for UTI-causing bacteria. If caught early on, UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.
One of the common reasons for pelvic pain during pregnancy is constipation as hormones slow down the digestion process. Apart from hormones, iron supplements also slow down your digestive tract. So keep yourself healthy by drinking plenty of water and eating fiber-rich foods such as vegetables and fruits. If this does not help, ask your OB-GYN about a glycerin suppository or a stool softener.
10. Vulvodynia During Pregnancy
The condition that leads to valvular or vaginal pain with no obvious source is called vulvodynia. Because of no established cause, vulvodynia can be hard to diagnose as it is nothing that the doctors can test or see. If diagnosed, an epidural will relieve you of delivery and labor pain.
10 Serious Causes Of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Pelvic pain during pregnancy coupled with bleeding and fever are severe health conditions so get in touch with your doctor if you experience any. Here are the details on some serious causes of pelvic pain in pregnancy:
Abdominal pain during your first trimester might be an indication of a miscarriage if it is accompanied by cramping and bleeding that resembles menstrual cramps or are rhythmic.
2. Preterm Labor
Pelvic pressure and persistent backache are signs of labor. If you experience 4 or more contractions in an hour that continues for 2 hours, it could mean that you are going into labor. Even if you have urinated and laid down, labor contractions continue and if they occur before 37 weeks, it is considered preterm labor.
3. Ectopic Pregnancy
Tubal or ectopic pregnancies occur because of the egg implanting in someplace else other than the uterus like in the fallopian tube. It is an unlikely event but once in it, your 6th to 10th week of pregnancy will be accompanied by intense bleeding and pain. This happens so because the tube is getting distended.
Once you had an ectopic pregnancy, there are chances of you having it again. There are also other possible causes of ectopic pregnancy such as,
- a pelvic infection
- an intrauterine device (IUD) at the time of conception
- a tubal ligation
- a fallopian tube surgery
- Abdominal surgery
- Pelvic surgery
- Abnormally shaped uterus
- Use of artificial reproductive techniques
Ectopic pregnancies require immediate treatment. An early pregnancy test through an ultrasound will help determine if the egg has been planted in the uterus or not.
4. Placental Abruption
The source of nutrients and oxygen for your fetus is the placenta. It usually implants high on the wall of the uterus and stays until your give birth. However, in rare cases, there are chances of the placenta getting detached from the uterine wall, most commonly in the 3rd trimester.
During a placental abruption, the pain you will experience will be progressively worsening, severe, and constant. Your uterus will go rock hard and bleed dark red blood with no clots. In some cases, labor might be induced and in which case you will need a cesarean. If you have the following conditions, you might be at risk of placental abruption:
- Abdominal trauma
- High blood pressure
- A history of placental abruption
5. Uterine Fibroid
Uterine fibroids, common during childbearing years, are non-cancerous growths of the uterus. Pregnancy will cause these fibroids to expand which may or may not hurt. The rapid growth of a fibroid will outgrow normal blood supply causing pain. Usually, fibroids occur during pregnancy and once in a while, they are surgically removed to allow the pregnancy to progress.
6. Uterine Rupture
Uterine ruptures are rare but possible especially if you have a cesarean scar or other abdominal surgery. These ruptures will cause severe pain in the midline where the prior scar existed. It could be potentially fatal to both the child and the mother. Uterine ruptures that show outside of labor typically follow some sort of abdominal trauma. There are no ways to prevent uterine ruptures but if you closely follow the instructions from your healthcare provider.
Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder experienced by pregnant women during their 20th week of pregnancy. Your doctor will keep checking your blood pressure and protein in your urine to rule out preeclampsia. High blood pressure will restrict the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus which will slow down the baby’s growth.
Preeclampsia is also a possible trigger of a uterine rupture. Severe cases of preeclampsia are accompanied by
- Visual disturbances
- Flashing lights
8. Ovarian Torsion
Ovarian torsion is a rare but possible condition that causes pelvic pain during pregnancy. Your ovaries may get twisted at some point during the early stages of pregnancy and cut off their own blood supply. Twisted ovaries induce ovulation which enlarges the ovaries and leads to symptoms like,
- Abdominal pain
When you are pregnant, your appendix might get inflamed and you would feel pain in the lower right side of your abdomen. It is a sneaky cognition that pushed up your abdomen. It needs to be surgically removed to prevent rupturing.
10. Kidney Stones
Extreme waxing and waning pain indicate a kidney stone especially if you experience pain down your side. Do not wait for the stone to pass; consult your doctor as soon as you suspect a kidney stone.
The Bottom Line: Tips to Relieve Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy
Pelvic pain during pregnancy can be such a hassle as it might restrict your movement and overall health. For mild pelvic pain during pregnancy, you can try these methods:
- Regular exercise
- Avoiding quick and sharp turns and movements at the waist
- Wearing low-heeled shoes that have good arch support
- Wearing a pelvic support garment to keep the uterus from pushing down on your pelvis
- Get a prenatal massage
Take a warm bath or shower and let the water hit your back