Pelvic pain during pregnancy

Pelvic pain is yet another common pregnancy discomforts that bothers pregnant mothers in late pregnancy. About 80 percent of pregnant women experience pelvic pain during pregnancy. Learn what causes pelvic pain and how to ease it.

Last Updated: 23 October 2020

Pelvic pain during pregnancy
Pelvic pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy brings with it a big list of unique symptoms which can cause uneasiness at mild to severe levels. One of the common pregnancy discomforts is pelvic pain which most pregnant women experience at some stage during their pregnancy, though most report during the late third trimester.

Broadly, pelvis refers to the areas below the navel and above the legs. Pain in the pelvic region during pregnancy must not be confused with Braxton Hicks contractions. While contractions may feel like alternate contraction and relaxation of the pelvic muscles, pelvic pain during pregnancy is usually felt as a constant pain (or at certain times of the day) in the pelvis region.

What causes pelvic pain during pregnancy?

Your growing baby’s weight exerts pressure on your pelvic region. From four to six weeks before your due date, lightning is likely to happen. Lightning is the process of your baby turning onto the head down position. As your baby’s head positions into the socket just above the cervix, increased downward force gets added to your pelvis. As a result, the bones, joints and muscles in your pelvis begin to bear more weight than ever which causes pelvic pain during pregnancy.

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How is pelvic pain different from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)?

During late pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin which relaxes the ligaments and joints of your pelvis in preparation for labor. Ligaments which tightly hold up your uterus are loosened for the easy pass through of your baby through the birth canal at the time of delivery.

These changes in your pelvic area, in rare cases, may result in the instability of symphysis pubis (the pelvic joint). Ligaments become unusually stretchy, losing the ability to support the natural framework of the pelvic girdle, leading to severe pain in the pelvic region, upper thighs and groin. A pregnant mother affected by symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), also called as pelvic girdle pain (PGP) may face difficulty and pain even with small movements like walking and climbing stairs.

However, pelvic pain during pregnancy is not a complication like SPD. It is only a general pregnancy symptom and does not indicate any abnormality in the functioning of ligaments of the pelvis. Unless you experience extreme pain for every small step you take, you should not confuse a pelvic pain with SPD.

How can pelvic pain during pregnancy be relieved?

There isn’t a remedy to get complete relief from pelvic pain. As a matter of fact, it is one of nature’s ways to help you get into labor at the right time of your pregnancy. If pelvic pain bothers your daily life, however, you may try the following relief methods:

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·         Immerse yourself in a warm bath. It may soothe you from the weight-bearing stress around your pelvis and back.

·         Try low-level, pelvic exercises recommended by your healthcare provider. Pelvic tilts make a good exercise for not only relieving you from pelvic pain but also strengthening your pelvic floor for an easy labor and delivery.

·         Reduce the time you spend in standing, walking or climbing – activities which can make the effect of gravity on your pelvis worse.

·         Whenever possible, keep your legs, thighs and hips elevated in a comfortable position.

·         Use an elastic belly band which can support the weight of your bump while standing and walking.


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·         You may want to get advice from a medical expert about alternative methods available for pelvic pain relief such as acupuncture and body massage.

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