Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

The Causes and Treatments of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Pelvic pain during pregnancy is very common. As the body changes and the baby grows, pain is common near the pubic bone and pelvic region. Sometimes there are simple treatments, while other times pelvic pain must be taken more seriously. Always be sure to consult a doctor if you experience pain while pregnant.

Causes and treatments of pain in the pelvic region vary from person to person, but here is a guide to better understanding what you or a loved one may expect during pregnancy.

Causes of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, a woman’s body changes so much as the child grows that most women experience pelvic pain. Pains can change from one area to the next depending on the trimester. Here are a few common causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy:

  • Growing Uterus – As the baby grows, so does the uterus, which can cause pain as it expands. Pain may begin around 8 to 12 weeks into the pregnancy and can last until birth.
  • Urinary Tract Infections – UTIs are reported in about 10 percent of pregnant women according to the March of Dimes. Most OB GYNs will test urine at every visit to make sure that a UTI has not developed. If a UTI has developed, antibiotics can be used to treat the infection if it is caught early enough.
  • Constipation – It is not uncommon for pregnancy to lead to constipation. Dehydration and a lack of fiber can cause problems and lead to pelvic pressure. A proper diet is the best treatment.
  • Braxton Hicks Contractions – Sometimes false contractions, or “practice” contractions, can be experienced during pregnancy. These are not a sign of labor, but can be painful. These contractions tend to appear as early as the 20th week of pregnancy and can come and go for a few weeks after they begin.
  • Round Ligament Pain – During the 2nd trimester, the ligament that connects from the uterus to the groin begins to stretch more significantly. This can cause pain on one side of the body until the body adjusts.
  • Baby Weight – During the 3rd trimester, the baby grows quickly and adds more weight to the woman’s whole body. This extra weight can cause a lot of pain due to the quickness of development and the added pressure on various parts of the body.
  • Ovarian Cysts – An ovarian cyst is typically a bad thing, but they can be healthy during a pregnancy. They form as the child grows, but will put pressure on the uterus and cause pain where the cyst develops and ruptures. Over time, cysts typically subside.
  • Relaxin Hormone – The hormone Relaxin increases during pregnancy in order to help loosen up ligaments in the body to ease labor. However, the hormone can cause pain and weakness in the lower body and legs early on in pregnancy. Over time, the body should be able to adjust to the influx of the hormone and some strength will return on its own.
  • Vulvodynia – A condition known as Vulvodynia is one of the most difficult conditions that can develop with pregnancy. If it manifests, it is hard to find the cause or a solution. Most women who experience Vulvodynia may end up with treatments that do not help or may cause issues elsewhere.

Treatments for Body Weakness and Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Luckily, many causes of aches and pains due to pregnancy have been heavily studied and pain relief treatments have been developed for most scenarios. Some treatments work well in general while others work better for specific issues. Here are a few remedies for dealing with pregnancy pains.

  • Pelvic Support Belts – These belts are a great solution for pregnant women who are having a wide variety of pain in their pelvic joints. A support belt does what the name implies, it provides support for the weight of the baby. This can help ease stress on the uterus, placenta and ligaments of the body.
  • Staying Hydrated – Hydration is a must during pregnancy. Our bodies need water, especially during changes such as pregnancy when a child is growing. Dehydration is a common cause of pelvic area pains during pregnancy and a healthy amount of water may resolve this issue.
  • A Fiber-Rich Diet – Much like hydration, a diet high in fiber is a great idea for pregnant women. Fiber helps with digestion and helps to avoid constipation, leading to less abdominal pains during pregnancy. High fiber foods such as vegetables should be included in a pregnant woman’s diet.
  • A Prenatal Massage – A doctor may suggest a prenatal massage to help ease any chronic pains. Performed by a professional masseuse, this type of massage can target the specific areas that are hurting while ensuring that the massage does no harm to the baby. You can receive these massages as often as needed or as prescribed.
  • Lying Down – Rest is always a good idea, especially for round ligament pain. Lying on the side you experience pain can help ease the feeling over time. The more rest, the better.
  • Antibiotics for Infection – Urinary Tract Infections can be stopped with antibiotics if they are caught early enough. This also applies for any infection that may arise during pregnancy. Always be sure to take all of your prescribed antibiotics even if your symptoms subside before the treatment is complete.
  • Warm Baths – Heat helps loosen up muscles and tendons. A warm bath is an easy way to relieve some pain. Be careful not to use water that is too hot as it may cause other issues.
  • Comfortable Shoes – Be sure to wear comfortable, low heeled shoes at all times. Shoes with good arch support are essential for helping the legs and lower body avoid pain.

What If the Pain Continues?

Some pelvic discomfort is expected but pains that lingers is a cause for concern. Be sure to consult a doctor for any of the following issues:

Doctors are always cautious of any pain or bleeding in the 1st trimester. Pains early in the pregnancy can be a sign of an impending miscarriage. An ectopic pregnancy may manifest early on as well, when the egg implants outside the uterus, typically in the fallopian tubes. Doctors can perform an ultrasound to confirm if this has happened.

The 2nd and 3rd trimesters can also bring about unusual pains. A placental abruption can occur where the placenta breaks away from the uterus, removing the delivery system for oxygen and nutrients to the baby. Preterm labor, or going into labor early, can also occur during the 2nd or 3rd trimesters, causing higher levels of pain. A uterine rupture, when the uterus tears open, can also cause severe pain. Be sure to talk with your doctor or midwife about the possibility of any of these occurrences.

In addition, there are more common issues that could affect the body during pregnancy. Preeclampsia is a condition that includes high blood pressure and high levels of protein in the urine. This causes issues with oxygen delivery to the baby. Appendicitis and kidney stones are also common health issues that people run into during any phase of life, but the added stress of pregnancy can encourage the manifestation of these conditions.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain while pregnant, it is vital that you speak to a doctor. Some conditions may have simple solutions while others may be more complicated or a sign of a serious issue. The sooner the problem is caught, the sooner it can be fixed.

At Arizona Pain and Spine Institute, we are experienced with treating pelvic pain throughout pregnancy. Schedule an appointment with our specialists today if you are experiencing pain.