If you're pregnant and experiencing pelvic pain, you're not alone. Pelvic pain during pregnancy is a common complaint among expectant mothers, and it can affect up to half of all pregnant women, in the form of pelvic girdle pain.
What does pelvic girdle pain feel like?
The pelvis is a large bony structure at the base of the spine, to which the thighs of each side of the pelvis are articulated. It can be difficult to accurately determine the source and nature of pelvic pain.
There are different causes that can produce pelvic pain during pregnancy. The most common reason is called pelvic girdle pain. It appears due to the physiological developmental mechanisms of pregnancy. This pelvic pain can be felt from the 1st trimester, when the uterus starts growing, and usually lasts until delivery. It is an unpleasant feeling in the pelvis that can interfere with your daily life, but it is harmless to you and your baby.
Pelvic girdle pain can be felt differently by pregnant women. Generally, pain is felt in the hips, lower back, and pubic area. Sometimes, it can be felt in the inner thighs or in the perineal region.
The pain is felt as general discomfort in the pelvis, it is usually a dull pain, which can radiate in the back, the inguinal hollow, the buttocks or the thighs. You may particularly feel the pain when moving around, walking or standing up from a seated position.
What is the cause of pelvic girdle pain?
Pelvic pain in early pregnancy is not something to be alarmed about. It is mostly due to the enlargement of the body and the displacement of bones and ligaments to accommodate the growing baby.
During pregnancy, the extra weight of the baby and hormones can cause pain in the pelvic area. The articulation that joins the two parts of pelvis are usually stiff and strong. During pregnancy, relaxin hormone is released. Relaxin combined with estrogen and progesterone, make soften the muscles, articulations, and ligaments of the pelvis, in order to facilitate child growth and childbirth. However, if the relaxation of the ligaments and joints of the pelvis becomes too intense, it can cause pain.
Moreover, during pregnancy, you are more likely to suffer from fatigue and stress. These symptoms have effects on the nervous system, resulting in a higher sensitivity to pain.
Thus, pregnant women should avoid sudden movements, significant impacts and shear forces to the pelvis in order to avoid pains related to stress or injury. If the stabilizing muscles do not adapt to the new stress, the pregnant woman can then start feeling pain.
How to cope with pelvic pain while sleeping?
Feeling pelvic pain from the start of pregnancy is therefore something common, there is no need to worry about.
You can easily adopt new habits to your everyday life, in order to limit pelvic pain:
- Try to avoid standing position for long periods of time
- Try to avoid carrying heavy objects
- Try to work on your posture to keep you straight during the day, and thus avoid having a slumped position
- Practice light exercises and stretching every day
- You can also use a pregnancy belt, which will help to support the weight of your belly and relieve lower back pain.
Here are a few tips to help you for sleeping better with pelvic pain during pregnancy.
Sleep on your back: First, make sure you are sleeping on a firm mattress that supports your body properly. It is generally recommend to sleep on your left side during pregnancy, but you can try to sleep on your back for relieving pelvic pain. This position helps to reduce the pressure on your pelvis, making it easier to sleep. If you find it difficult to sleep on your back, you can also try propping up your upper body with a few pillows or a wedge pillow. This can help to reduce the strain on your lower back and hips.
Use Pillow pregnancy for Support: If sleeping on the back is not enough, you can try sleeping on the side, preferably on the left side, using pillows pregnancy for support. That can help to reduce the pressure on your hips and lower back while sleeping. Place a pillow pregnancy between your legs or between your knees to help align your hips and pelvis. You can also try placing a pillow or rolled blanket behind your lower back for extra support. Do not hesitate to visit our Pillow Pregnancy collection, we have a wide choice of pillow designed for you.
Avoid painful positions: Certain positions can make pelvic pain worse, so it is important to avoid them. Avoid sleeping on your belly and sitting in a cross-legged position, as these positions can both cause additional strain on your hips and pelvis.
Stretch you and and take a warm bath: It can be helpful to do some light stretching before bed. This can help to loosen up the muscles and ligaments in the pelvic area and relieve some of the pain. Additionally, a warm bath before bed can to help relax your body and make sleeping more comfortable.
Practice Relaxation Techniques: Practicing yoga, meditation, or deep breathing can help to reduce stress and tension in your body. This can help to decrease the pain in your pelvic area and make it easier to sleep.
These simple steps will help you make the pelvic pain during pregnancy more bearable. You will thus be able to find better quality of the sleep, which is important for the good development of your baby. Do not hesitate to read our article that explains you in details how to sleep with a pregnancy pillow.
Finally, if your pain is severe or is not getting any better, make sure to talk to your doctor. They can help to determine the cause of the pain and provide you with treatment options.
Other cause of pelvic pain during pregnancy
There are several causes that can trigger pelvic pain during pregnancy. Although pelvic girdle pain has no effect on your health or that of your baby, certain pelvic aches should lead you to consult your doctor. If in doubt, do not hesitate to ask your doctor for advice.
Here are some causes of pelvic pain which should prompt you to see a doctor quickly:
Miscarriage pain is felt in the lower abdomen and is generally similar to menstrual pain. Indeed, the uterus contracts to expel the egg, and the pain is accompanied by bleeding.
Ectopic pregnancy :
Ectopic pregnancy is a serious complication of pregnancy. It corresponds to the development of the egg outside the uterus, most often in the fallopian tube. Pelvic pain is brutal and can be violent and is felt from the first weeks of development of pregnancy. Faced with intense pelvic pain during the first semester, it is important to consult your doctor rapidly.
During the 3rd trimester, it is normal to feel uterine contractions. They are generally spaced out during the day and are not painful.
The contractions of preterm labor are more intense and more frequent, they are spaced less than 10 minutes apart. They may be accompanied by fluid loss or vaginal bleeding. If you experience frequent, painful contractions, accompanied by vaginal bleeding or fluid loss, you should seek urgent medical attention.
Other causes of pelvic pain not related with pregnancy
All the other organs located in the pelvis can also cause pelvic pain, particularly the urinary and digestive organs.
Urinary tract infections are more frequent during pregnancy, this is due to the high progesterone level which slows down urinary elimination. The pain is felt as burning in the lower abdomen.
Renal colic or appendicitis also give intense pelvic pain that could be associated with fever.
In any case, if you felt severe pelvic pain associated with fever, you should address the doctor promptly.
Finally, getting a good night's sleep during pregnancy is incredibly important for both the mother and her unborn baby. Not only will it help to reduce stress, improve overall health and wellbeing, but also help to reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy. Additionally, good sleep can help to improve the mother's energy levels, making it easier for her to cope with the physical and emotional transformations that come with pregnancy. Finally, good sleep quality can help to promote the baby's healthy development in the womb, as well as helping to ensure the mother is able to enjoy a successful and problem-free pregnancy. We recommend you to read more about this important topic in our article how to sleep when pregnant.
Although pelvic pain during pregnancy can be uncomfortable and disruptive, it is important to remember that it is a normal part of the process. It appears due to the physiological pelvic change during pregnancy, in order to accommodate the baby growth and the to prepare the childbirth.
With the right measures, you can make sleeping more comfortable and make it easier to get the rest you need. This can be difficult while dealing with pelvic pain, but there are few measures you can take to improve your quality of sleep. Make sure you are comfortable while sleeping. Sleep in a firm mattress with a pregnancy pillow can help you find the right position. Additionally, you can practice relaxation techniques and breathing exercises before bed to help reduce stress and discomfort.
Most of the time these simple measures will help you to reduce pelvic pain during pregnancy and spend more comfortable nights.
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