If your pelvis is hurting, you're not the only one. As many as 83 percents of pregnant women experience Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) at some point, mostly during the final trimester when stress on the pelvic region is particularly intense. It’s even more bothersome once lightning starts to occur (the baby slides into the pelvic area in preparation for labour about two to four weeks prior to delivery, although many women won't experience it until they're in their first phases of labour). However, it may hit at almost any point in the pregnancy, and its impact can range from minor pain (a few twinges or a general feeling of heaviness and pressure in the pelvic region) to debilitating (a searing sensation that wraps around your back and snakes down below your belly). Pinpointing what the exact problem is can be tough because it's such a wide-ranging problem.
Is it pain or pressure?
It's necessary to differentiate between pelvic pain and pelvic pressure, as the latter signals the start of cervical effacement and dilation or labour. The pelvic pressure in the pelvis and the region around the rectum is comparable to menstrual cramps and is often persistent with back pain. The likeliness of it to occur is more during the second pregnancy or later. Symptoms of pelvic pain, however, include wrenching pain (as though your pelvis is coming apart) and discomfort when walking.
What's causing the pain?
Your baby, now much heavier, is sliding deeper into your pelvis in preparation for birth, and that little head is now pushing hard against your bladder, hips, and pelvis, putting intense pressure on the bones, joints and muscles in your pelvis and back. On the bright side, once the delivery is done, your uterus will stop pressing up against your diaphragm and lungs, which will let you take bigger and deeper breaths.
What you need to know
You can also get pelvic pain from symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), where the pain is more generalised and the loosening of ligaments isn't necessarily the cause for it. It’s also not like sciatica, meaning the pain isn’t caused by pressure on your sciatic nerve, which is why it’s more localised to your pelvic area.
6 things you can do about it
- Do some pelvic exercises like pelvic tilts, or relax with your hips elevated.
- Take a warm bath (it'll give you a break from gravity's effect).
- Invest in a belly sling, a specially designed crisscrossed sling made of elastic fabric that supports the weight of your belly. It also helps lessen gravity's effect, so ask your doctor for recommendations or check online.
- Get a prenatal massage or try some complementary and alternative therapies.
- Many mums try acupuncture to alleviate all kinds of pregnancy illnesses and pains, including pelvic pain.
- Consult your doctor about pregnancy-safe pain killers or muscle relaxants if the pain is too intense to handle.