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Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a period filled with excitement and joy for new moms-to-be. However, for some it is accompanied by discomforts of pelvic pain. Pelvic pain during pregnancy varies widely in intensity and duration, affecting women differently. Understanding the physiological changes occurring in your body empower you to make informed decisions for your own health and wellbeing. Here, we explore its causes as well as management strategies to help expecting mothers navigating their journey to motherhood with confidence and comfort.

Causes of Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

To understand pelvic pain during pregnancy, it is crucial to first understand the intricate anatomy and physiology of the pelvis. The pelvis is a basin-shaped structure composed of bones, muscles, ligaments, and organs, serving as a crucial support system for the body. During pregnancy, the pelvis undergoes significant changes to accommodate the growing fetus and prepare for childbirth. Pelvic pain during pregnancy can stem from a multitude of factors, both physiological and mechanical. Some of the primary causes include:

  • Ligamentous Changes
    As uterus expands to accommodate growing fetus, the ligaments supporting the uterus, such as the round ligaments and uterosacral ligaments, undergo stretching and strain. This can result in discomfort and pain in the pelvic region.
  • Hormonal Influences
    Pregnancy relaxin and progesterone, play a crucial role in preparing the body for childbirth. However, these hormones contribute to pelvic pain by inducing relaxation and laxity of the pelvic ligaments and joints, leading to instability and discomfort.
  • Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
    SPD is a common condition characterized by pain and instability in the pubic symphysis, the joint at the front of the pelvis. It occurs when the ligaments supporting the pubic symphysis become overly relaxed, resulting in pain, difficulty with mobility, and discomfort during activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or turning in bed.
  • Mechanical Factors
    The increasing weight of the uterus and growing fetus places added pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and nerves, contributing to pelvic pain. Additionally, poor posture, excessive strain, or repetitive movements can exacerbate pelvic discomfort during pregnancy.
  • Previous Pelvic Conditions
    Women with pre-existing pelvic conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, or pelvic adhesions may experience heightened pelvic pain during pregnancy due to the worsening of underlying issues.


Management Strategies for Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

While pelvic pain during pregnancy is challenging, there are several strategies that expectant mothers can employ to alleviate discomfort and improve quality of life:

  • Prenatal Exercises
    Engaging in gentle exercises tailored to pregnancy, such as prenatal yoga, swimming, or pelvic floor exercises (Kegels), help strengthen the muscles supporting the pelvis. This results in stability improvement which will alleviate pain.
  • Physical Therapy
    Working with a physical therapist specializing in prenatal care can provide personalized guidance and exercises to address pelvic pain and improve mobility. Techniques such as manual therapy, pelvic stabilization exercises, and posture correction are beneficial for expectant mothers.
  • Supportive Devices
    Don’t hold back in using supportive devices such as maternity belts, pelvic support garments, such as girdles. They provide additional support to the pelvis, reduce strain on ligaments, and alleviate discomfort during daily activities.
  • Heat and Cold Therapy
    Applying heat packs or cold compresses to the pelvic area reduce inflammation, soothe sore muscles, and alleviate pelvic pain. Alternate between heat and cold therapy based on individual preferences and comfort levels.
  • Pain Management Techniques
    Incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, guided imagery, or meditation can help reduce stress, tension, and discomfort associated with pelvic pain during pregnancy. Additionally, over-the-counter pain relievers approved by a healthcare provider may provide temporary relief for mild to moderate pain.
  • Optimal Body Mechanics
    Practicing proper body mechanics and ergonomics during daily activities, such as lifting, bending, or getting in and out of bed is beneficial to minimize strain on the pelvis and reduce the risk of worsening pelvic pain.
  • Rest and Self-Care
    Prioritizing adequate rest, sleep, and self-care activities is essential during pregnancy, especially for women experiencing pelvic pain. Listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and do get support from loved ones to alleviate physical and emotional strain.
  • Nutritional Support
    Maintaining a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients, vitamins, and minerals is crucial for supporting overall health and wellbeing during pregnancy. Consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist for personalized dietary recommendations and supplementation if needed.


When to Seek Medical Attention

While pelvic pain during pregnancy is often an expected part of the prenatal experience, there are certain red flags that warrant prompt medical attention. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe or Persistent Pain: Intense, unrelenting pelvic pain that interferes with daily activities or is accompanied by other concerning symptoms such as fever, chills, or vaginal bleeding should be evaluated by a healthcare provider promptly.
  • Difficulty Walking or Standing: If pelvic pain significantly impairs your ability to walk, stand, or perform routine tasks, seek medical evaluation to rule out potential complications or underlying conditions.
  • Changes in Fetal Movement: Pay attention to changes in fetal movement patterns, such as a decrease in fetal movement or unusual fetal activity. Contact your healthcare provider if you notice any significant deviations from your baby’s normal activity level.
  • Bleeding or Fluid Leakage: Vaginal bleeding, spotting, or fluid leakage during pregnancy should always be reported to a healthcare provider for evaluation, as they may indicate potential complications such as placental abruption, preterm labor, or ruptured membranes.
  • Fever or Signs of Infection: Fever, chills, flu-like symptoms, or signs of infection such as abdominal pain, pelvic tenderness, or foul-smelling vaginal discharge should be assessed by a healthcare provider to rule out infections that may require treatment.


Pelvic pain during pregnancy is a common discomfort experienced by many expectant mothers. While experiencing pelvic pain are challenging, implementing a holistic approach to addresses physical, emotional, and psychological aspects of pelvic pain, helps expectant mothers to navigate this journey. Trust your body as you embrace the transformative experience of pregnancy and childbirth. It’s also helpful to keep a journal to track your pelvic pain symptoms and triggers. Do consult with a healthcare provider for personalized guidance, monitoring, and support throughout pregnancy journey.