How to Sleep with Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy. I bet you never imagined yourself Googling this question at 3AM in the morning – right? Pregnancy is an extraordinary and life-changing phase in a woman’s life. Faint heartbeats and occasional kicks instantly become the most cherished moments in an expecting mom’s life. The nine-month period is remarkable; the “soon-to-be mom’s” entire world begins to revolve around the little human being growing in her womb!
But to produce life, the woman’s body has to undergo a series of physical changes. Where excitement, fear, and pleasure become a woman’s constant companion, she also begins to feel excruciating pain within the pelvic region.
So, is it normal? And do you need to rush to your Gynecologist every time pain surges through your abdomen?
No, we don’t think so!
We have compiled all the necessary information about pelvic pain during pregnancy to help calm the fears of all the expecting mommies. We will also be covering the causes and symptoms of pelvic pain.
And in the end, we will walk you through ways to help relieve this Nuisance, and How to sleep with Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy. Why? Well, because a healthy baby needs a well-slept mom!
Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy
Pelvis refers to the lower half of the torso, including the front/ back of the pelvis and the lower back. These areas include the lower stomach, genital area, pubic bone, sacroiliac joints, pelvic joints, and buttocks. The entire pelvis area plays a significant role in a woman’s pregnancy since the uterus is also in this region.
The bones, ligaments, and muscles around the pelvis shift during the pregnancy to accommodate the growing baby. The pelvis also supports the baby’s weight and prepares the body for delivery.
Apart from the actual pelvic bone separating for the delivery, several things are happening simultaneously within the abdominal and pelvic regions. The placement of the uterus, the baby’s changing positions, and stretching of the muscles and skin: all these things eventually lead to discomfort followed by cramps and pains in the pelvis.
The pain and ache in the pelvis during pregnancy are called “Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). Generally, pelvic girdle pain resolves with time after childbirth, but it is bound to reappear in future pregnancies. Learning to Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy is important, as it will directly impact on you and your Babies Health.
Is Pelvic Girdle Pain Normal?
Experiencing pelvic pain during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTP), about one out of five pregnant women suffers from pelvic pain during pregnancy. Moreover, about 30% – 50% of pregnant women began experiencing their pelvic pain by the second trimester.
So, yes, pelvic pain is quite normal and should not usually be a cause of concern for the expecting mom.
As the pregnancy progresses, the organs make room for the expanding uterus, the hormones shift, and the ligaments stretch. And so, as soon as a pregnant woman enters her second trimester, she occasionally begins to feel a stabbing sensation around her abdomen. The pain is usually not confined and will emanate from the groin area, extending up to the lower abdomen, stomach, and perineum.
Generally, a pregnant woman will feel the following sensations within her pelvic region throughout her pregnancy:
- Pressure in the uterus during the early stages of pregnancy,
- Pressure in the genitals and buttocks throughout the pregnancy,
- Ligament pain,
- Back pain,
- Radiating pain,
- Muscle soreness,
- Sharp, stabbing pain in the abdomen region,
- Painful urination.
At What Stage Of Pregnancy Does Pelvic Girdle Pain Occur?
Pelvic girdle pain mainly occurs during the second and third trimesters (mid-to-late stages of pregnancy). Pregnant women began to feel a slight pain in their pelvis during the first trimester. But the pain becomes intense toward the middle and end of the pregnancy. It is because during this period, the baby is in the final stage of development, and the body prepares itself for the upcoming labour.
Pelvic Pain Becomes Common During Pregnancy: Do You Know Why?
The pelvic region comprises three joints: 2 Sacroiliac joints and a pubic symphysis. Sacroiliac joints (SIJ) are located at the back of your pelvis, whereas pubic symphysis is located at the front of the pelvis.
The three pelvic joints collaborate and usually move only a few millimetres. But when a woman gets pregnant, these joints become more flexible, and their mobility increases by many folds. The increased mobility allows the pregnant woman to push out the baby during labour.
That sounds fascinating, right?
Let’s make it even more interesting!
The body of a pregnant woman releases a hormone called Relaxin. Relaxin softens the muscles and ligaments. It also helps boost the flexibility of the pelvic muscles. Pregnant women produce ten times more relaxin – sufficient enough to soften the ligament muscles of the entire body.
A pregnant woman’s body starts producing relaxin in the first trimester. But the production of relaxin accelerates in the 8th and 12th weeks. Relaxin is at its peak during the third trimester when it loosens the joints and ligaments responsible for normal vaginal birth. It means an expecting mom needs relaxin to have a smooth delivery and avoid a C-section.
However, the loose ligaments and the extra strain on the joints become a source of pain and annoyance for the new mommy. And soon, walking, bending, and even sleeping becomes difficult for the mother.
Understanding why the pain is worse at night, will help you better understand How To Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy, and which tips will be most effective for your individual circumstances!
What Causes Pelvic Pain?
Relaxin is not the only culprit behind that constant nagging pain in the abdomen. Here is a quick overview of all the reasons that become a source of discomfort for an expecting mommy.
- Pelvic Pressure: Encountering extensive pain in the vaginal area is a common problem among expecting mothers. As the baby bump gets larger, the pelvic floor experiences more pressure and intense pain.
- Maybe It’s Constipation: Constipation is a sign of trouble for an expecting mom. Due to dehydration, the stool becomes harder and cannot pass through the digestive tract. The pregnant lady has to push harder, boosting pelvic pain.
- Urinary Tract Infection: UTIs are also a significant cause of PGP.
- Round Ligament Pain: As we know, ligaments and muscles stretch during pregnancy. The round ligament, connecting the front of the uterus and the groin, stretches a lot during pregnancy. The tired mom struggles with sharp pain and severe stretching while moving. The pain becomes severe while walking and rolling over in bed. The round ligament can be quite unbearable but usually subsides by 24 weeks.
- Braxton-Hicks Contractions: A woman’s body has its ways of preparing for labour. Braxton – Hicks contractions are more of a practice run for a pregnant woman. These contractions can be a bit overwhelming since they feel similar to labour contractions but are limited to the front of the body.
Braxton Hicks contractions began at approximately 20 weeks into the pregnancy. But you can put them to rest by changing positions or lying down. A full bladder and dehydration are some leading causes of triggering Braxton Hicks. Pregnant women are advised to drink around 1.6 Litres of water daily. Since Warm or Tepid water is hard to gulp, consider an insulated stainless Steel Flask, as this will be BPA-Free and stay cool for 24 Hours . Alternatively, if you love your tech, or often forget to keep on top of your fluid intake, consider purchasing a Smart Water Bottle that will give you a gentle reminder if you fall behind on your fluid targets!
- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is the most painful condition for a pregnant woman. Under this condition, the pubic bone, which is supposed to separate during childbirth, begins to separate prematurely. Some women feel a sharp pain in the pubic region, and others get a tearing sensation in the middle of the pelvis. The pain usually worsens while sitting on the floor or separating legs to roll over at night.
Why is Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy worse at night?
Many pregnant ladies state that pelvic pain worsens at night. Why?
It is primarily because the buttock muscles, designed to support and stabilize the pelvis, rest at night, making them inactive during sleeping hours. The soft ligaments further leave the pelvic bones and joints vulnerable, amplifying discomfort and pain for the mama, who simply wants to sleep peacefully!
How To Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
When a teeny-tiny fellow is kicking and bouncing inside your tummy, sleeping peacefully can be a bit challenging. The more that little creature moves, the more pressure the pelvic region receives.
But that doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your sleep throughout your pregnancy. Here are some quick tips to help you better at night and enjoy your beautiful journey as a pregnant mom.
Maintain The Right Sleeping Position
The sleeping position is significant for a pregnant woman. Experts recommend expecting moms to sleep on the left side with knees slightly bent. This posture will relieve pressure from the lower abdomen reducing pelvic pain during sleep.
Sleeping on the left side also benefits the tiny human inside the womb. Research shows that laying on your left side during pregnancy increases uterine blood flow. The improved blood flow further ensures your baby receives more nutrients while you nap. So, relax and stay on your left since it is also healthy for the mom and baby.
Get A Pregnancy Pillow
Positioning a pillow between your knees while sleeping is an excellent way of easing pelvic pain. If you are a side sleeper, U-Shaped Pillow will help to keep your hips and knees parallel. When the knees, hips, and back are aligned, the pain in your pelvic muscles will eventually subside as you doze off.
In short, the secret to better sleep is to get a pregnancy pillow that fits your posture and is lightweight.
Take A Warm Bath
A bath before going to bed sounds like a perfect thing, especially when you are heavily pregnant.
Prepare a nice warm bath for yourself and soak your body in it. The buoyancy of the water will help relieve the baby’s weight, and you will feel relaxed after a few minutes. Ensure the water is not boiling, as it may harm the little fellow in your tummy. Alternatively, Cold water baths have many Pregnancy related Benefits!
Practice Prenatal Yoga
Prenatal yoga is a healthy practice that you should adopt during pregnancy. It improves sleep quality, helps strengthen the pelvic muscles, and decreases lower back pain. The prenatal yoga techniques also help pregnant women manage shortness of breath, increase flexibility and allow them to maintain balance in various postures.
Considering all the various health benefits of prenatal yoga, it’s best to practice it throughout the nine months. Experts recommend practicing prenatal yoga five times daily for at least 30 minutes.
So, grab a good yoga mat with a maximum thickness of ½ inch and begin practicing prenatal yoga to stay comfortable during bedtime. This Yoga Starter Kit is perfect for pregnant women planning to enrol in yoga classes. It even comes in a convenient Backpack!
Wear A Pregnancy Belt
A pregnancy belt is designed to be worn beneath the abdomen. It supports the baby’s extra weight, reducing pressure on the pelvis and lower back. Make sure the maternity belt is breathable, stretchy, and lightweight.
You will find all these qualities in the Babygo 4 in 1 Pregnancy Belt. Besides being skin-friendly, it aids in posture correction by stabilizing the pelvis. The belt evenly distributes the baby’s weight over the abdomen, which reduces abdominal pressure. The strap also alleviates stress on the lower region and prevents stretch marks.
Most pregnant women start wearing the supportive belt 20 weeks into the pregnancy, but it depends on your personal needs and preferences. However, experts recommend wearing the belt for no more than two to three hours.
It’s Time For A Massage!
Like prenatal yoga, prenatal massage can work miracles on a pregnant body. Try to incorporate prenatal massage in your pregnancy journey. To alleviate the discomfort that hormonal effects on muscles and joints can cause during pregnancy, the American Pregnancy Association recommends receiving a Swedish massage. This type of massage can help relax muscle tension, making it an effective relief. It’s also great at reducing Pregnancy Related Stress.
Before receiving a pregnancy massage, it is advisable to consult your doctor to assist you in finding a licensed massage therapist who specializes in prenatal massage therapy.
Get Chiropractic Care
Pelvic pain and lower back pain are common during pregnancy due to the increased pressure and poor posture caused by the growing uterus and baby. You can consider alleviating the help of a chiropractor specializing in aligning the spinal column.
Chiropractors are trained to provide safe and effective treatment for pregnant women. Some chiropractors have also obtained additional certification in prenatal chiropractic care. You can also ask your OB/ GYN to recommend a good chiropractor with the appropriate credentials.
Is Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy Concerning?
It is essential that the pelvic discomfort you experience remains at a mild to moderate level and subsides or disappears when you rest. It is highly recommended that you seek immediate medical attention from your doctor or OB-GYN when you experience the following symptoms, along with pelvic pain.
- The round ligament pain gets worse,
- Severe dizziness and headache,
- Fever and chills,
- Swelling on the face, hands, and feet,
- Nausea and vomiting,
- Watery, greenish, or bloody discharge,
- More than four contractions in one hour,
- Feeling a burning sensation during urination.
As a general rule of thumb, you should be able To Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy. If you are actively prevented from getting good quality sleep, it’s time to call your Healthcare provider.
Will Pelvic Pain Persist After Childbirth?
Most women fully recover from pelvic pain after childbirth. However, the pain persists in 7% of cases and may appear in future pregnancies. If you fall into this category, it’s crucial to maintain your treatment and management techniques, and you should discuss this with your physiotherapist and healthcare provider. Treating pelvic girdle pain in its early stage will prevent the pain from worsening, and you might be able to avoid it in future pregnancies.
Tips On Relieving Pelvic Pain At Home
Apart from taking assistance from experts, you can also adopt certain practices to reduce the pain in your pelvis.
Try out the below-mentioned tips for reducing pelvic pain on your own:
- Use an ice or heat pack on the pubic bone.
- Consider Heat Therapy
- Avoid lifting heavy objects.
- Wear flat shoes.
- Avoid sitting or standing for long periods.
- Walk slowly.
- Avoid climbing steps.
- Take pain-relief medicine such as paracetamol to soothe the pain.
Pelvic pain is a common issue experienced by many pregnant women. While mild to moderate discomfort can be expected during pregnancy, it’s essential to pay attention to the severity and duration of the pain. Learning how To Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy will vary depending on the individual, but if you work through our list of tips, you are bound to find something that works for you!
Seeking medical attention from your doctor or OB-GYN is crucial if you have any concerns about your pelvic pain, as they can help diagnose and manage the underlying cause. With proper treatment and management, most cases of pelvic pain during pregnancy can be effectively addressed, allowing women to continue to enjoy a healthy and comfortable pregnancy.