Struggling on how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy? Learn how to alleviate pelvic pain and make your pregnancy journey more comfortable with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP), or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).
Most women go through a lot of bodily (and habitual) changes when they’re pregnant. After all, the woman’s body has to shift, alter, and undergo a lot throughout pregnancy in order to create and maintain human life. Pelvic discomfort is one of the more unpleasant physical feelings an expectant mother may experience during her pregnancy. Experiencing pelvic pain while pregnant is usual, and it gets quite challenging for some mothers-to-be. Although unknown to many, learning how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy isn’t rocket science, it just takes a little reading. This article is all a mother-to-be needs to know about sleeping with pelvic pain during pregnancy.
What is Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy or Pegnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?
Pelvic pain, pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP), or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is pain felt by a pregnant woman in and around her pelvis. The pelvis or the groin, is the lower half of the body that includes the lower stomach and extends down to the upper thighs, where the abdomen finishes and the legs begin. This area provides support for the intestines and also contains the bladder and reproductive organs.
This part of a woman’s body plays an important role in facilitating the growth of a baby by supporting its weight and physically expanding to accommodate the baby’s passage through the birth canal, so it isn’t hard to imagine that the pelvis goes through the most changes during pregnancy. Due to these changes, pregnant women often experience unique and uncomfortable sensations in their pelvic region, caused by the stretching of muscles, ligaments, and skin.
Types of Pain
- Round ligament pain: This pain is felt mostly in the groin, where the stomach and legs meet, but it can sometimes shoot down the inside of one’s thigh.
- Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD): The pubic symphysis is where the two sides of the pelvis connect in front, exactly under the pubic hair. The joint moves too much when its ligaments relax, causing mild to severe pain.
- Sacroiliac joint pain: The sacrum—the final five vertebrae of the spine—is connected to the pelvis’ “wings” via ligaments in the sacroiliac joints. When these ligaments relax too much, the bones in this area move, exerting pressure on adjacent nerves and muscles. One pelvis side may hurt more with sacroiliac joint pain. The legs and thighs may hurt, and a pregnant woman may have severe low back pain and pelvic instability.
- Diastasis Symphysis Pubis (DSP): Too much pubic symphysis gap causes this problem. The joint widens 2–3 millimeters throughout pregnancy to enable the baby to pass through the pelvis. Some women’s pubic symphysis expands and becomes unstable.
Top 5 Reasons for the Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Griddle Pain(PGP)
There are many things that can cause pelvic pain and discomfort during pregnancy, from loose pelvic joints to pressure from the growing baby’s weight. Here are the 5 most common reasons why pregnant women have pain in their pelvis:
- Accommodation : This cramp-like pelvic pain occurs 8–12 weeks during pregnancy and can feel like menstruation. If there’s no bleeding, it’s likely her uterus enlarging. Experts suggest first-time mothers are less likely to feel this than later mothers.
- Urinary Tract Infections: Pregnancy increases the chances of UTIs. A pregnant woman may have pelvic discomfort, burning while urinating, and murky or bloody urine. If a pregnant woman suspects a UTI, she should visit a doctor quickly to avoid harming herself and her child.
- Braxton hicks contractions: These false contractions are normally painless and feel like pelvic pressure or tightness. Dehydration may cause Braxton Hicks in the second or third trimester, so a pregnant mother is advised to stay hydrated. They should go away, but if an expecting mother has more than four contractions an hour for two hours, she should contact her doctor—she may be in labor.
- Diastasis recti: Diastasis recti is quite frequent during and after pregnancy and might mimic SPD-related pelvic discomfort. When a pregnant woman’s rectus abdominis muscles (the ones which give people six-pack abs) split, it may cause a tummy bulge (particularly evident postpartum).
- Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD): The symphysis pubis may become unstable during pregnancy, producing pelvic bone discomfort. It may start early in pregnancy and worsen later. SPD—also called pelvic girdle pain—occurs when estrogen, progesterone, and relaxin increase during pregnancy.
Is Pelvic Pain Bad During Pregnancy?
Pelvic pain during pregnancy may be caused by Braxton-Hicks contractions or it might just be the body adapting to the new life developing within. It might also be early labor, an infection, or an ovarian cyst. A pregnant lady should see her doctor to figure out what might be causing it and get treated if needed. Thus, she protects herself and her child.
Why is My Pelvic Pain or Why is Spd Worse at Night During Pregnancy?
A lot of expecting mothers feel pelvic pain a little more at night. It’s sometimes because the muscles supporting the pelvis are not active during the night-time as they are in a resting position. This can also be experienced by a mother-to-be if her growing uterus puts more pressure on her pelvis, or if her hormones cause her ligaments to loosen.
How to Relieve Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Pregnant women experiencing pelvic pain should do whatever they can to ease the pain, although, not every method works for everyone.
A pregnancy pillow placed between the legs at bedtime might ease discomfort in the pelvic area, the pressure points that develop between the legs, behind the back, and beneath the abdomen. One of the advantages of using a pregnancy pillow is that it can be molded to support your body in just the right places to relieve pressure and discomfort. Perfect for relieving pelvic pain.
Doing some light to moderate exercises like prenatal yoga, walking, and kegels can strengthen the core and abdominal muscles. Women should avoid squatting and leg-spreading exercises during pregnancy since they might make hip discomfort worse.
Here are some other ways women can reduce the pelvic pain that comes with pregnancy:
- Wearing comfy and supportive shoes
- Making use of pelvic support belts
- Getting enough rest
- Practicing good posture
How To sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy While Sleeping
Use Pregnancy Pillows
Full-body or wedge-shaped pregnancy pillows can help with pelvic pain. To determine her most comfortable pillow position, a pregnant lady should explore. She can support the pelvis and relieve the strain with the pregnant cushion between the legs, under the belly, or behind the back.
Try Different Sleeping Positions
Sleeping on one’s left side during pregnancy promotes infant circulation. Pregnant women with pelvic pain should try alternate side sleeping positions. Pregnant ladies should also support their knees with a pillow. A cushion beneath the chest helps some ladies.
Use a Firm Mattress
A firm mattress helps distribute weight and reduce pelvic discomfort. If a mattress is excessively soft for an expecting mother, she could try a mattress topper or a board between the mattress and box spring.
Best Way to Sleep with Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
It’s most comfy and best for the baby if the pregnant mother sleeps on her side, preferably on the left. Sleeping like that improves blood circulation to the baby and reduces blood pressure. For more support and alignment of the pelvis, it’s better for pregnant women to bend their knees a little bit and put a pregnancy pillow between their legs.
What Positions Relieve Pelvic Pressure During Pregnancy?
There’s a couple of recommended postures for pregnant women to relieve their pelvic pain while sleeping, sitting, or standing. Sitting down puts an awful load of stress on a pregnant woman’s pelvis. Propping their feet up while sitting and bringing their knees into alignment with their hips actually takes a lot of weight off their pelvis, making them a lot more comfortable in the process.
Doing some exercises in water works a great deal to reduce pelvic pain as it helps support the belly, taking the pressure away from the pelvis. The exercises improve general fitness, strengthen muscles, avoid back pain, and give relaxation.
Kegel exercises are one of the best exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles which can also help reduce pelvic pain. Anyone can do kegels, but they’re really beneficial for women with babies growing inside them, particularly those with pelvic pain.
Other positions like kneeling on all fours, pelvic tilts, and leaning forward while sitting or standing also help relieve pelvic pressure.
There are many positions, medications, and strategies that pregnant women can employ to relieve their pelvic pain. However, they should always make sure to check with their doctors or a healthcare provider for professional insight into whatever is causing the pelvic pain and also specific treatments or recommendations based on their personal circumstances.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Can pelvic pain harm my baby?
A: No. Pelvic pain may be rather uncomfortable, but rest assured that it poses no risk to your unborn child.
Q: Is normal delivery possible with pelvic pain?
A: Most women experiencing pelvic pain during pregnancy can still give birth vaginally.
Q: Can sitting too long cause pelvic pain?
A: Pregnant womens’ core and the elements of their body that make up that region, such as the pelvic muscles, might be harmed if they sit with bad posture or for too long.