Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy
Hip Pain, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction & Other Types

Pain in hips


Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy


Early Pregnancy Pelvic Pain
What Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)?
What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?
What Are The Symptoms of SPD?
How Are SPD And DSP Treated?
Does SPD or DSP Affect Childbirth?

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List Of Pregnancy Symptoms

Early Pregnancy Pelvic Pain

Many pregnant women experience some pain in the pelvic hip area during pregnancy. Discomfort in the pelvic region can start as early as the first trimester of pregnancy (although more commonly by week 10 onwards) and is caused by the pregnancy hormones progesterone and relaxin. The hormones soften the ligaments of the body, allowing more flexibility than before in order to give the baby plenty of room to slip through at birth. Most OB/GYNs and midwives agree that there is very little that can be done to alleviate symptoms of pelvic pain, although they may recommend a chiropractic treatment or osteopathic manipulation. Also you may find it helpful to sleep with a pillow between your knees and to apply heat to the affected areas. Additionally, a prenatal belt, worn around the hips will help to stabilize the hip muscles and bones. The good news at least, is that your body is naturally preparing for birth, which means your pregnancy is progressing normally.

Note: Many women also experience back pain while pregnant for the same reasons.

What Is Pelvic Congestion Syndrome (PCS)?

A certain amount of pregnant women may develop pelvic congestion syndrome (PCS). This condition is associated with a constant dull ache in the pelvic region and the vulva may feel swollen and sore to touch. The pain is usually worse after prolonged standing, at the end of the day or just after intercourse. It is thought that the syndrome is associated with pregnancy varicose veins, which commonly appear on the legs in pregnant women, but in this instance, develop around the genital area (and are known as hemorrhoids if they develop in the rectum area - see pregnancy hemorrhoids). The symptoms of PCS are also associated with uterine fibroids and endometriosis, so diagnosis is not always straight forward. Check with your doctor for diagnosis and possible treatment options (usually after delivery and childbirth). The tips for minimizing the risk of developing varicose veins in the legs, will also help you minimize the risk of developing Pelvic Congestion Syndrome.

What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?

Although, pelvic pain is one of the common pregnancy symptoms - any severe or prolonged sharp pain may be an indication of something more serious. Typically about 2 percent of pregnant women will develop SPD. This occurs when the ligaments of the pelvic bone relax too much before birth causing the bones to separate more than necessary.

What Are The Symptoms of SPD?

Wrenching pain, as though your pelvis is coming apart. Typically the pain is limited to the pelvic area, but some women report pain radiating to the upper thighs and perineum. Pain usually worsens when walking or climbing stairs. Sufferers sometimes report a clicking noise or sensation in the pelvic region. Hips become stiff and simple chores like getting in and out of bed become difficult. In very rare cases the joint becomes widely distended in a condition known as Diastasis Symphysis Pubis (DSP). Also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain, Pelvic Joint Syndrome, Pubic Symphysis Separation and Pubic Shear (osteopathic term). This condition can cause even more serious pain in the pelvis, hips, groin and buttocks area.

How Can SPD or DSP Be Treated?

There is no 'cure' as such for these conditions. Instead they require management until birth and gradually (usually within 3 months after labor), the pelvic area returns to normal. Your doctor may recommend the following actions:

1. Minimize any activity that involves lifting or requires you to separate your legs (including walking).
2. Wear a pelvic support belt, these 'corsets' help keep the bones of the back in place.
3. Swimming is good for pain relief, but avoid the breast-stroke.
4. Kegels exercise and pelvic tilts help to strengthen the muscles. What are pelvic floor exercises?
5. Alternative therapies such as chiropractic treatments or osteopathic manipulation, along with acupuncture, massage and aromatherapy.

Will SPD or DSP Affect My Labor?

In very rare cases a vaginal delivery will not be possible and your doctor may recommend a C-Section delivery. However, in most cases, the condition just means extra care needs to be taken during labor to prevent trauma. Before your pregnancy due date, ask your partner to measure how far apart you can separate your knees without pain. Make a note of this and give it to your consultant or midwife. If you are receiving an epidural pain relief your doctor will need to ensure that your legs do not fall further apart than this measurement (the anesthesia will have dulled your response to pain). Your birth partner should also be made aware of the measurements and requirements. Knowing what to expect is important, so do read a guide to childbirth well before your time to enter hospital arrives.


For more on symptoms to expect while pregnant, see the following:

Constipation in Pregnancy - Causes and treatment and dietary advice.
Metallic Taste in Mouth - Advice on which foods to eat to reduce side effects.
Pregnancy Cramps - Pre term labor cramps and false cramps.

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