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Home > Learn > Pregnancy > >How to Relieve Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: Treatment and Management Options

How to Relieve Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: Treatment and Management Options

Sep 22, 23 5 min

By Dr. Kenosha Gleaton, OBGYN

Whether you’re experiencing morning sickness, round ligament pain, pelvic pain, or another uncomfortable symptom of pregnancy, it’s important to be aware of safe treatment and management options. Keep reading to learn more about treating pelvic pain during pregnancy. 

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Pelvic pain refers to any discomfort felt in or around the pelvic bone, joint, and surrounding area. Pelvic pain can be a result of underlying conditions such as osteoarthritis and pelvic inflammatory disease, an injury, hormone-related, or other circumstances. [1-3] One common condition related to pregnancy and pelvic pain is symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). SPD is a result of the pubic symphysis joint allowing more movement than usual due to the hormone relaxin being released during pregnancy. [1-2] Relaxin is a powerful hormone that is useful for childbirth but can lead to pain or discomfort during pregnancy when the ligaments loosen and joints become extremely flexible. Another condition involving the pubic symphysis joint is pubic symphysis diastasis or pelvis diastasis. [2] With this condition, the joint separates completely as a result of pressure during childbirth, extreme force during delivery, cutting of the joint during delivery, or other causes. Pelvic diastasis is far more rare than SPD, reported to be within 1 in 300 to 1 in 3,000 deliveries. [2,4] 

How Is The Cause of Pelvic Pain Diagnosed?

In order to diagnose the cause of pelvic pain, your healthcare provider will likely run a few different tests, exams, and labs to understand the bigger picture. Taking a medical history is often the first step in order to better understand any previous or recent injuries, medications you’re taking, family history, and so on. [1-4] A physical exam may also help identify any sore, tender, swollen, or painful areas in your pelvic region. Imaging tests such as an ultrasound or CT scan can give your healthcare provider a better look at the area internally. Some laboratory tests using a urine or blood sample can also identify potential infections, blood cell count, and more.  [1-4] Learn more about the causes and symptoms of pelvic pain during pregnancy 

Treating Pelvic Pain 

In many cases, pelvic pain is treatable or manageable with the help of certain medications, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, and more. Most people experiencing SPD will notice that their pain resolves a few weeks to a few months after giving birth. [2] This is because the body stops producing relaxin during the postpartum period, causing the ligaments and joints to return to their pre-pregnancy state. 

As always, we recommend speaking to your healthcare provider about pinpointing what the cause of pain is and what treatment options are safe and available. 

Medications

Depending on the cause, certain medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), antibiotics, and others may be helpful for managing pelvic pain. [2-3] NSAIDs like ibuprofen are sometimes useful for relieving pain and inflammation in the body, which may be helpful for treating SPD and other underlying inflammatory conditions. Antibiotics may be useful if someone is experiencing pelvic pain as a result of an STI or PID. 

Exercises

Appropriate movement may also improve or help you manage pelvic pain. Speak to your healthcare provider or a professional such as a physical therapist about adopting various stretches or exercises to support your pelvic floor muscles and stability. [2] Try to avoid overstretching the area while supporting healthy movement of the joint and surrounding muscles and ligaments. 

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Clothing 

Some have found that different clothing options may help to relieve some pelvic pain and increase comfort. Opt for comfortable shoes when you have to be on your feet, and consider wearing a pelvic support band or a pregnancy belt. A belt or support band, with an additional pubic bone support strap, can help to relieve some of the pressure weighing on your pelvis. [2] You may also want to avoid tight or heavy clothing and opt for lightweight options. 

Other Home Remedies

In addition to taking medication, trying various exercises, and making comfortable clothing choices, you may also find support in other home remedies and lifestyle changes. One option when lying down or going to sleep is to put a pillow between your legs. [2] This can reduce hip movement while keeping your spine in a straight position. Some also find that using an ice pack on the pelvic area can help manage pain. [2] 

If you are interested in more ways to manage your pain, you may want to speak to a provider about other options such as seeing a masseuse, chiropractor, or acupuncturist. [2] 

Treating Pelvic Diastasis

Treatments will differ if someone has been diagnosed with pubic symphysis diastasis or pelvic diastasis. In this case, someone may undergo non-operative treatment using a pelvic binder coupled with physical therapy and other methods. [4] In some cases, surgical treatment may be required in order to remedy the separation of the joint. [4] 

Can Pelvic Pain Be Prevented?

In general it can be very difficult to prevent any pelvic pain from occurring. This is because there are numerous causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy. Conditions such as SPD can’t be prevented, but you can take additional precautions to prevent injury or further stress on the pelvic joint. [2] Be sure to stick to pregnancy-safe movements and exercises, wear comfortable shoes, avoid overexerting yourself, and consider wearing a pregnancy belt. Aside from SPD, pelvic pain may be caused by infections or underlying conditions. Make sure you speak to your provider about lab or imaging tests if you have concerns. 

Postpartum and Pregnancy Care From Natalist

If you are pregnant and concerned about any uncomfortable symptoms, your first step should be to speak with your healthcare provider. In addition to following your provider’s recommendations, you may be able to support bone health and a healthy pregnancy overall with products like Natalist Magnesium Plus, formulated with vitamin D and calcium to support bone health, ease tension, and relaxation, Vitamin D3 Gummies, or Prenatal Daily Packets to support pregnancy nutrition. 


References:

  1. Pelvic pain in pregnancy. National Health Service. December 2022. URL
  2. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. Cleveland Clinic. November 2021. URL
  3. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Mayo Clinic. April 2022. URL
  4. Seidman AJ, Siccardi MA. Postpartum Pubic Symphysis Diastasis. [Updated 2023 July 17]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2023 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK537043/

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