Growing a human is a lot of work and puts a huge demand on your body. While you may experience pelvic and ligament pain during your first pregnancy, as you have more children, that pain is sure to increase and intensify with each pregnancy you have.
I am no stranger to this pain and in fact it is the toughest thing I have dealt with during my past 3 pregnancies. With my first, I experienced intense pelvic pain and pressure when I was about 37 weeks. I didn’t think much of it since I was so close to delivering but with my second pregnancy I started feeling that dreaded yet familiar pain around 26 weeks.
Now that I am in my third pregnancy, the pain has greeted me much sooner and I felt my first pelvic pain symptoms at about 20 weeks! While the pain may manifest itself differently, for me I feel a combination of needle sharp pains in my lower crotch area (actually referred to as ‘lightning crotch pain’) or I feel tight pulls and pains in my lower abdomen (round ligament pain).
There are several causes of this pain as well as several types of pelvic pain you may experience in your pregnancy and while the only real way to completely alleviate this pain is to deliver your baby, there are some tricks and tips I have discovered that help lessen the pain at times.
But first, lets look at the different types of pain you may experience and why:
Round Ligament Pain
You have several ligaments that support your growing uterus and one of these is called the round ligament. It connects the front of your uterus to where your legs connect to your pelvis. When you strain, move quickly, roll over in bed, cough, or sneeze, you may feel this pain in your lower abdomen or on the right or left side. For more info click here.
Pelvic Girdle Pain
The Pelvic Girdle is a ring of bones around your body at the base of your spine. There are three joints in your pelvis that move slightly but during pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin which softens the pelvic ligaments to help your baby pass through during delivery. This can cause your joints to move more and become unevenly which can cause your pelvic girdle to become unstable and causes pain. For more info click here.
Lightning Crotch Pain
Typically, this sharp lightning type pain in your crotch area happens as you are closer to delivering your baby. However in some women (like me) you can experience it anytime during your second and third trimesters. Why you ask? It is thought to be caused by the pressure of your baby’s head on your cervix or just pressure on the nerve endings around your pelvis. For more info click here.
What you can do to help with pelvic and ligament pain in pregnancy:
Wear a Maternity Support Belt
Having some support for your growing belly can really help alleviate some round ligament or other pelvic pain. I only wear my support belt when I know I’m going to be on my feet for an extended time or while exercising since it can be hot to wear while pregnant in summer, but it has been a huge help to me, especially in my 3rd trimesters.
Get an Exercise Ball to Sit On
While these are highly recommended for laboring with if you’re opting for a natural birth, using one while pregnant can be a huge lifesaver. I just got one of these and am sad I didn’t have one with my previous pregnancies. Just sitting on the exercise ball takes so much pressure off your pelvic region and you will feel almost immediate relief. Instead of sitting on the couch at night, I’ve been sitting on this ball instead and it has helped my discomfort so much. Just make sure to get the right size for your height. You want your legs to be a 90 degree angle when sitting.
Take Digestive Enzymes on an Empty Stomach
This one may seem a bit unorthodox but there is a lot of research in sports medicine that taking digestive enzymes on an empty stomach (not for the food support aspect), can help support connective tissue like ligaments and muscles. Not only is supporting connective tissues important while growing another human, but if there is even a small chance that it can help my stretching and growing ligaments in pregnancy, I am all for that. My favorite ones are from doTERRA, called Terrazyme since they are all natural. I’ve been taking 3 a day in the morning on an empty stomach before breakfast and so far I do feel like my round ligament pains have been decreased.
Get a Prenatal Massage
This is a great idea for any pregnant lady, ligament/pelvic pain or not. But if you can find a spa that offers prenatal massages where you can lay on your stomach with the help of a special table or pillow where your belly lays in, it is pure heaven! Being able to lay on my stomach and get my lower back and hips massaged has helped tremendously. You could also consider getting a special inflatable pillow that allows you to lay belly down at home to help take pressure off.
Use a Supportive Pregnancy or Body Pillow
Having good support between your legs at night is key to help keep your hips and pelvis supported. One of the most painful things for me at night is switching from side to side. Keeping your legs/knees tightly together while flipping over will help minimize the discomfort while sleeping too. Since I don’t like the huge ‘U’ shaped pregnancy pillows, my favorite is the Boppy pregnancy pillow.
Hopefully some of these ideas help give you some relieve soon, but honestly, the only thing that will fully alleviate all of your discomfort is to deliver your baby. But as a mom who has experienced this 3 times now, once you hold that little babe in your arms, all of that pain suddenly feels like a distant memory and it is totally worth it!