Pregnancy is an amazing time, but can also be a challenge!! And you can certainly have some strange aches and pains you may have never experienced before!!! Here are the most common Pains in the Pelvic Region that some people may mistake as labour!
Let's dive into each of these a little bit!
This is a sharp pain, lasting from seconds to a minute or so, that feels like your baby is punching you in the Cervix….Well guess what? They probably are! Or kicking, or headbutting!
Most of the nerves (pain receptors) in our uterus are centred around the cervix, which is the part of our uterus that opens up during labour...but right now is hopefully closed and thick to keep your baby in!
Pressure on your cervix can be pretty uncomfortable, and can sometimes even take your breath away! Luckily it usually doesn’t last long. Shifting positions can sometimes help...but let’s be honest...your baby just has to stop doing whatever it is doing for that pain to decrease!
You know what i’m talking about...those purple, swollen veins on your legs, well you can get those in your labia and vulva as well! They often feel the same as well, sometimes a pressure feeling, sometimes itchy. It can be uncomfortable to sit down as well depending on how bad they are!
They happen because in some women as the uterus grows bigger, it slows down the blood flow from your lower body back to your heart and so the veins can get swollen.
Is this dangerous...usually not...but it can be very annoying!! And unlike leg varicose veins, these usually go away after you have had your baby and all that pressure goes away. They may come back sooner next pregnancy though!
Some women find compressions stockings very useful, but they would need to be the whole leg ones (think tights) if you have vulvar varicose veins. If you just have lower leg varicose veins you can get the knee highs.
There is also a product that some women swear by that helps with vulvar varicose veins.
There are ligaments that run from your hip bone to your pubic bone. As your uterus has a growth spurt, it can put pressure on these ligaments and it can be pretty uncomfortable. This can last for a week or two until your ligaments get used to the stretch. However as we know...that next growth spurt will come...and the pain might come back as your uterus reaches it’s next size!
Women often complain of pain when shifting positions, rolling over in bed or going from sitting to standing. The discomfort is relatively brief (a minute or so) and then it settles down.
Pregnancy support belts can be helpful for this, to get some of that pressure off of your ligaments!
As we previously stated, our uterus does not grow steadily, rather it grows in fits and spurts. As a result some women experience some mild cramping or stretching sensations during these little growth spurts.
The pains are NOT consistent or regular. They can be a dull ache, or a mild cramp as your uterus is growing. If you are experiencing regular cramping then you should discuss this with your care provider!
These are essentially your uterus practicing for the Big Event!! These can start pretty early as well, in some women 25-28 weeks!
Not every women experiences these, and they can be different from one pregnancy to another. They are tightenings which should not be painful. They can cause you to catch your breath, but not crampy. You can often feel your uterus get firm and then relax afterwards.
They happen more often when you are active, and when you rest, they tend to settle down. If this is the pattern that yours have, then you can be reassured.
If they are feeling more painful or crampy, or happening with regularity, or not settling when you sit/lie down to rest, then you need to talk to your care provider to make sure they are not signs of preterm labour.
Progesterone, which is a hormone released in high levels throughout pregnancy, causes smooth muscles to relax. Smooth muscles can be found in many places, but one of the troublesome ones in pregnancy is your intestines.
This relaxation can lead to your bowels slowing down and leading to increased gas, heartburn and constipation!
We can help speed the bowels up with drinking lots of water and getting movement! Going out for a 30 min walk daily can help this! If you are dealing with constipation then adding on a stool softener such as PEG (Restoralax or Laxaday)can improve your regularity!
So if you are experiencing any or all of these and thinking….if this is so uncomfortable...how am I going to manage labour?? Well you can do it!! Make sure to check out our free birthplan template in the notes below to discuss with your partner and care provider your hopes and dreams for your Delivery!