Many women experience pelvic pain in early pregnancy. And this pain is often felt in the lowest part of the torso. You may feel some sharp pains or cramps (like menstrual cramps) between your hip bones in the area below your abdomen. It can be dull and constant, sudden or excruciating, or some combination. However, temporary pelvic pain is normal in early pregnancy as the bones and ligaments shift and stretch to accommodate the growing fetus.
But this pain can be caused by a disorder, which may give rise to symptoms like vaginal bleeding- sometimes this can be severe and lead to low blood pressure.
More so, pelvic pain is not the same as abdominal pain, which you feel in the upper part of your torso, in the area of the stomach and intestine. Abdominal pains are usually not caused by pregnancy.
Causes of Pelvic pain in early pregnancy
Pelvic pain in early pregnancy may be caused by some disorders that are related to:
- The female reproductive organ (gynecologic disorders)
- The pregnancy (obstetrics disorder)
- Other organic disorders, particularly urinary and digestive tract.
But sometimes, you can have pelvic pain without any disorder identified.
Common obstetric causes of pelvic pain:
- Natural physical changes and reactions of pregnancy
- A miscarriage that is likely to happen (threatened abortion)
- A miscarriage that is occurring or has occurred (spontaneous abortion)
If you have a miscarriage that is occurring or has occurred, two things may happen: It is either all the contents of the uterus- including the fetus and placenta – is released out (complete abortion) or only part of it is expelled (incomplete abortion).
Serious obstetric causes of pelvic pain:
- Rupture of a pregnancy located outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy) – pregnancy growing in the fallopian tube, for example.
When an ectopic pregnancy ruptures, you may feel symptoms like sharp pelvic pain or cramps, nausea, dizziness, vaginal bleeding. This can progress to internal bleeding if left untreated. Hence, if you notice such symptoms during pregnancy, it is advisable to seek medical help immediately.
You may also develop pelvic pains in early pregnancy when an ovary twists around the surrounding tissues and ligaments, cutting off the blood supply. This condition is called “Adnexal torsion,” and it is more common during pregnancy- the ovaries are more likely to twist as they enlarge.
Also, you may experience pelvic pain in early pregnancy as a result of some digestive and urinary tract disorder, which include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Gastroenteritis (viral infection of the digestive tract)
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Kidney stones
- Inflammation bowel disease
If you feel a sudden, severe pain in your lower abdomen, your doctor will try to evaluate the pain to know whether prompt surgery is needed- like cases of ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis.
Warning signs to consult a Doctor
The following signs are cause for concern if you feel pelvic pain in early pregnancy:
Fever and chills accompanied by vaginal discharge containing pus
Light-headedness, fainting, or a racing heart- a symptom that indicates a low blood pressure
Severe pain that interferes with your daily activities- such as walking up the stairs or getting into the bathtub, for example.
Tips to Reduce Pelvic Pain in Early Pregnancy
You can reduce the pelvic pains that are common during early pregnancy when you follow these tips:
Try using a “heat pad” on the sore area or take a warm bath.
Get a maternity support belt.
Avoid standing for too long, but if it is required, you can try pausing in between.
When climbing stairs, place one foot on the step and pull the other up to reach the same level.
Sit on a chair when you want to put on your socks or pants, and lean back properly to pull them up on each leg.
Take enough rest with your back well-supported.
Sleep on your sides and place a pregnancy pillow between your knees and ankles.
Do not push or carry heavy items- like a shopping cart.
You can try swimming, but ensure you avoid doing breaststrokes as it involves spreading your legs out.
Try kegel exercises.
You may feel temporary pelvic pains in early pregnancy as your bones and ligaments stretch to accommodate the fetus. But sometimes, this pain can be caused by some disorders or the pregnancy itself. But whenever you notice the common signs stated above during pregnancy-especially in the first trimester- ensure you consult your doctor for a proper evaluation to know if there is a need for surgical intervention.