Causes of pelvic pressure in pregnancy?

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Pelvic pressure during pregnancy is caused by the enlargement of the uterus and stretching of pelvic ligaments. It can lead to pain, nerve compression, and decreased circulation. Treatment options include exercise, good posture, and hot/cold packs.

Pregnant women commonly experience pelvic pressure and the main cause is the enlargement of the uterus. As the fetus gets bigger, so does the uterus, putting pressure on surrounding structures. The second leading cause of pelvic pressure in pregnancy is stretching of the various pelvic ligaments that suspend the female reproductive organs and hold the pelvic bones together. Other causes of pelvic pain include nerve compression and decreased circulation.

A gravid or pregnant uterus reaches the level of the pubic bone by the 12th week of gestation. By the 20th week it reaches the navel and by the 36th week it reaches the lowest portion of the sternal bone. As a result of fetal and uterine growth, the greatest degree of pelvic pressure occurs during the third trimester. Other consequences include nerve compression and decreased lymphatic and blood circulation to the lower limbs.

Another major cause of pelvic pressure in pregnancy is the softening and stretching of the ligaments. The ligaments connect the symphysis pubis – the joint between the pubic bones – as well as the left and right sacroiliac joints. To accommodate the baby’s growth, the mother’s ligaments become more lax. One factor causing this is the hormone relaxin, which also produces effects such as collagen remodeling and increased elasticity of the pelvic muscles, tendons, and surrounding tissue. A condition called pelvic girdle pain, also called pelvic joint syndrome, posterior pelvic pain, symphysis pubis dysfunction, or physiological relaxation of the pelvic girdle, is rooted in ligamentous laxity and joint instability in pregnancy.

It is important to address pelvic pressure during pregnancy as it can significantly affect a woman’s life. For example, a pregnant woman may need to take 7 to 12 weeks of sick leave due to pelvic girdle pain. Pelvic pressure can also lead to higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. There are treatments to relieve the symptoms.

Stretching exercises of the abdominal and back muscles, swimming and walking can help relieve pressure and pain. A woman should also try to maintain good posture. Some women benefit from applying hot and cold packs to pressure areas. If the problem is not relieved by these interventions, the pregnant woman should speak to her doctor about her.

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