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Pelvic Pressure

Are you feeling discomfort and cramping in your lower abdomen? Does it feel similar to menstrual cramps? This pregnancy symptom may have you on the phone calling your obstetrician for reassurance, but more times than not, there's no need to be alarmed. What you're feeling is known as "pelvic pressure" and it's quite normal.

Some women feel this pressure from early in their pregnancy right up until the day they deliver, while others are not bothered by it at all. There are two reasons you may be feeling this pressure: your expanding uterus is putting pressure on your pelvis, and your ligaments are stretching. As your uterus expands, it pushes down on your pelvis and as your baby grows throughout your pregnancy, he or she will move deeper into your pelvis in anticipation of birth. In addition, as your uterus expands to provide more room for your growing baby, the ligaments that support your uterus must stretch. This can cause sharp, almost stabbing pains on the side of your pelvis that can extend all the way down to your thighs. Your sciatic nerve may also be crowded by the ligaments, causing a painful or numb feeling in this area.

There are some things you can do about this pressure. The first is an exercise to minimize the pain and pressure. Standing barefoot or on a surface to secure your balance, hold onto a countertop, bend your knee and lift the foot on the side of the pelvic pain off the floor about 2 inches in front of you and hold it for 10 seconds. Repeat 10 times then reverse to the other foot.

You can relieve some of the discomfort by moving very slowly as you change positions from sitting to lying down. Rolling up and down to and from these positions will take some of the strain off sore muscles. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends for pelvic pressure in terms of exercise and whether or not you should participate in it.

Although these pains are usually due to the stretching and expanding of your body and are completely normal, severe and prolonged pain can be a sign of a serious problem. If your pelvic pressure is intense, notify your doctor immediately.


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