As the end of the pregnancy approaches, pelvic pain is often a signal of the start of labor. Labor pelvic pain is associated with pressure on the pelvis or the feeling that baby is getting heavier. This pressure is common and translates to the fetus moving down in the uterus (dropping). Added pressure on the cervix may help to loosen the cervical plug and break the amniotic sac. No matter how normal this process may be pelvic pain and pressure during pregnancy can be stressful and scary.
Looking Back a Month or Two – The Start of Pelvic Pain
Labor based pelvic pain starts well before baby is ready to meet the parents. Progesterone is released soon after conception. Among other important roles in the body, progesterone loosens the connective tissues that would otherwise keep the pregnant body from moving and adjusting to the growing abdomen. There are ligaments in the pelvis that loosen at this time which may cause early onset pelvic pain for some women. This pelvic pain may feel more like cramping or aches in the sides of the abdomen and it not typically associated with pressure.
After the body adjusts to progesterone levels, those first symptoms of pregnancy tend to fade, but the growing fetus will put pressure on the pelvis causing aches throughout pregnancy. Anytime a pregnant woman feels pain the pelvic area during pregnancy, she should talk with her physician about the nature of the pain, severity and other symptoms that occurred at the time of the pain.
When Is Early Pelvic Pain a Concern?
If the pressure and pelvic pain associated with labor is felt before it is time to welcome baby, there could be a cause for concern. This is especially true if there is spotting or leaking fluid from the vagina. These are signs of preterm labor. Preterm labor is associated with genetics, fetal size and multiple fetuses among other conditions; all of which need to be discussed with your obstetrician.
Pregnancy is beautiful and stressful at the same time; almost bitter sweet as the pregnancy nears the end. Understanding the common symptoms of pregnancy and symptoms of preterm labor like pelvic pain and pressure, can help give the expecting woman a bit of relief about what is happening in her body and how she should react. One thing is for certain, pregnant women should never feel silly asking questions about their changing body during pregnancy.