If your pelvis is aching, you're not alone. As many as 80 percent of pregnant women experience pelvic pain at some point, mostly in that final trimester when stress on the pelvic region is especially intense. It’s even more noticeable once lightening occurs (when your baby drops into the pelvic area in preparation for labor about two to four weeks before delivery — though many women won't experience it until they're in their first phases of labor). However it can hit at almost any point in the pregnancy, and its impact can range from minor ache (a few twinges, or a general feeling of heaviness and stress in the pelvic region) to debilitating (a searing sensation that wraps around your back and snakes down below your burgeoning belly). Pinpointing just what it is (or, rather, what it isn't) is tough because it's such a wide-ranging problem.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Your increasingly heavy baby is burrowing deeper into your pelvis in preparation for birth, and that little (or not-so-little) head is now pressing (hard) against your bladder, hips, and pelvis — putting ever-increasing stress on the bones, joints and muscles in your pelvis and back. On the bright side, once the baby "drops," your uterus will stop pressing up against your diaphragm and lungs, which will let you (finally) take bigger and deeper breaths.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
You can pelvic pain from symphysis pubic dysfunction in that the discomfort is more generalized and isn't necessarily caused by the loosening of ligaments. And it’s not like sciatica in that the pain isn’t caused by pressure on your sciatic nerve, which means it’s more localized to your pelvic area (it doesn’t shoot down your legs).
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Ever notice when you are lying on your side that your top hip isn’t even with your bottom hip? Your legs are usually centered beneath you, but when you lie on your side, your top leg moves down with the force of gravity to rest on the bed’s surface, creating torsion in your pelvis and extra tension in your low back. If you are pregnant, it already exacts a huge toll on your pelvic bowl - the weight of the baby rests there and the three separate bones that create the pelvis become hypermobile and can painfully move out of alignment. 80% of pregnant women report low back pain at some time during their pregnancy, so your back needs all the support it can get. To return your legs to alignment (and hips, and back), straighten your bottom leg, then bend your top leg and add a large pillow beneath it. The mass of the pillow ought to allow your top hip, knee and foot to sit at the same height, and ideally, the pillow will be pretty much the length of your leg. There are large specialty pregnancy pillows you can buy, or in a pinch, try a very firm king-sized bed pillow. Either way, this is going to release low back tension and keep you centered.
View the complete range of pregnancy massages HERE
Anice Lombard, Massage Mama. Mama of 2 and Massage Therapist