Pregnancy Problems And Pelvic Pain
While it is common for women to experience some abdominal or pelvic discomfort during pregnancy, persistent pain should not be ignored. Pelvic/abdominal pain can be a symptom of other problems and can indicate either a problem with the pregnancy or an unrelated condition.
What is Pelvic Pain?
The pelvis refers to the area below the bellybutton and between the hips. Rather than feeling pain in one specific spot, pelvic pain is often felt in the entire area. The pain can be mild or severe, and women may experience cramping and/or bloating. Depending on the cause, pelvic pain during pregnancy may be accompanied with discomfort while urinating, bleeding, spotting, vaginal discharge
Common Causes of Pelvic and Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy
Miscarriage: The first sign of a lost pregnancy (miscarriage) is vaginal bleeding or spotting, which is quickly followed by pelvic/abdominal pain. The discomfort can feel like pelvic pressure, lower back pain, or cramping; the pain can range from mild to sharp and severe. Women who experience any of these symptoms during pregnancy should seek medical attention immediately.
Premature Labor: Women who begin to have contractions that dilate the cervix before 37 weeks of pregnancy are said to be in premature or preterm labor. Some of the accompanying symptoms include vaginal bleeding or spotting, pelvic pressure, abdominal pain or cramping (with more than four contractions per hour), lower back pain, and an increase or change in vaginal discharge.
Ectopic Pregnancy: In an ectopic pregnancy a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, i.e. in one of the fallopian tubes. If left undetected and untreated, an ectopic pregnancies rupture and be fatal for mother and child. Symptoms of an ecotpic pregnancy include pelvic or abdominal pain or tenderness, spotting or bleeding (sometimes heavily), pain when coughing or using the bathroom, dizziness, fainting, and more.
Urinary Tract Infections: Pregnant women are particularly prone to contraction urinary tract infections (UTIs), including infections of the kidneys. Bladder infection symptoms include burning, discomfort or a painful sensation while peeing, pelvic pain/discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen, strong and frequent urge to urinate even when there is minimal urine in the bladder, blood in the urine, and foul-smelling urine. Fortunately, UTIs are easily treated with antibiotics. However if left untreated, infection can spread to the kidneys, causing much more severe symptoms, and can ultimately cause premature labor.
In addition, symptoms of both placental abruption (a serious condition caused by the separation of the placenta from the uterus before the baby is born) and preeclampsia (another complex disorder of pregnancy involving changes in blood vessels that can affect a number of organs and the placenta) often include pelvic pain/cramping, back pain, or abdominal tenderness and pain.