Pelvic pain in pregnancy

Early in pregnancy, many women experience pelvic pain. Pelvic pain refers to pain in the lowest part of the torso, i.e. the area below the abdomen and between the hipbones (pelvis). The pain may be sharp or crampy like menstrual cramps and may come and go. It may be sudden and excruciating, dull and constant, or a combination of all. Usually, temporary pelvic pain is not a cause for concern because it can occur normally as the bones and ligaments shift and stretch to accommodate the foetus.


If caused by a disorder, pelvic pain may be accompanied by other symptoms like vaginal bleeding, in some disorders such bleeding can be severe, sometimes leading to dangerously low blood pressure.


Pelvic pain differs from abdominal pain, which occurs higher in the torso, in the area of the stomach and intestine. However, sometimes women have trouble discerning whether the pain is mainly in the abdomen or pelvis. Abdominal pain during pregnancy are usually not related to the pregnancy.


During early pregnancy pelvic pain may result from disorders that are related to

•The Pregnancy (obstetric disorders)

• Female reproductive system (gynecologic disorders) but not the pregnancy

• Other organs, particularly the digestive tract and urinary tract

Pelvic pain may also occur when an ovary twists around the ligaments and the tissues that support it, cutting off the ovary’s blood supply. This disorder is called adnexal torsion, though not related to the pregnancy but more common during pregnancy. During pregnancy the ovaries enlarge, making an ovary more likely to twist. While pelvic pain during late pregnancy may result from labor or from a disorder unrelated to the pregnancy.


Warning signs


If pregnant and experiencing pelvic pain, the following symptoms are cause for concern:

  • Fainting, light-headedness, or a racing heart – symptoms that suggest very low blood pressure
  • Fever, particularly if accompanied by a vaginal discharge that contains pus
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Pain that is severe and is made worse with movement

When to see a doctor


Women with warning signs should see a doctor immediately. Women without warning signs should try to see a doctor within a day or so if they have pain or burning sensation during urination or pain that interferes with daily activities. Women with mild discomfort with no other symptoms should call the doctor. The doctor can help them decide if and how quickly they need to be seen.