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Top 5 most common pregnancy pains

Pregnancy can be scary & exciting time all at once.  Your body can have new aches and pains that you have not experienced before; some are normal and some are of concern.  We will go through the most common ones and what you can do about them.

  1. Pain in the buttock and into the back of the leg – the most common reason for back/buttock pain in pregnancy is due to Sacro-iliac joint pain (SIJ pain). The sacro-iliac joint is the joint between the end of the spine and the pelvis.  It is normally very stable, but during pregnancy, the hormone relaxin is released, allowing more movement in this joint than normal and stretching the ligaments that surround the joint, causing pain.  Pain usually occurs when you walk, stand on one leg or when you sleep on your side.  What you can do about it is strengthen your gluteus maximus (bottom muscles).  This muscle is the major stabiliser of the pelvis and the earlier it is strengthened the better.
  2. Pain across the lower back and into the buttock – this is similar, but a little different to SIJ pain.  Direct lower back pain from the structures in the lower back such as the discs or facet joints is felt across the lower back, rather than beginning at the buttock like SIJ pain.  It is usually related to activities such as lifting, sitting or prolonged driving.  For lower back pain, see your physiotherapist or doctor to assess it properly to determine the exact cause and appropriate treatment.
  3. Pulling pain at the side of the abdomen – a sharp pulling pain at the side of the abdomen, present with certain movements can be due to stretching of the round ligament of the uterus, which is normal during pregnancy.  This ligament attaches the uterus to the front of the abdominal wall and can be put on stretch as the uterus expands.  It doesn’t do any damage, but hurts in certain positions.  This shouldn’t worry you as it does settle.
  4. Pain under the ribs – as the baby grows, it can directly put pressure on the ribs from underneath the rib cage.  This is quite painful, but does settle as the baby moves into a different position or when the baby drops.
  5. Other types of pains – other pains that don’t sound like any of the above may not be muscular or skeletal in nature and should be discussed with your doctor or obstetrician.

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