So far my pregnancy has been really easy. I don’t think I’ve realised just how lucky I am to have had such a relaxed and comfortable pregnancy in comparison to so many.
With less than 3 weeks to go (woohoo) the worst of my symptoms has been restless legs and a urine infection … not too bad at all really – until now!
Sunday night I got a real pain in my ass …. literally! I was walking down the stairs and I got a sharp pain in my left bum cheek. It was enough to make me stop in my tracks but I carried on walking down the stairs to see if it would ease off.
Every step I felt the same pain and even when I got downstairs and walked on an even surface, the pain continued. All I could think was that I’d trapped a nerve.
Of course I took to google, my favourite place for self-diagnosis! I typed in ‘Pain in my left bum cheek at 37 weeks pregnant’ – best to be specific I thought!
I read a few forums where other women had posted about similar symptoms and many had said that they had been diagnosed with Sciatica but weren’t convinced.
Sciatica is a pain that radiates out from the lower back, down the buttocks and into one or both of the legs, right down to the calf. It can last for days or up to a matter of months. It is caused by irritation or damage to the sciatic nerve, such as:
- A slipped disc – occurs when the outer part of the disc ruptures (splits), allowing the gel inside to bulge and protrude outwards between the vertebrae. When this presses against the sciatic nerve, it can cause sciatica.
- Spinal stenosis – the narrowing of nerve passages in the spine, occurs when the bones, ligaments or discs of the spine squash the nerves of the spine.
It can be made worse by coughing, sneezing, bending over backwards and sitting or standing for too long a period of time.
Being pregnant I know that your body goes through so many surprising changes that I wouldn’t have given Sciatica a second thought, however many women in the forums were unconvinced.
Many thought they had been misdiagnosed and upon speaking to midwifes found that during pregnancy, these symptoms are more likely to be Pelvic Girdle Pain – PGP for short!
During pregnancy our bodies produce the hormone relaxin which softens the ligaments in the pelvis and other joints. This makes for an easier birth but can also cause PGP if one side of your pelvis moves more than the other.
It causes shooting pains down the back of of your legs, hips or just the buttocks and can be made worse in the same way as sciatica – by laying or standing for too long and also when rolling over in the night.
There are a few ways to ease the discomfort of PGP depending on the severity, for example wearing a pelvic belt, specific pelvic floor and tummy exercises and locking your hips while doing everyday activities. Acupuncture can also help as well as the obvious resting, good posture and avoiding heavy lifting.
PGP usually goes after birth as the relaxin is no longer released. My only concern was whether it’ll my birth uncomfortable. I know that it’s due to the ligaments moving for an easier birth but I can really see it being uncomfortable, especially as Rabbit is back to back already!
I did a little extra research and found that giving birth on all fours will be the most comfortable position for someone with PGP. This will be fine as I can kneel in the birth pool and lean on the side.
Apparently almost half of mums-to-be experience some form of pelvic pain during pregnancy! I also found that if the similar pain is in your pubic bone at the front, this is called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) – a similar ligament condition at the front of your pelvis. Remember the drop kick feeling I’ve had for weeks now? I’m thinking it could be that!
I’d love to hear of any other women’s experiences with PGP. I’ve found it relieves the pain for me when I have a warm bath and if I sit upright on my exercise ball.
The pain isn’t constant it only comes and goes, but I’d rather it goes soon especially if Rabbits late!
Thanks for reading 🙂