By Guest Blogger Valentina Rahim
Just when you think that you’ve been there done that, it’s your second pregnancy you know what to expect, your body just throws something totally unexpected at you!
Up until my second trimester my pregnancy was pretty much uneventful, I was eating healthy staying active, working out a few times per week, things were going great!
Late into my second trimester however I suddenly started experiencing this pelvic heaviness and a lot of vaginal pressure. Especially when I sat down or had to go to the bathroom. A very uncomfortable sensation to say the least. It literally felt as though things are about to fall out!
Of course I rushed to see my doctor and I was told that there is no reason to panic, it is very common and a lot of women apparently experience it. She also assured me that nothing is going to fall out. Phew! That’s a relief! At this point in time however she told me that there is not a whole lot that I can do.
Surely, I thought to myself, there are things that I can do in order to find some relief, so I took it upon myself and did some research and sure enough there are a few things you can do to alleviate these symptoms, but first lets look into what are some of the causes of vaginal and pelvic pressure?
Here is what I found out.
1. Growing Baby.
As your baby grows and becomes heavier, it puts increasing pressure on the muscles in your pelvic floor. By the time you reach full term (which is from 37 weeks of pregnancy to 42 weeks of pregnancy), your baby’s average weight is between 5.5-6.6 pounds. This weight is pressing down into your pelvis, along with the weight of the placenta, cord and amniotic fluid. As your baby moves about, it can create more pressure as ligaments become stretched.
As your pregnancy progresses, your little one gets all the more snuggly against your organs, hips, and pelvis. That puts more stress on, well, everything!
2. Hormone Relaxin.
Of course this hormone Relaxin is the culprit of a lot of aches and pains in our pregnant bodies. This is the hormone that helps loosen your ligaments as you move closer to childbirth. Because of the effects of Relaxin, those weakened ligaments allow the uterus to sag down, hence the pelvic pressure you are feeling.
3. Standing Too Much And High Impact Exercise.
Standing on your feet for prolonged periods of time can also cause or worsen your symptoms. This is almost unavoidable if you are like me and have a toddler that requires a lot of attention.
Exercises such as heavy lifting, intense core abdominal exercises and/or high impact exercise such as running or jumping can also intensify the pressure in your pelvic floor.
4. Increased Blood Flow.
Over the course of your pregnancy, your blood volume increases by about 50%. The increased blood flow can cause your pelvic area to feel full and heavy.
This extra blood volume also increases the pressure in your veins, especially the veins in your legs. Your uterus is also adding its own pressure onto the vessels in your pelvis. The result is swollen varicose veins. These swollen veins can cause a heavy sensation in the pelvis and a persistent intense ache. So as you can see a lot is going on in your body and it sort of has a snowball effect.
1. Use A Pregnancy Support Garment.
When I asked my doctor if there is anything I can do about this issue I was told that there is nothing I can do at that point in time but there was one thing she did ask me. She asked if I am wearing a support belt.
At the time I did have a support belt, the 2-in-1 Bandit that I only wore during my workouts for the extra support. My doctor however suggested that I should start wearing it every day and I did. Let me tell you it made such a huge difference!
What I loved about it on top of the every day support it gave me was that it was super comfortable to wear and you could barely see it when I wore it under clothes.
I also loved the fact that it is adjustable to your size. So as my belly grew I was able to adjust its size easily. Not only did it help support my bump but it also helped with my back and leg pain that I was also having. Thanks pregnancy! The wrap is also designed to decrease varicose veins, which have gotten worse for me with this second pregnancy.
After the baby arrives, the wrap can also be used to hug your hips and gently guides them back to your pre-pregnancy size. So this bad boy is coming with me to the hospital.
I mean, to say that I got my value out of this wrap will be an understatement. It’s just so beneficial for so many things. I would definitely recommend you invest in one, it is such a great product!
2. Lay Down.
To immediately relieve the pressure, try lying down. As soon as I started resting a lot more I noticed that the pressure slowly went away and on those days that I was on my feet a lot the pressure would come back and I knew I was overdoing it so that was a reminder for me to rest up.
3. Elevate your feet if possible.
Elevating your feet every time you sit down is also very helpful with improving blood circulation, which can relieve some of that pressure. Other benefits to elevating your feet are reduced swelling and blood pooling which can cause varicose veins.
4. Perform Pelvic Floor Exercises And Do Your Kegels.
Perform a few pelvic exercises, like pelvis tilts and rolls. This will help strengthen the muscles and support the area. If you are in your third trimester you should be doing pelvic tilts in a standing position. I have also been doing a lot of Kegels throughout the day to help strengthen those pelvic floor muscles.
5. Switch To Low Impact Exercise.
If you worked out regularly during your pregnancy there’s no reason to stop. I made sure to ask my doctor this and she assured me that it was still ok to exercise. I did however switch to strictly all low impact exercise and I mainly concentrated on upper body strength training. Any exercise is better than no exercise!
Doing all of the above really helped me with the pelvic floor pressure I was feeling and I hope it helps you too if you are having the same issue. I realized that it is something not a lot of pregnant women talk about but it is very common nonetheless.
Feel free to share some of the ways that helped you relieve these symptoms and please share this post with anyone you know that would benefit from this information.
Thank you to Valentina Rahim for contributing this article to the Bandita Blog. To read more of Valentina’s articles head to www.sweetlifeandfitness.com or find her on Instagram @sweetlifeandfitness.