You've probably been feeling some pressure and discomfort in your pelvic area all along. However, once your baby descends in preparation for birth, you may feel both pressure in your pelvis and sharp, stabbing pains in your pelvic and groin area. This is caused by a shifting in your pelvic bones, as your body opens a bit to deliver your baby, and by ligaments stretching to allow these bones to shift. You may feel these sharp pains in the middle of your pelvic bone, in your lower back, or even down your thighs. The discomfort might be constant, or you might notice it most when you cough, sneeze, or laugh.
The best way to relieve pelvic pressure and these shooting pains -- which you'll most often feel if you lift your leg to pull on a boot, for instance, or as you get up out of a chair -- is to shift positions when it happens and to keep exercising until your due date. It bears repeating that any exercise is good, even if it's a walk or a slow swim.
If you get to the point where pelvic discomfort prevents you from doing any exercise, talk with your doctor about using a more high-tech maternity support belt or visiting a physical therapist. A physical therapist can probably offer you some relief by helping you balance the weight of your belly better.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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