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Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: Causes And Tips For Relief

Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: Causes And Tips For Relief

Pelvic pain during pregnancy is extremely common and oftentimes harmless, but it’s important to understand the various symptoms and causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy so you can know when you should consult your doctor.

Pelvic Pain or Pressure?

It is important to know the difference between pelvic pain and pelvic pressure. Pelvic pressure often feels like cramps that are similar to menstrual cramps and can be present in the rectum area and in the lower back. This could be the beginning signs of cervical effacement or dilation—the beginning stages of labor! This pressure is most likely to occur in the second and third trimesters. Pelvic pain is different. Pelvic pain is often a more wrenching pain that can make it difficult to walk.

What Causes it?

There are numerous different factors that can cause pelvic pressure during pregnancy. Anything from stretching ligaments to the weight of the baby can cause pain in that region of the body.

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In the first trimester some women feel light cramping in the pelvic area that is caused by their uterus expanding. This is less likely to be felt in second or third pregnancies.

Women who have a history of ovarian cysts, or think they have developed them during pregnancy should inform their ob-gyn. These cysts can sometimes grow larger during pregnancy. The pressure from your expanding uterus can cause persistent pain. There can be some complications with this kind of cyst pain, so be sure to inform your doctor if you are experiencing any sharp constant pain that may include nausea, vomiting or sweating.

Round ligament pain is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy. The ligament that runs from the top to the bottom of your uterus experiences a lot of strain as the baby grows significantly larger in the second trimester. This ligament stretching can be pretty uncomfortable!

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Another cause of pelvic pain is the relaxing or separating of your pelvic joints toward the end of pregnancy. A hormone called relaxin is released to relax a woman’s joints and prepare her for labor and birth. This separation of joints can cause pain in the pubic bone area.

While most causes of pelvic pain are normal and all part of the process, sometimes pain can be a signal that something serious is going on. Pelvic pain can be a symptom of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, uterine rupture, preeclamspia or other illnesses unrelated to pregnancy such as appendicitis or kidney stones.

Call your doctor if you experience any of the following:

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  • pelvic pain you can’t walk or talk through
  • any bleeding
  • fever/chills
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • sudden swelling of hands, face or feet
  • watery, bloody or greenish discharge
  • Insistent vomiting

It is always better to annoy your doctor with a problem that isn’t serious than to ignore a serious problem in order to avoid bothering your doctor.

What you can do

There are many ways to relieve some of the everyday pelvic pains that result from growing a baby. You can:

  • Take a warm bath. You can get a break from the weight of the baby pressing down on your pelvic area and the heat will help to relax your muscles and ligaments
  • Do some pelvic tilts
  • Relax with your hips elevated
  • Buy a belly sling that will help to relieve some pressure and weight off your pelvis
  • Get a prenatal massage by a certified masseuse. This will help assuage all kinds of pregnancy related discomfort!
  • Exercise as a preventative measure to pelvic pain

Pregnancy is a miraculous and wonderful season of life for many women—but it is almost never a pain-free season! Growing a human is not an easy job, and it does take a toll on your body. Taking care of yourself by eating well, exercising and listening to your body is especially important when another little human is depending on you for all of their resources. Pelvic pain during pregnancy isn’t fun, but it’s part of the territory. You can do a lot to relieve and minimize it, but not many women can avoid it. But cheer up—holding your sweet little baby in your arms will help you forget those long, long months of swollen ankles and cramping!

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Featured photo credit: M Sunderstrom via flickr.com

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Emily Myrin

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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