How to Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a magical time, full of excitement and anticipation. But for many women, it can also come with its fair share of discomforts, including pelvic pain. So, knowing how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy is important.

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of pelvic pain, the best sleep positions to ease your discomfort, and other effective strategies for sleeping soundly and safely during this special time. We hope this guide will give you the tools and knowledge to support your body and your baby while getting the rest you need.

So, let’s get started – sweet dreams await!

Understanding Pelvic Pain and Its Impact on Sleep During Pregnancy

As an expectant mother, navigating the challenges and joys of pregnancy can be a beautiful and sometimes overwhelming journey. One common experience during pregnancy is pelvic pain, which can significantly impact your sleep quality.

Pelvic pain during pregnancy can manifest in various ways, from mild discomfort to a sharp, stabbing sensation. It’s often the result of the physiological changes your body undergoes as it prepares for childbirth. The growing uterus, shifting hormones, and changes in posture can all contribute to discomfort in the pelvic region. 

Additionally, a hormone called relaxin is released during pregnancy, which loosens the ligaments in your pelvis to accommodate your baby’s growth, potentially causing pain.

Common Causes of Pelvic Pain in Pregnant Women

Here are some common causes of pelvic pain in pregnant women:

  1. Round ligament pain: As your uterus expands to accommodate your growing baby, the round ligaments that support it stretch, sometimes causing a sharp or throbbing pain in the pelvic area. This discomfort is often felt on one side and may be triggered by sudden movements or changes in position.
  2. Pelvic girdle pain (PGP): PGP, also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), occurs when the pelvic joints become misaligned or unstable due to hormonal changes and the increasing weight of your baby. This can result in pain in the front or back of the pelvis, hips, or thighs.
  3. Pressure from the growing uterus: As your baby grows and your uterus expands, it can put pressure on the surrounding organs, nerves, and muscles, causing discomfort and pain in the pelvic area.
  4. Hormonal changes: During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone called relaxin, which loosens the ligaments in the pelvis to prepare for childbirth. This can lead to a sensation of instability and pain in the pelvic region.
  5. Urinary tract infections (UTIs): Pregnant women are more susceptible to UTIs, which can cause pain or discomfort in the pelvic area. If you suspect a UTI, consult your healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
  6. Braxton-Hicks contractions: Sometimes referred to as “practice contractions,” Braxton-Hicks are normal and usually harmless contractions that can cause discomfort or mild pain in the pelvic area. They typically become more frequent as your due date approaches.
  7. Preterm labor: Pelvic pain can be a sign of preterm labor, which occurs when contractions begin before the 37th week of pregnancy. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you experience consistent, strong contractions accompanied by pain.
  8. Constipation or gas: Hormonal changes and the pressure from your growing uterus can slow down digestion, leading to constipation or gas. Both of these issues can cause discomfort and pain in the pelvic area.

Remember, while pelvic pain is common during pregnancy, it’s essential to consult your healthcare provider if you experience severe or persistent pain or have concerns about your well-being or your baby’s health. Your provider can help determine the cause of the pain and suggest appropriate interventions or treatments to ensure a healthy and comfortable pregnancy journey.

Why Is My Pelvic Pain Worse at Night?

Getting some much-needed rest during pregnancy is frustrating, but your pelvic pain worsens at night.

Now, here are some reasons why this might be happening so you can understand what’s going on and find ways to get some relief:

  1. Inactivity: You’re usually more active during the day, which means blood flow and muscle movements help distribute any built-up tension or discomfort. However, when you’re lying down at night, your body is more relaxed, and you might become more aware of the pelvic pain you’ve been experiencing throughout the day.
  2. Sleep Positions: Your sleep position can significantly affect pelvic pain. When you’re lying down, the pressure of your growing uterus can press on your pelvis, causing discomfort. Finding a comfortable position can be challenging, especially if you’re used to sleeping on your stomach or back.
  3. Hormonal Changes: Pregnancy hormones, particularly relaxin, work to soften and loosen the ligaments in your pelvis. These hormonal changes can cause the joints to become less stable, leading to discomfort, particularly when lying down for an extended period.
  4. Fluid Retention: Pregnant women tend to retain more fluids, which can increase pressure on the pelvic region. As the day progresses, fluid accumulates in the lower extremities due to gravity, and when you lie down at night, this fluid redistributes and can exacerbate pelvic pain.
  5. Muscle Fatigue: After a long day, your muscles, especially those in your lower back and pelvic area, may be tired and strained from supporting your growing belly. This fatigue can make pelvic pain more noticeable when you finally lie down to rest.

To help alleviate nighttime pelvic pain, you can use a pregnancy pillow for support, elevate your legs, and practice relaxation techniques before bedtime. Don’t hesitate to consult your healthcare provider if the pain becomes too severe or persistent. They can guide you on appropriate measures to ensure a comfortable and restful sleep during your pregnancy.

How to Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy: Creating a Relaxing Bedtime Routine to Ease Pelvic Pain

Lack of sleep caused by pelvic pain can be frustrating and exhausting, but there are steps you can take to help minimize discomfort and improve sleep quality:

  1. Use pillows for support: Placing a pregnancy pillow or a regular pillow between your knees can help alleviate pressure on the pelvis and lower back, making sleep more comfortable. You can also use pillows to prop yourself up if lying flat is uncomfortable.
  2. Practice good sleep hygiene: Establishing a regular bedtime routine and sleep schedule can help improve sleep quality. Make your sleep environment comfortable and restful with a supportive mattress, cozy bedding, and minimal distractions.
  3. Stretch and strengthen: Gentle stretches and exercises that target the pelvic area, such as prenatal yoga or pelvic tilts, can help alleviate pain by strengthening the muscles that support your growing uterus.
  4. Prioritize self-care: Take time for yourself to relax, practice deep breathing, or engage in activities that bring you comfort and joy. A warm bath or a gentle massage can also help ease pelvic area tension.
  5. Seek professional guidance: If your pelvic pain is severe or persistent, consult your healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations. They can help identify the cause of the pain and suggest appropriate interventions or treatments.
  6. Experiment with sleep positions: Find the sleep position that works best for you during this time. Many pregnant women find that lying on their side with a pillow for support is the most comfortable position, as it reduces pressure on the lower back and pelvis.
  7. Stay active: As your healthcare provider recommends, regular exercise can help maintain your overall health and may alleviate discomfort during pregnancy. Remember to listen to your body and rest when needed.

Understanding and addressing the impact of pelvic pain on sleep during pregnancy is vital for both your well-being and that of your growing baby. By employing these strategies and seeking guidance from your healthcare provider when necessary, you can make this unique period of your life more comfortable and restful.

Sleep Positions to Relieve Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

Here are some sleep positions that can help alleviate pelvic pain during pregnancy:

  • Side-lying position: Sleeping on your side, especially on your left side, is often recommended during pregnancy, as it helps improve blood flow to your baby and reduces pressure on your back and pelvic area. To alleviate pelvic pain, try placing a pillow between your knees and ankles to help keep your hips aligned and reduce strain on your pelvic joints.
  • SOS (Sleep on Side) with pillow support: Besides placing a pillow between your knees and ankles, you can use extra pillows to support your growing belly and lower back. You may find that using a full-length body pillow or a pregnancy pillow provides the support and comfort you need to sleep better and ease pelvic pain.
  • Semi-reclined position: If lying on your side doesn’t provide enough relief from pelvic pain, you can try sleeping in a semi-reclined position. To do this, prop yourself up with pillows behind your back and under your knees, creating a gentle incline. This position can help reduce pressure on your pelvis and may be more comfortable for some pregnant women.

Remember, every woman’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to listen to your body and adjust your sleep positions as needed. And, as always, consult with your healthcare provider if you have concerns about your pelvic pain or any other pregnancy-related issues.

Stretches to Relieve Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

The following are some gentle stretches that can help relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any exercise program, especially during pregnancy:

  • Butterfly stretch: Sit on the floor or a mat with the soles of your feet touching each other. Hold your feet or ankles, sit tall, and relax your knees toward the floor. Take deep breaths and, as you exhale, lean forward slightly from the hips to deepen the stretch. Hold for 15-30 seconds, and repeat 2-3 times.
  • Pigeon stretch: Start in a hands-and-knee position on a comfortable surface. Bring your right knee forward and place it behind your right wrist. Extend your left leg straight back, keeping your toes pointed. Gently lower your hips to the floor or a cushion, lean forward onto your forearms, or rest your forehead on your hands. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.
  • Hip flexor stretch: Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Take a step back with your right foot, bending your left knee to lower into a lunge position. Keep your right leg straight and your right heel off the ground. Place your hands on your hips or hold onto a stable surface for balance. Gently tuck your pelvis under, feeling a stretch in the front of your right hip. Hold for 15-30 seconds, then switch sides.
  • Cat-Cow Stretch: Begin on your hands and knees, with your hands under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. As you inhale, slowly arch your back, dropping your belly toward the floor and lifting your head and tailbone. As you exhale, round your spine, tuck your tailbone, and lower your head toward the floor. Continue to alternate between these positions for 5-10 breaths.
  • Pelvic tilts: Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Inhale, and as you exhale, gently press your lower back into the floor by tilting your pelvis upward. Hold the tilt for a few seconds, then release and repeat for 10-15 repetitions.

These stretches can help alleviate pelvic pain by promoting flexibility, relieving muscle tension, and improving circulation in the pelvic area. Remember to breathe deeply and listen to your body, stopping any stretch that causes pain or discomfort.

Alternative Therapies and Techniques for Managing Pelvic Pain

Here are some alternative therapies and techniques specifically designed for pregnant women to help you navigate through this uncomfortable phase. Keep in mind it’s always essential to consult your healthcare provider before trying any new therapies or techniques during pregnancy:

  • Prenatal Yoga: Gentle prenatal yoga can help stretch and strengthen the muscles that support your growing belly and relieve pelvic pain. Look for classes in your area specifically designed for pregnant women, and ensure that the instructor is qualified and experienced in working with pregnant moms.
  • Pregnancy-Safe Massage: A trained prenatal massage therapist can work on specific areas of tension to relieve pelvic pain. Be sure to find a therapist with experience in pregnancy massage and discuss your pelvic pain concerns before your session.
  • Warm Baths: Soaking in a warm bath can help relax your muscles, including those in the pelvic area. Add some Epsom salts or a few drops of pregnancy-safe essential oils, like lavender or chamomile, to enhance the relaxation experience. Just ensure the water is not too hot, as high temperatures can be harmful during pregnancy.
  • Pelvic Support Belts: These specially designed belts can provide extra support to your growing belly and help alleviate pelvic pain. They are available in various sizes and styles, so choose one that is comfortable and fits you well.
  • Chiropractic Care: Some pregnant women find relief from pelvic pain through chiropractic care. Look for a chiropractor who specializes in pregnancy and is trained in the Webster Technique, which focuses on balancing the pelvis and reducing tension in the area.
  • Hydrotherapy: Gentle water-based exercises, like swimming or water aerobics, can help relieve pressure on your joints and pelvic area while providing a low-impact workout. Be sure to find classes or facilities that cater specifically to pregnant women.

As always, it’s crucial to communicate with your healthcare provider about any alternative therapies or techniques you are considering. They can guide you in choosing the most suitable and safe options for managing pelvic pain during pregnancy.

Home Remedies to Reduce Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

The following are other safe and effective options to manage discomfort during pregnancy. However, always consult your healthcare provider before trying any new remedies or techniques during pregnancy:

  • Warm and Cold Compresses: Applying a warm or cold compress to your pelvic area can help alleviate pain. Try using a heating pad set on low or a warm towel for heat therapy and a bag of frozen peas or a cold pack wrapped in a towel for cold therapy. Alternate between warm and cold treatments for maximum relief.
  • Gentle Stretches: Incorporate some gentle pelvic stretches into your daily routine. One simple stretch involves sitting on an exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor and gently rolling your hips in circles or rocking back and forth. Another stretch, known as the “butterfly,” involves sitting on the floor, bending your knees outward, and bringing the soles of your feet together. Gently press your knees down to stretch the inner thigh and pelvic muscles.
  • Kegel Exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles can help alleviate some pelvic pain. To do Kegel exercises, tighten the muscles around your vagina and anus as if you were stopping the urine flow, hold for a few seconds, and then release. Repeat this exercise 10-15 times, several times a day.
  • Mindfulness and Deep Breathing: Mindfulness and deep breathing exercises can help you manage stress and reduce muscle tension in the pelvic area. Set aside a few minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath, inhaling deeply and exhaling slowly.
  • Pregnancy Pillow: Invest in a pregnancy pillow designed to support your growing belly and hips. Place the pillow between your knees while sleeping to help maintain proper pelvis alignment and reduce pain.
  • Nutritious Diet: Eating a well-balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can help support your body during pregnancy, potentially reducing pelvic pain. Include foods high in calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D, crucial for bone and muscle health. Some examples include dairy products, leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and fortified foods.

When to Consult Your Healthcare Provider: Identifying Severe Pelvic Pain

Recognizing when pelvic pain during pregnancy may require consultation with your healthcare provider is important. The goal is always to ensure you have the information you need to make informed decisions about your well-being:

  1. Intensity and Duration: Mild to moderate pelvic pain is common during pregnancy. However, if you experience severe or persistent pain that doesn’t respond to home remedies, it’s time to consult your healthcare provider. They can help determine the cause and offer appropriate treatment options.
  2. Accompanying Symptoms: If you notice any additional symptoms alongside pelvic pain, such as fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or bleeding, contact your healthcare provider immediately. These could be signs of an underlying issue that requires prompt attention.
  3. Changes in Pain: If the nature of your pelvic pain changes suddenly, like becoming sharp or localized, reach out to your healthcare provider. It could be an indication of a potential complication that needs evaluation.
  4. Impact on Daily Activities: When pelvic pain starts interfering with your daily activities, such as walking, sitting, or sleeping, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider. They can help identify the cause and suggest measures to improve comfort and mobility.
  5. History of Pelvic Issues: If you have a history of pelvic issues, such as previous surgeries, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease, it’s essential to share this information with your healthcare provider. They can monitor your condition closely and advise you on the best action if pain arises.

Remember, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and consult with your healthcare provider if you have any concerns about your pelvic pain.


Remember, each pregnancy is unique, and what works for one person may not work for another. Keep an open dialogue with your healthcare provider, and don’t be afraid to ask questions or share your concerns.

As you navigate this incredible journey called pregnancy, remember to be gentle with yourself and listen to your body. Take time to relax, practice self-care, and seek the support of your loved ones. We’re here for you, sharing advice and insights to make your journey a little smoother.

Stay tuned for more tips, tricks, and insights to help you make the most of your pregnancy and beyond. Until next time, take care, and happy baby-growing!

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