Pregnancy takes a lot of time. During this period every pregnant woman feels a different kind of inconvenience: malaise, nausea, back pain, and other nuances of such a delicate situation. And the vagina of the future mother is not an exception. Often, doctors listen to complaints of pain, burning sensations and uncommon discharge that appear in this area. Such unsettling symptoms should in no case be left without attention. The birth of a healthy child forces a woman to listen to the slightest changes in health with special attention. Vaginal pressure during pregnancy is also in the list of such changes that brings unpleasant feelings to women. But why does it appear and how to deal with it?
Vaginal Pressure during Pregnancy
It’s really fascinating how a female body changes and adjusts to the growing person inside. At the same time, there are some less wonderful side effects that you might not even know about. One of them is vaginal pressure during pregnancy and pressure in the small pelvis.
The feeling of pressure in the small pelvis is a subjective feeling of heaviness, overflow, and bursting in the middle of the abdomen located below the navel, the lower back and the sacral region.
Also, many pregnant women feel pressure, or heaviness, around the vagina. Vaginal pressure during pregnancy is considered to be a normal and a common phenomenon of pregnancy. Many pregnant women experience it, especially by the end of pregnancy. However, it can take place in any trimester.
While the fetus is growing and developing, the volume of your blood increases as well. Thus, there is the undeniable law of gravitation. As a result, vaginal pressure during pregnancy, as well as a pelvic one, is a common complaint of many future mothers.
While vaginal pressure during pregnancy can be of any type (from mild to severe), unfortunately, it is a common part of pregnancy.
Causes of Pelvic and Vaginal Pressure during Pregnancy
Vaginal pressure during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. Still, not all pregnant women face it. What’s more, women have different experiences of vaginal pressure during pregnancy. Thus, while some of them may feel an intense pressure in the vagina, others have a dull ache throughout the pelvis, etc.
At later terms of pregnancy, this pressure often occurs because the baby’s weight is pressing down on the pelvic floor. At the same time, many other factors can become a reason of pelvic and vaginal pressure during pregnancy.
What Causes Vaginal Pressure in the 1st Trimester?
The hormone relaxin plays an important role here. This hormone helps relax the muscles, thus, making it easier for the baby to pass through the pelvic area during childbirth. At the same time, the highest levels of relaxin levels are in early pregnancy. High levels of this hormone may help the fertilized egg to implant in the lining of the uterus.
However, relaxin can cause muscle pain or tension, including in or around the vagina.
What’s more, this hormone may also weaken the ligaments that support the pelvis. This, in turn, can lead to a feeling of pressure, as though something is pushing down on the vagina.
The Second and the Third Trimesters
Vaginal pressure during pregnancy is more common for the 2nd and the 3rd trimesters. This is happening because a weakening pelvic floor and increased weight press on the pelvis, thus, causing vaginal pressure.
The pelvic floor resembles a sling made of muscle. It supports the organs of the pelvis, including the uterus, vagina, urethra, and bladder. And as we have already mentioned, during pregnancy the pelvic floor becomes weaker.
Women who have given birth previously may already have damage to their pelvic floor. As a result, a subsequent pregnancy can weaken the pelvic floor even more.
The extra weight gained during pregnancy starts being noticeable in the second trimester. As pregnancy progresses, the uterus puts more and more pressure on the lower body.
As the pelvic floor weakens, this pressure can cause a feeling of fullness in the vagina or can cause painful sensations in the hips and pelvis.
Sometimes, a pressure in the pelvis may be an early sign of labor. If you also feel cramping in the stomach or it feels like something is pressing down on the uterus, this can indicate that you are about to give birth.
As we have already mentioned, the hormone relaxin plays an important role here. Its purpose is to loosen the ligaments in the pelvis. Thus, the joints can separate slightly. It is necessary for flexibility in the pelvis for the baby’s head to pass through during birth.
The effect of relaxin plus the baby’s weight may cause the muscles to stretch and weaken. As a result, there is a feeling of pelvic and vaginal pressure during pregnancy.
While the pregnancy progresses, the volume of your blood increases by about 50%. The increased blood flow can make your vagina and labia swollen and tender. Thus, it may feel like your pelvic area is full and heavy, especially if you are standing for a long time.
What’s more, extra blood volume also creates additional pressure in your veins, especially the veins in your legs. As a result, the veins have to work harder to push the blood back up to your heart. Also, your uterus is adding its own pressure onto the vessels in your pelvis. Progesterone in this case helps relax your blood vessels to cope with extra blood volume.
Still, the problem of varicose veins may arise. Varicose veins may appear not only on the skin, but also in the rectum or the vagina and vulva, and around the uterus and ovaries as well. As a result, these swollen veins can lead to a heavy sensation in the pelvis and a persistent intense ache.
And of course, your growing baby also creates an additional pressure. Closer to the full term of pregnancy (from 37 to 42 weeks), your baby’s average weight is between 2.5-3.5 kilograms (5.5-6.6 pounds). The weight of the baby along with the weight of the placenta, cord and amniotic fluid presses on the pelvis.
In most cases, vaginal pressure is just an unpleasant pregnancy side effect resulting from weakened pelvic muscles and weight gain.
However, sometimes there are more complicated situations. They require medical examination and treatment. For example, an untreated infection, can spread throughout the body and put the baby in danger. What’s more, it may even lead to premature birth.
Very weak pelvic muscles can lead to POP. This painful condition can cause incontinence, pain during sexual intercourse, and changes in the appearance of the genitals.
Some women experience muscle injuries during pregnancy or during the labor. The hormone relaxin may increase the risk of muscle injuries. That’s why it is important to stay physically active to keep the muscles strong. Also, make sure to consult a doctor if you feel unexplained muscle pain.
Any injury a woman faces during pregnancy can make childbirth harder. Pregnancy-related complications may also make the postpartum period more difficult, slowing recovery and potentially harming mental health.