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If you’re pregnant, you probably expected to experience some back pain and abdominal discomfort. But what you didn’t count on was butt pain.
As your pregnancy progresses, there are common conditions like sciatica that can cause you a great deal of discomfort. You might feel pain in the buttocks area as a result.
Luckily, as you continue to wait for your little one to enter the world, there are several steps you can take to reduce butt pain.
Here’s how to make the next few months more comfortable before your baby makes their arrival.
Butt pain during pregnancy can be pain caused by an abnormality on the buttocks itself (like hemorrhoids). It can also be referred pain that radiates from the lower back to the buttocks.
Some common causes of butt pain during pregnancy include the following.
Hemorrhoids are enlarged, swollen veins in the anus or rectum. Pregnant women are more likely to experience hemorrhoids because the uterus creates extra pressure on the anus and rectum.
If you have to stand for long periods of time because of your job or hobbies, the pain may get worse.
Women experience contractions differently. Some have abdominal cramping and back cramping that can extend to the buttocks. The nature of the pain can vary, too. Some people feel a cramping sensation while others may feel pressure, throbbing, or shooting pain.
Braxton-Hicks contractions may cause discomfort, but they aren’t usually painful. If the contractions are causing your buttocks pain, call your doctor.
Pelvic girdle pain
Pelvic girdle pain affects 1 in 5 pregnant woman. This pain occurs when the extra weight of the baby and pregnancy-related movements in the pelvis start to add up and cause pelvic pain.
Many women also experience this pain in their buttocks. Other symptoms can include feeling a grinding or clicking in the pelvic area, and pain that gets worse with movement.
Although pelvic girdle pain is very uncomfortable, it isn’t harmful to your baby. It won’t keep you from having a vaginal birth.
Sciatica is a condition that happens when there’s pressure on the sciatic nerve that runs from the buttocks down the leg. Pregnancy can cause the nerve to become irritated or inflamed. Your expanding uterus can place extra pressure on the sciatic nerve.
As you reach your third trimester, your baby’s change in positioning can rest on the nerve directly in your buttocks area. This can cause butt pain.
You also might feel a burning sensation in your back, buttocks, and leg. Some women also report shooting pain that extends down the leg.
Whatever the cause, butt pain can make it difficult to complete your daily activities comfortably. (As if it wasn’t hard enough already with your pregnancy!)
If you experience the following symptoms, it’s time to call your doctor:
- the pain is so severe that it is making you feel ill
- you are experiencing a significant amount of blood loss (bigger than typical hemorrhoids, which may cause only a smear of blood)
- you have experienced a rush of fluid from your vagina or your “water breaking”
- you lose control of your bladder/bowels
- the pain never subsides
An estimated 14 percent of pregnant women take an opioid pain medication while they’re pregnant. Examples of these prescription medications include oxycodone and hydrocodone.
Typically, women take them for a week or less. Back pain’s the most common reason doctors prescribe these medications.
If your buttocks pain does not respond to over-the-counter and at-home treatments, your doctor may consider prescribing a pain medicine.
But the fewer medications you can take during pregnancy, the better. This will reduce the likelihood the medications could affect your baby’s growth and/or development.
If your pain is the result of hemorrhoids, you can try the following at-home treatments to reduce discomfort:
- Soak in a warm water bath or a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a plastic bath that can fit over your toilet. You can fill it with warm water, sit, and soak without having to draw a bath. Shop for sitz baths.
- Try witch hazel. Place a few drops of witch hazel on a sanitary pad that you can wear to reduce inflammation. You can change the witch hazel pads throughout the day to reduce inflammation. Also try freezing them for more relief. Shop for witch hazel.
- Don’t sit or stand too long. Refrain from sitting or standing for extended time periods. This puts extra pressure on your anus. Lying on your side can reduce pressure.
- Drink up. Drink plenty of fluids each day. This can help reduce your risk for constipation, which makes your stool harder to pass.
- Eat fiber. Eat a diet that has plenty of fiber with whole-grain foods, fruits, and vegetables.
You can also ask your doctor if there are creams and/or stool softeners you could take to reduce hemorrhoid-related pain and strain.
For pain related to sciatica and/or pelvic pain, you can take the following steps:
- Take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen to reduce discomfort.
- Take a warm bath and/or shower to soothe tight muscles.
- Wear a supportive pelvic belt (also called a girdle) to reduce the pressure on your lower back and pelvis. Shop for pelvic belts.
- Avoid performing activities that aggravate your pain, like lifting heavy objects, standing on only one leg at a time, and keeping your legs together when you turn in bed and/or get out of the car.
- Place a pillow under your belly and one between your legs when you sleep. This can help promote proper body positioning.
You can also ask your doctor if you can apply cold and/or heat packs to painful areas.