Skip to Content

How To Sleep With Pelvic Pain During Pregnancy

This post contains affiliate links and is for general information purposes only. Please visit my disclosure policy for more information.

Here’s how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy, plus other helpful pregnancy tips for the first time mom.

If you’re a first time mom, you’re probably familiar with the funny stories about pregnancy hormones and pregnancy symptoms like nausea and food aversions.

But, you might not be prepared for pelvic discomfort and hip pain.

Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for pregnant women. And it can affect every aspect of your life from doing chores around the house to being able to sleep at night.

Luckily, there are some things you can do to help manage pelvic pain.

Below, we cover what causes pelvic pain in pregnant women, common treatments, and the best strategies to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy.

RELATED: The Best Remedies for Unbearable Tooth Pain While Pregnant

What causes pelvic pain?

A pregnant woman hunches over in pain with a hand on her lower back and belly.

Before we discuss how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy, it’s important to understand what causes it in the first place.

Pelvic pain (or pelvic girdle pain) is common during pregnancy, affecting 30-50% of expectant mothers by the second trimester. This pelvic pain often worsens into the third trimester as your baby continues to grow.

You can experience this discomfort anywhere in the pelvic region from the front of your pelvis, to the back of the pelvis, and even into the lower back.

This includes the groin, pubic bone, sacroiliac joints, pelvic joints, pelvic bones, and pelvic floor muscles.

There are many causes of pelvic pain during pregnancy. But, most pain can be attributed to increased pelvic pressure.

However, some women may also experience a condition called, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.

Pelvic Pressure

Here are some of the common reasons for increased pelvic pressure during pregnancy:

  • Your growing uterus. As the uterus grows, it places increased pressure on the pelvis and also causes the surrounding ligaments to stretch. This may cause round ligament pain (short, painful spasms). This is one of the most common types of pelvic pain during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women are more prone to constipation which can also increase pressure on the pelvis, causing pain.
  • A uterine tract infection.
  • Pelvic Organ Prolapse. This is a condition when 1 or more of the organs in the pelvis slip down from their normal position and bulge into the vagina. It can be the womb (uterus), bowel, bladder, or top of the vagina. A prolapse is not life-threatening, but it can cause pain and discomfort.
  • Braxton Hicks Contractions.
  • Changes in posture due to your growing baby bump.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis pubis dysfunction is a form of pubic bone pain, caused by the hormone Relaxin. Relaxin is responsible for loosening and relaxing your muscles, joints, and ligaments during pregnancy to help your body stretch.

Here are some of the common SPD Symptoms:

  • Sharp pain or shooting pain in the pelvis.
  • Groin pain and pain that radiates in the back, thigh, and legs.
  • Pain between the vagina and anus.
  • Increased pain when walking.
  • Clicking sounds when walking.
  • Difficulty standing.

Who is at risk?

It’s not known exactly why pelvic pain affects some women, but it’s thought to be linked to several issues and risk factors:

  • A history of low back pain or pelvic girdle pain.
  • Previous injury to the pelvis (for example, from a fall or accident).
  • Having PGP in a previous pregnancy may lead to PGP in subsequent pregnancies.
  • A physically demanding job.

Pregnancy weight gain and being overweight can also contribute to pelvic discomfort. Your doctor can help you monitor your weight and make sure you and your baby stay as healthy as possible.

RELATED: What’s the normal weight for a pregnant woman?

Treatment Options

Pregnant women sit with crossed legs and hands in a prayer position during yoga.

If you experience pelvic pain during pregnancy, it will likely persist until the baby is born. However, there are some things you can do to ease the symptoms.

Most of these remedies involve making adjustments to your daily activities.

But, in severe cases, your healthcare provider may suggest physical therapy.

Home Remedies to Reduce Pain

1. Try to Maintain Good Posture

Poor posture may make pelvic pain worse by causing imbalance through the pubic region.

Here are some good posture practices to follow:

  • Avoid standing on one leg.
  • Sit when you’re getting dressed and undressed.
  • Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid high heels.
  • Avoid turning quickly or twisting as this can strain your pelvis.
  • Slouching or sitting very straight can put a strain on your back and pelvis. Aim for halfway between these 2 positions.
  • Use lumbar supports such as pillows, a cushion, or a rolled towel to strengthen your lower back and help to avoid slouching.
  • Don’t perch on the edge of your seat as your muscles will tire more quickly.

2. Wear Pelvic Support Belts

The Serola pelvic support belt in its packaging on a white bedspread.

Pelvic support belts can also offer pain relief throughout your day, especially to the lower back.

These comfortable bands wrap around or under the pregnant belly to help your body manage some of the postural changes that happen as your baby grows.

Here’s how to put one on:

Black and white image series with a woman showing how to put on a pelvic support band.

3. Try Prenatal Yoga

Prenatal yoga can help loosen tight muscles and encourage blood flow to the pelvic region. It can also ease back pain and temporarily relieve pressure in the pelvis.

4. Adjust Your Routines and Habits

  • Be as active as possible within your pain limits, and avoid activities that make the pain worse.
  • Rest often.
  • Ask your partner, family, or friends to assist with chores.
  • Keep your knees together when getting in and out of the car. (PRO TIP: A plastic bag on the seat can help you swivel!)
  • Take the stairs 1 at a time, or go upstairs backward, or on your bottom.

5. Try Pelvic Floor Exercises

Exercising your pelvic floor not only provides pain relief but also:

  • Helps to prepare the body for labor and delivery
  • Prevents bladder leakage
  • Prevents bowel or gas leakage
  • Increases muscle support for your pelvic joints and lower back
  • Prevents pelvic organ prolapse

Take some time each day to engage your pelvic muscles by gently and slowly tightening them, and holding them in that position for increasing amounts of time.

To engage your pelvic muscles, it may be helpful to imagine that you’re:

  • Holding back gas (without clinching your buttocks) or stopping yourself from urinating
  • Pulling the tailbone toward the pubic bone
  • Pulling the two sit bones together
  • Closing off the vaginal opening, “while lifting and squeezing”

Start by holding this tightened position for 5 seconds, 10 times. And repeat the process 3 times per day.

As your muscles get stronger, try to hold the position for longer, aiming for 10 seconds or more.

You can also add additional movements to your exercises to increase your strength further.

For example, you can sit at an incline with your knees bent, and move your knees together and apart “like butterfly wings” as you hold your tightened muscles.

Or, introduce “quick flicks” or brief contractions — holding for one second or less.

6. Try Stretching

Double Calf Stretch
A woman demonstrates the double calf stretch in a series of black and white photos.
Seated Piriformis Stretch
A woman demonstrates the seated piriformis stretch in a series of black and white photos.
Pubic Symphysis Shotgun
  • Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your hips in a neutral position (or supine hook-lying with hips in a neutral position).
  • Fasten a belt or wrap a sheet or towel around your knees and twist to hold the ends in place.
  • Take a normal breath in.
    • As you exhale, gently press your knees open against the belt/sheet, using very gentle force (no more than 20-30% effort). Hold until your exhale is completed (about 5 counts).
    • Inhale as you relax out of the contraction.
    • Repeat 10x.

NOTE: The first few contractions may elicit sharper pain, but should lessen with each contraction. You can also do this sitting. And you can try squeezing a pillow or ball instead of pushing against the belt or sheet.

RELATED: Try These Pregnancy Workout Ideas When You Need a Quick Burn

Physical Therapy

If you’re unable to manage your pelvic pain on your own, you may need the assistance of a physical therapist.

A physical therapist will tell you about suitable exercises to help your symptoms.

They may also perform manual therapy to release tight muscles or to align the pelvic joints.

Your doctor may also prescribe medication to help manage persistent and severe pain.

RELATED: How Often Should I Go To The Chiropractor During Pregnancy?

How to Sleep with Pelvic Pain

A pregnant woman sleeps with a large white body pillow on a bed.

Now that we’ve covered what causes pelvic discomfort in pregnant women, and the common treatments, here’s some information on how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy.

Before going to bed, take some time to ice your joints and apply heat to your muscles and pelvic area.

Or, you can take a warm bath.

This can help ease the pain in your pelvic region and help your body relax before sleeping.

Use a heating pad while you wind down and before falling asleep. (Just be sure not to use it for more than 20 minutes, use a low-temperature setting, and don’t apply it directly to your skin).

Make sure you always sleep on your side during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester (weeks 27 to 40). This helps to prevent stillbirth.

Try using a pregnancy pillow or a traditional pillow placed between your knees to relieve pelvic pressure:

Here are some of the other benefits of pregnancy pillows:

  • Allows you to maintain a comfortable position
  • Helps to keep your hips and knees symmetrical to reduce the risk of PGP and to improve the symptoms you may already be experiencing
  • If you do roll during your sleep, the presence of the pillow can help you to contract the muscles to get adductors and gluteal muscles firing

Consider the position of your body. Instead of sleeping directly on your side, try shifting slightly forward toward your tummy or back (with pillows for support).

As your pregnancy progresses, try placing an extra pillow or rolled-up towel under your bump to decrease the strain on your hips and lower back.

If you find your hips are sore or aching. This may be because your mattress is very firm. To help relieve the pain, double over a single duvet and place it underneath you.


Why is my pelvic pain worse at night during pregnancy?

At night time, your buttock muscles are less active due to being in a resting position. And depending on how you sleep, your joints may be in a more vulnerable position.

Try icing your joints and applying heat to your muscles before you sleep to reduce pain. (You can also take a warm bath, or use a heating pad for no more than 20 minutes).

You can also try using a pregnancy pillow or regular pillow between your knees to reduce the pressure on your pelvic region.

How should I sit with pelvic pain during pregnancy?

Try to sit halfway between an upright and slouching position, and use the back of your chair or couch. You can also use a lumbar cushion or rolled-up towel for extra lower back support.

It may also be helpful to sit with your knees apart.

Want More?

If this post was helpful, be sure to check out:

Your Turn

Did we answer all your questions about how to sleep with pelvic pain during pregnancy? Let us know if we missed anything in the comments!

Pinterest graphic with text and a pregnant woman sleeping with a pregnancy pillow.