The latter part of the third trimester is when the pregnancy bump gets huge. A sure moment that comes to every mom is to decide whether to pick up that fallen ladle or let it stay on the floor.
As the pregnancy progress and the mother start sensing the baby’s weight increasing week by week, vaginal heaviness becomes one the common symptoms they complain about.
However, the growing baby is just one reason behind the uneasiness. Pelvic pressure can be an outcome of a lot of contributing factors.
Reasons Behind Vaginal Heaviness
Expanding Uterus And Growing Baby
Your pelvic muscles support your lower abdominal organs like intestines, rectum, and bladder. When the fetus starts developing, these muscles easily bear its tiny weight. However, they are likely to come under pressure as the uterus grows along with the baby, who starts gaining weight progressively.
One of the reasons of vaginal heaviness is the high levels of hormone relaxin. Relaxin basically makes a pregnant woman’s work easier by loosening the pelvic joints and relaxing the ligaments. By providing this flexibility, the hormone, in turn, assists in the process of birth, making it easier for the baby’s head to pass through the mother’s pelvis.
The problem arises when your baby is heavy enough to put pressure on the pelvic muscles, causing them to stretch and weaken.
Weight Of The Placenta And Umbilical Cord
It is not just your baby’s weight that you are holding in there. The weight of the placenta, the amniotic fluid, and the umbilical cord adds onto the pressure experienced by the pelvic muscles, causing vaginal heaviness. This includes the weight other than your baby’s, who would be weighing between 5.5 to 6.6 pounds by the time you are 37 to 40 weeks into pregnancy.
Lightning Or Descending of The Baby
Before the labor commences, the baby will descend further into the pelvis—which is called lightening or engaging. Moms might feel that the baby will pop out from below the moment they stand or move up and down the stairs. Though your baby is held up by your body until labor begins, the vaginal pressure is inescapable at this point.
You may perceive that your baby’s head is right between your legs—this sensation of the baby engaging in the pelvic cavity may lead a mother to walk in a waddling gait. Funny? Not really. However, it means the time to push is near.
Vaginal heaviness could be accompanied by mild pain. Chances are this sensation will remain until your delivery, probably, become more intense.
We don’t intend to scare you—so, what can you do about it? Here are a few ways to cope with this heaviness.
1. Pelvic exercises, especially Kegel exercises can help in strengthening of the pelvic floor muscles and even assist you in labor. Here is your guide to pelvic exercises.
2. If your heavy belly is also giving you a backache, try a belly support called belly sling or pregnancy belts that can support your belly, hips and lower back.
3. Sleep on your left side as much as possible—this will help your baby attain an optimal position for birth.
4. Keep your feet slightly elevated when sitting or sleeping. This improves blood circulation while the veins in your lower body are already working hard to pump the blood back up to your heart.
5. Pregnancy massage, especially a pelvic massage can help ease the discomfort—make sure you consult a trained therapist.
6. Avoid sudden movements or jerks. Opt for doing prenatal yoga or gentle exercises like swimming or walking regularly.
7. Have a relaxing bath with warm water or apply heat packs on your back to ease back pain. Make sure the water is not hot—hot water can create multiple risks for your baby.
If you are experiencing acute unbearable pain, feel dizzy or feverish, develop swelling in hands, face, and feet, or are experiencing vaginal bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. Vaginal heaviness accompanied by sharp pain or bleeding are signs that something is wrong with your baby—make a rush to the hospital.
Vaginal heaviness is common during pregnancy and your body is capable of dealing with it. It is one sure sign that you are going to meet your baby soon.