You may not have expected to struggle with butt pain during pregnancy, but you’re not alone. Pregnancy-related buttock pain is a common complaint among pregnant women, and the length of time it hurts can vary.
Sometimes this pain is treatable during pregnancy, and birth can help relieve the discomfort for many women. Other times it extends past pregnancy into the postpartum phase.
While carrying and growing a baby, several different conditions can cause butt pain, and you may need a doctor. If you feel a sharp pain or burning sensation in your rectum area, finding the cause can give you possible treatment options.
Let’s get to the bottom of the problem of pregnancy-related butt pain and choose the safest pain relief options for both you and your baby. This article will look at the causes of butt pain in pregnant women and what you can do about it.
Butt Pain During Pregnancy
At any time during pregnancy, butt pain can develop and can be caused by several different health conditions. The pain in your butt can range anywhere from mild to moderate to severe. Here are some common causes.
Anyone can develop hemorrhoids, also known as piles, but the National Institute of Health estimates that almost 40% of pregnant women can experience hemorrhoids as a direct cause of pain in the buttocks.
Hemorrhoids can occur when swelling and inflammation irritate the blood vessels and tissue in your rectum or around your anus, resulting in what feels like bulging lumps. Some cause pain and some do not. Some can even bleed.
Similar to varicose veins, hemorrhoids can be caused by pressure from pregnancy-related weight gain or straining with constipation. Fluctuating hormones and blood volume may cause fluctuation in the hemorrhoids, too, although straining is the most common cause.
In later pregnancy, the weight of the baby + uterus can compress the vena cava, the main vein that keeps blood moving in the lower body. When vein compression occurs, it can reduce the vein’s ability to drain from the rectal area.
They can also be acquired due to strenuous physical activity, poor diet, or genetic disposition. If you have hemorrhoids, you may:
Feel the pain, itching, or discomfort in or near your anus.
Experience anal bleeding and anal pain during pregnancy.
Feel lumps and swelling in your rectum area.
Hemorrhoids can be:
Internal — inside the rectum.
External — outside the rectum on the anus.
Prolapsed — hemorrhoid that has swollen so much that it pushes through from the inside to the outside of the rectum.
Thrombosed — can be any form of hemorrhoid as above, but the blood has also clotted together, causing a hard lump; such thrombosis can also lead to an infected hemorrhoid.
If you’re experiencing or want to be proactive about having hemorrhoids stick around for the treatment section of this article for helpful tips for addressing or preventing them.
As pregnancy progresses, especially into the second and third trimesters, extra weight from you and your baby may put additional pressure on bones and nerves, which can cause you to experience pain in your buttocks area.
The further you get into pregnancy, your expanding uterus and growing baby takes up more room, shift organs around, stretch ligaments, and can cause butt and pelvic girdle pain.
Back, Tail Bone, And Sacroiliac Conditions
Buttock pain may result if you’re experiencing low back, sacroiliac, tailbone, or pelvic problems, even in early pregnancy. Often, pain caused by the spine can result in a burning, cramping sensation, or shooting pain into the butt and surrounding areas, even down your legs.
Conditions like herniated discs, impingement syndrome, or coccydynia can occur, especially in the third trimester, when some women start carrying more weight than they ever have before, pressing on pelvic joints or the spine, and causing posture changes. Combined with the loosening of ligaments from progesterone, a perfect storm for pain can emerge.
One study shows that sciatica can affect around 20% of pregnant women, causing symptoms of numbness, tingling, weakness, and pain in your back, buttocks, hips, and legs. This results from extra weight and a growing uterus putting pressure on the large sciatic nerve running under your buttocks.
Contractions can cause pain not only in the abdomen and pelvic area but the surrounding areas, like the lower back, hips, and buttocks, too. Each woman may experience contractions in different places with various sensations, from light pressure to intense pain.
Contractions briefly come and go, so if your pain is steady, it’s not likely a contraction. However, if you’re in early pregnancy and think you may be experiencing contractions, contact your doctor or midwife.
How To Treat Butt Pain Pregnancy
In pregnancy, finding the most natural and safe ways to relieve your butt pain can protect both you and your baby. There are several treatments you can try to ease pain in your buttocks, hips, lower back, and sciatic nerve areas, depending on the cause of the pain. Let’s go over some options that may reduce your butt pain while pregnant and can also be used in your postpartum phase.
Should I Take Medicine For Butt Pain?
Research is limited, but there are red flags on deciding to take over-the-counter medicines like ibuprofen and acetaminophen, as well as opioid pain relievers, especially if you’re a pregnant woman, even though physicians prescribe them and many pregnant women take them.
All pharmaceuticals have side effects, and when your body is in such a delicate state of forming and growing another human life, you may want to avoid any treatment options that can do more harm than good.
Be cautious, research, and find a health professional to help you find the source of your pain and heal it instead of masking the underlying problem with painkillers. Let’s look at how to treat hemorrhoids and any other causes of butt pain when you’re pregnant.
Treating Pregnancy Hemorrhoids
Sometimes, typical hemorrhoids can be taken care of at home, but make sure to take care of them before they worsen. The amount of swelling can fluctuate from one day to the next depending on hormone levels and how easy your bowel movements are, and sometimes birth can make them worse from the downward force.
Many times the pain lessens or resolves in the postpartum as hormone levels re-balance. Here are some home remedy tips for treating hemorrhoids and preventing constipation during or after pregnancy:
Use side lying when resting to reduce the pressure on your vena cava, and avoid excess sitting or standing.
Get a comfortable hemorrhoid pillow for when you are sitting.
Use witch hazel on a cotton round, pad, or tampon to naturally reduce the pain and swelling.
Apply hemorrhoid creams with natural and safe ingredients.
Eat a healthy diet with adequate fiber-filled foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to promote a smooth bowel movement.
Use a warm, not hot, sitz bath with Epsom salts and perineal-healing herbs.
If you are experiencing significant bleeding from hemorrhoids, seek medical advice. Although rare, bleeding hemorrhoids can result in iron deficiency anemia.
Treating Butt Pain From Other Causes
Here are some types of treatments and products that may help butt pain if you need to handle causes such as sciatica, pelvic girdle pain, muscle tension, or stress on your joints and spine.
Investing in sore muscle massage creams may be an option to reduce pain, but always check with your healthcare provider before trying pain relievers while you’re expecting.
Pregnancy support body pillows are designed to support a mother’s knees and belly during pregnancy while she rests and sleeps.
Some women with sciatic nerve pain during pregnancy can’t walk as they usually would and end up needing acupuncture, which is the painless insertion of ultra-thin needles into targeted areas of the body. This study shows that acupuncture is more effective at treating sciatica than conventional Western medicine methods.
Loosening the piriformis muscle in the butt, legs, and hips with positions like child’s pose, standing hamstring stretches, and seated stretches.
Using a TENS unit.
Chiropractic adjustment or physiotherapy.
Tackling the inflammation with an anti-inflammatory diet.
Avoid prolonged sitting or standing in the same position.
Prenatal massage with a myofascial release that intends to relax the muscles causing the pain.
Warm shower or bath with Epsom salts.
Swimming and aquatic exercises.
Foam rollers that can gently press out tense muscles.
Belly support belt.
Acupressure mats like the Prana mat.
How To Prevent Butt Cramps While Pregnant
If you’re looking for ways to prevent buttocks pain and butt cramps during early pregnancy or while you’re pregnant, while there’s no guarantee it won’t occur, there are a few things you can try to avoid this situation:
Adequate hydration and electrolytes like magnesium, potassium, and calcium. A quality prenatal vitamin may help you receive and absorb necessary nutrients to help your muscles not cramp up.
Eating a well-balanced diet to avoid nutrient deficiencies and constipation.
Continuing to be active throughout pregnancy with gentle exercises and stretching, avoiding long periods of inactivity.
Several things could be causing your buttock pain during pregnancy, like hemorrhoids or baby weight creating more pressure on your joints and spine. Sciatica and pelvic pain during pregnancy may be relieved with stretches, staying active, and avoiding prolonged sitting.
If the pain you’re experiencing does not improve, find a trusted medical professional to help you locate the cause and the best treatment for your condition. If you experience severe pain, loss of bowel or bladder control, or large amounts of blood loss you should seek immediate medical attention.
MANA adheres to strict sourcing guidelines and abstains from utilizing tertiary references. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research from reputable medical associations and institutions to ensure the accuracy of our articles. For more information regarding our editorial process, please refer to the provided resources.
Vazquez, J.C. (2010). Constipation, haemorrhoids, and heartburn in pregnancy. BMJ clinical evidence, [online] 2010, p.1411. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3217736/.
and, D. (2023). Definition & Facts of Hemorrhoids. [online] National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/hemorrhoids/definition-facts.
Lirette, L.S., Chaiban, G., Tolba, R. and Eissa, H. (2014). Coccydynia: an overview of the anatomy, etiology, and treatment of coccyx pain. The Ochsner journal, [online] 14(1), pp.84–7. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3963058/.
Hall, H., Lauche, R., Adams, J., Steel, A., Broom, A. and Sibbritt, D. (2016). Healthcare utilisation of pregnant women who experience sciatica, leg cramps and/or varicose veins: A cross-sectional survey of 1835 pregnant women. Women and Birth, [online] 29(1), pp.35–40. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2015.07.184.
LWW. (2023). HEMORRHOIDS CAN BE A SOURCE OF OBSCURE GI BLEEDING THAT… : Official journal of the American College of Gastroenterology | ACG. [online] Available at: https://journals.lww.com/ajg/fulltext/2004/10001/hemorrhoids_can_be_a_source_of_obscure_gi_bleeding.481.aspx.
Ji, M., Wang, X., Chen, M., Shen, Y., Zhang, X. and Yang, J. (2015). The Efficacy of Acupuncture for the Treatment of Sciatica: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2015, pp.1–12. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/192808.