Pulsating feelings in your cervix could indicate your baby is moving or hiccuping. Sometimes, it could occur due to increased blood flow in your cervix and constipation. It’s usually just uncomfortable and not painful. However, if you’re approaching your due date and experiencing sequential pulses in your cervix, you should go to the hospital immediately. A pulsating feeling in the cervix could be due to your cervix dilating and effacing as it prepares your body for delivery.
It is pretty scary to feel unfamiliar symptoms down your belly during pregnancy.
Experienced moms would tell you that each ache and twitch down there are pretty normal and are signs that your little one is healthy and moving.
However, it’s unsettling not to know if these are warning signs or not, especially when you’re on your first-time pregnancy.
If you’re worried about the pulsating feeling in your cervix, below are possible reasons you’re experiencing it.
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6 possible causes of pulsating feeling in your cervix
1. Your baby’s moving!
At 16-18 weeks of your pregnancy, you must start to feel your baby moving. But, if it’s your first pregnancy, it won’t be until 20-24 weeks gestation when you notice it.
The sensation may vary or change as time progresses along with the growth and development of your baby.
But usual signs of baby movements include:
- Small, tiny kicks
- Flutters (like butterflies in your stomach)
- Quick swishing
- Rolling or tumbling
In the later stages of pregnancy, you may feel more distinct and frequent movements that usually happen at night or when the baby is awake. You will most likely notice them when sitting or standing, lying down, and concentrating on them.
At week 36 and toward the end of your pregnancy, you’ll feel like your baby has moved down to your pelvic area. Thus, they have less room to move, causing more pressure and distinct pulses.
You may notice more movements from them too. Many women experience ten fetal movements within just 30 minutes. But don’t worry if you count less within that period. Give yourself the time of up to two hours.
Your baby’s movements may cause them to bump against your cervix, creating a pulsating sensation.
What to do when the baby’s not moving?
A healthy baby usually moves a lot, so contact your doctor immediately if you notice fewer movements.
You may do the following to wake your baby if they’re not moving a lot:
- Drink a glass of cold water
- Eat a small snack
- Push gently on your stomach
Frequent fetal movements may give you discomfort, aches, and stress.
Below are some tips to help you with that:
- Lie down on your left side propped with pillows when sleeping
- Eat healthy foods
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water
- Regular exercise
- Go to bed early at the same time every night
- Take frequent rest
- Wear a support brace
2. Your baby’s hiccuping!
Like hiccups in kids and adults, the reason for fetal hiccups is also unknown. But theory says that it could signify your baby’s lung is maturing.
As you move to week 27 or your third trimester, you may experience your baby’s hiccups. These usually feel like on-and-off cramps, pulses, and muscle spasms, like following a rhythm.
Some moms may feel this as tiny heartbeats. You may experience 4-7 pulses before it stops, then it starts again, which could last for 7-15 minutes several times a day. But, the number of pulses and length varies for every pregnant mom.
If fetal hiccups are hard to identify for first-time moms, these are primarily felt in one area of your belly when sitting or lying still, unlike fetal movements, which you could feel in the top and bottom and side to side of your belly.
While hiccups are normal during your baby’s growth inside your womb, frequent hiccups felt after 32 weeks of pregnancy could indicate complications of your baby’s umbilical cord.
So, if you notice changes in your baby’s hiccups, like they would go on more than three times a day, lasting more than 15 minutes in each episode, you should tell your doctor immediately.
4. Increased blood flow
During pregnancy, your cervix changes to prepare for labor and delivery. An increased blood flow is one of these changes, which helps to nourish and support the growing fetus. As a result, it can cause a pulsating sensation or a feeling of pressure in the area. It’s a normal sensation, but contact your healthcare provider immediately if other symptoms occur, such as bleeding or cramping.
During pregnancy, hormonal changes and the pressure of the growing uterus on the intestines can slow the digestive system and lead to constipation. It can cause increased pressure in the rectum and lower part of the uterus, resulting in a pulsating sensation in your cervix.
It’s usually not a serious concern but can be uncomfortable and painful.
Practicing good bowel habits like drinking plenty of water, eating a high-fiber diet, and staying active to manage constipation.
As the cervix begins to dilate and efface to prepare for delivery, you may experience a range of sensations, including contractions, pressure, and a pulsating feeling in your cervix. It happens due to the increased blood flow and tension in the area as your body prepares for childbirth.
Complications of pulsating feeling in the cervix
In rare cases, prolonged pulsating sensations in your cervix during pregnancy can lead to umbilical cord compression or prolapse.
Remember that if you are experiencing prolonged or intense pulsating sensations in your cervix and notice any other unusual symptoms seek medical attention immediately.
1. Umbilical cord prolapse
The umbilical cord resembles a tube connecting your baby to your placenta. It supplies oxygen-rich blood and vital nutrients to your baby and serves as the exit line for its wastes.
Ideally, your baby must come first before its umbilical cord during birth. However, in rare cases, the umbilical cord may slip through the cervix and into the vagina before the baby. This condition is called umbilical cord prolapse, which is dangerous because the baby may compress its umbilical cord into your cervix.
If you have this condition and are approaching the due date, you may feel a protruding part of the cord in your vagina after your water breaks. When this happens, you must call your doctor immediately.
2. Umbilical cord compression
Compressions may result from an umbilical cord prolapse which often happens during labor. However, there are also chances that the umbilical cord might be compressed during the last weeks of pregnancy when your baby is moving too much.
While some mild and periodic compressions are harmless, too much compression will disrupt the oxygen supply and blood into your baby, which can lead to complications like:
- Decrease of oxygen and build-up of CO2 in the blood leading to respiratory acidosis
- Variable deceleration or the decrease in your baby’s heart rate
- Brain damage
If your water breaks before week 37 of pregnancy, there is a high chance that you’ll deliver your baby much earlier, and it may also cause umbilical cord prolapse leading to compression.
So, if you have early water breakage or preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPROM), you must see your doctor immediately.
Complications of your baby’s umbilical cord may show no symptoms but can only be detected through:
- Fetal Doppler test
Your doctor may infuse a saline solution into your uterus during labor or increase your oxygen through a ventilator to avoid the risk of umbilical compression and increase the blood flow in your baby’s umbilical cord.
If tests show that your baby develops distress that causes its heart rate to drop, you may need to deliver your baby through a Caesarean or C-section.
1. Why is it throbbing down there?
Pregnancy comes with many aches and pain in your belly and vagina, especially in the last week of your term.
There could be many reasons why you’re feeling some pain down there, including:
–Lightning crotch. It refers to a sudden and sharp or shooting pain in your vagina, rectum, and pelvic area. The pain usually makes anyone stop in their tracks.
–Braxton-Hicks contractions. It may feel like real contractions, but they’re just unpainful tightening or squeezing sensations.
–Ligament pain. It usually occurs in your early pregnancy as your belly expands to support your baby’s growth.
–Constipation. The increased levels of the hormone progesterone in your body could cause it.
–Trapped wind. It refers to the gas which may cause bloating, burping, or flatulence.
These should go away when you
change position, rest, take a warm bath, poo or pass wind, and take a prenatal massage.
However, you should be able to distinguish real contractions, which feel like intense and painful tightening or cramping that starts in your back, moves up to your front, growing more intensely and painfully (in short intervals) over time.
It may indicate that you’re about to have active labor. In such cases, please call an ambulance immediately.
2. How does it feel when your cervix is dilating?
Some moms may or may not experience symptoms when their cervix dilates (opening). But, before your cervix could open, your cervix should thin down first (efface). There are no distinct symptoms when your cervix is effacing and dilating, as you may confuse them with other sensations.
However, when your cervix is thinning down during the early stage of your labor, you may or may not feel irregular contractions or spasms, which could be less painful than labor contractions. You may also notice the loss of your mucus plug, increased vaginal discharge, and a feeling like your baby has dropped lower into your pelvis.
Some women may also need a cervical cerclage or stitch when their cervix opens up (dilates) much earlier than their due date or if they have a weak cervix. It will avoid premature birth or miscarriages.
While pregnancy is one of the most beautiful journeys of a woman’s life, it also means dealing with many sensations that may sometimes confuse you if you’re already in your labor or if it’s just one of those uncomfortable and painful feelings pregnant women typically experience.
If the pulsating feeling in your cervix is nothing more than just your baby’s hiccups, it should not be painful and tend to go away.
Any discomfort felt during these times should resolve when you lie down on your left side while keeping a pillow underneath, getting regular exercise, drinking more fluids, taking frequent rest, or having a prenatal massage.
However, to keep your mind at peace, visit your doctor immediately, especially if you’re experiencing pulses in your cervix longer than 15 minutes, more than three times a day.