Our pelvic girdle is made up of three stable structures; two hip bones (ilium) and the sacrum. The joints where the two ilium attach posteriorly onto the sacrum are called your sacroiliac joints and where they attach anteriorly is called the pubic symphysis
These joints are connected by strong supportive ligaments and musculature. During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called Relaxin which softens these joints and ligaments and can cause instability and irritation. These joints need to soften throughout your pregnancy to help your pelvis get ready to birth your baby.
1 in 5 women will experience PGP throughout pregnancy
- Previous history of lower back or pelvic pain prior to pregnancy
- Pelvic girdle pain in past pregnancies
- Obesity – or higher body mass index
- Physically demanding job whilst pregnant
- Lack of Physical Activity
- Pain over the pubic bone at the front
- Pain across one or both sides of your lower back
- Pain radiating into hips, buttocks and thighs
- Pain or discomfort when walking, going upstairs/hills
- Pain standing on one leg (getting dressed)
- Pain when turning over in bed.
When to Seek Help:
As pregnancy progresses you may start to notice a few more aches and pains, which are quite normal, however if the pain intensifies or doesn’t get better seek help from your Physiotherapist. The earlier the diagnosis the better the outcome and the more comfortable you will be throughout the rest of your pregnancy.
- Specific Exercise Prescription by your Physiotherapist
- Manual Mobilisations of your pelvis, hips and lower back to ensure all joints are moving efficiently.
- Aquatic Exercise – to offload your joints and promote better range of motion
- Specific Taping or Braces to help support the pelvis
- Advice and education regarding labour positions and what movements to avoid exacerbation as pregnancy progresses.
- Standing on one leg to get changed or put shoes on.
- Crossing your legs
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Going up/downstairs
- Carrying baby on one hip
- Walking for extended periods of time
Tips to Cope with PGP in Pregnancy:
- Rest as much as possible
- Continue to exercise within your pain limits.
- Take the stairs one step at a time.
- Sleep with a pillow between your legs
- Ask for help with strenuous household chores especially if it involves heavy lifting.
- If you have to carry heavy objects, try and carry smaller loads and but make more trips.
- Always wear flat, comfortable and supportive shoes.