Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a pregnancy discomfort that causes pain. This can be a consequence of instability and limitation of mobility and functioning in any of the three pelvic joints. PGP can affect your pubic symphysis joint around the front of your pelvis and/or the sacroiliac joints around the back. It can sometime effect both areas at the same time or your pain may move about to one area then the other. PGP can also be felt with pregnancy related lower back pain (PLBP).
As the body changes during pregnancy, your centre of gravity will alter which consequently impacts posture, biomechanics and muscle activity. Your muscles will need to work in different ways to try and support you. It is very importance not to forget your pelvic floor exercises during this time. Gentle exercise can still be achieved during pregnancy – for advice on this you can contact our Physiotherapy service or take a look at our website on Obstetrics & pelvic floor dysfunction.
Using management advice and coping strategies can help ease your symptoms. Learning how to perform functional tasks slightly differently during pregnancy can reduce the repetitive mechanical load on structures.
Pelvic, Obstetric Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP) highlight the following as common signs of PGP:
Getting a diagnosis as early as possible can help minimise any pain and avoid long-term discomfort. If you pain is not managed, then you can contact a Woman’s Health Physiotherapist Specialist via your GP practice for an assessment.
Many women have found that making small changes to everyday activities can reduce their discomfort. POGP suggests trying the following:
Many women can have a spontaneous vaginal delivery if they want to. Talk to your midwife about your pain relief options, as well as alternative positions for birth, such as supported kneeling or side lying with pillows/knees to chest. Using a birth pool may help you move around more freely without pain.
A cesarean section is not usually needed or recommended for women with PGP, as this might slow down your recovery.
Your healthcare provider will refer you to a Physiotherapist who will make an assessment and put together a treatment plan. This could include:
While PGP in pregnancy is common, it isn’t normal. You should always seek help if you think you are suffering with it. It is a treatable condition that you can get support to manage. If however, you find that your symptoms are not easing with management advice or are more constant i.e at rest as much as with movement you should seek advice from your GP.