Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a pregnancy-related pain condition. This can be a consequence of instability and limited mobility and function 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, or move from one area to another. 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.
Getting a diagnosis as early as possible can help minimise any pain and avoid long-term discomfort. If your pain is not managed, then you can contact a Woman’s Health Physiotherapist Specialist via your GP practice for an assessment. Your Physio will take a full history of your symptoms and perform a thorough clinical examination so they can understand how your symptoms are affecting you. They will also gain insight in to your physical capabilities and will work with you form a set of personalised goals in which your treatment and management will be directed towards.
Your specialist Physiotherapist can suggest several small changes to everyday activities which can reduce discomfort such as:
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.