For many women pregnancy and becoming a mum should be a wonderful time but for around 1 in 5 women it isn’t. Your body has grown and nurtured a little human and this can be hard work and
bring up feelings and physical changes nobody told you about! There is a lot of mixed information out there about pain in or around the pelvis such as PGP, SPD, SIJ and alignment problems.
I remember when I first started treating women with pregnancy related pelvic problems and my
mentor Jilly told me something that has stuck with me…. Pregnancy isn’t meant to hurt! Although it is common (1 in 5) for women to experience some discomfort during pregnancy it is not normal and it is also very treatable.
Have you developed the pregnancy waddle? Are you struggling to turn over in bed? Are you ok for a little bit when you’re up and moving but in agony by the end of the day? Does everything hurt even when you sit still too long?
Your body goes through a lot of changes and it should adapt to the new demands that are being
placed on it. This can be carrying a tiny little human for 9 months but it can also be dealing with the awkward and repetitive positions you find yourself in with a new born and growing child. Your body has many ways to adapt to these new demands and allow you to carry on moving without a second thought; however this is usually the result of muscles and your pelvic joints working harder than they are designed for. Over time they will start to let you know when they aren’t happy! So listen to your body when those aches and pains kick in and moderate your activity.
Tips for managing:
Exercise is okay! Our body is made to move, especially during pregnancy. It is important that
you continue with your exercises regime to maintain strength and body conditioning but
also for your general wellbeing. If it includes weight lifting just adapt the weight accordingly
or speak to your PT or physiotherapist for advice.
Being active is important but resting is too.
Pick the trips or tasks (including housework!) that are top of your list, don’t try to get
everything done in 1 day and make sure you have some time to rest. Get your family and
friends to help out when needed.
Your pelvis likes symmetry, so putting weight through both sides equally can reduce how
irritated things become by the end of the day. Try not to stand on one leg or hang off your
hip. Keep your legs parallel and supported in bed with a pillow or pregnancy pillow. Try to
avoid crossed legs and stand up before turning to move, there’s no rush. Sit down sideways
in to the car and swivel round to get in with your legs together.
Many women try pelvic belts and there are lots of different ones available online. These can
act as a short term measure but won’t fix the problem. It is worth having an assessment with
a physiotherapist to determine if a belt will help.
Listen to your body!
(Remember that lying flat on your back when more than 12-16 weeks pregnant isn’t advisable)
For further information you can download this booklet provided by the UK Pelvic, Obstetric and
Gynaecological Physiotherapy group here: http://pogp.csp.org.uk/publications/pregnancy-related-pelvic-girdle-pain-mothers-be-new-mothers
If you’re in pain, struggling with your usual exercise routine or looking to get back to exercises
following delivery physiotherapy can help. We always advise you to let your midwife or GP know just to check everything is ok. They will usually refer you to a physiotherapist for an assessment and to help get your pelvis moving well with the strength it needs to support bump and baby after delivery.