During pregnancy, your pelvic bones and rib cage open up slightly to allow for the expanding baby inside you. The placenta produces relaxin, a hormone that softens your ligaments and allows your joints to loosen. With all of these changes taking place in your body, it’s no wonder that nature has a few glitches. Twenty per cent of pregnant women will experience some degree of pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
What causes Pelvic Girdle Pain in pregnancy?
The exact cause of PGP in pregnancy is unknown. It is unclear whether too much relaxin is to blame, or whether it is simply that some women are less able to cope with their changing postures. The sooner that PGP is diagnosed, the better, as this will allow you to start treating it.
Symptoms of Pelvic Girdle Pain in pregnancy
PGP usually causes aches and pains in the general pelvic area. Hip pain, back pain and buttock pain can also be symptoms of this disorder. Some women described the symptoms as feeling like a pulled muscle or severe muscle ache. If you think you may be experiencing PGP, speak to your healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Treatment for Pelvic Girdle Pain in pregnancy
Depending on the severity of your condition, you may be referred to a specialist for expert advice on how to deal with the discomfort caused by PGP. In the meantime, the following points may help you to manage any discomfort:
- Wear flat, comfortable shoes
- Ensure your back is well supported when sitting. A straight back is much better than a slump
- Sleeping with a pillow between your knees may help to keep your pelvis correctly aligned in the night
- If climbing the stairs is painful, try taking them one at a time
- Don’t lift any heavy objects – unfortunately this includes toddlers who might be looking up at you wanting a cuddle
- Don’t partake in any one sided activities such as vacuuming or decorating
- Slow down. Taking your time getting into cars, walking to work and getting out of bed reduces the risk of causing further damage
Birth and Pelvic Girdle Pain
PGP should not affect the type of birth you have. Unless you have particularly severe PGP, you should be able to give birth naturally. You may find that a water birth provides extra support during labour, and takes pressure off your hips. Speak to your healthcare provider to see if a water birth is an option for you.
Most women find that the pain disappears straight after the birth. For a very small number of women, symptoms may persist. If you find you are still suffering in the weeks following the birth, speak to your healthcare provider.
Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2018. All rights reserved.