Being pregnant and preparing for a new family member can be a very exciting time, however the pain and discomfort that may come along with the changes of pregnancy can sometimes overshadow the excitement.
The human body is incredible in what it can do to prepare and grow a new little human, however this involves many physical and hormonal changes that need to occur within the body in order to accommodate a growing foetus!
Sometimes when these changes occur it can lead to an increase in discomfort and pain, most commonly throughout the pelvis, lower back, groin, and hips (aka the pelvic girdle). This can make it more difficult to perform your everyday activities and movements, which is not ideal – especially when you’re trying to work, run after a toddler, or just get some decent sleep!
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is very common in pregnancy. In fact, 1 in 5 pregnant people will experience some form of PGP.
So, you are probably thinking, what is pelvic girdle pain (and what on earth am I in for)?
As you can tell by the name, pelvic girdle pain is associated with pain experienced within the pelvic region. It is a condition that results in pain around the joints of the pelvis, in particular the sacroiliac joint (back of the pelvis) and pubic symphysis (front of the pelvis), but may also affect the lower back and the hips.
Image: (Pelvic pain pregnancy, 2022)
The symptoms associated with PGP can range from mild, moderate, to severe, and often can fluctuate throughout pregnancy. Pain may be experienced from as early as the first trimester, or can occur throughout pregnancy and the postpartum period.
- Pain within the front or back of the pelvis, groin, hips, lower back, or buttocks.
- Pain, discomfort, or difficulty when:
- Standing on a single leg
- Using the stairs
- Getting in and out of the car/bed
- Getting dressed (putting one leg into a pair of pants)
- Moving/rolling over in bed
What causes pelvic girdle pain?
I would like to introduce you to a little hormone called Relaxin… During pregnancy, several hormonal changes are occurring. In particular, the Relaxin hormone increases rapidly. Unfortunately, this hormone doesn’t mean you’ll become a yogi or a keen meditator; it instead helps to soften and increase the laxity (looseness) of the strong supportive ligaments which surround the joints (such as the pelvis) to accommodate your growing baby and prepare for delivery. This increase in laxity may lead to feelings of instability and pain within the pelvic girdle.
The muscles within the pelvis, hips, and lower back will begin to tighten in response to the increased laxity of the pelvic ligaments, and because of changes to your posture as your baby grows. Essentially, your muscles are now working harder in order to help provide you with added support and stability.
Other contributing factors can include:
- Previous injury or trauma to the pelvis or lower back
- Being overweight
- The position of your baby (breech positioning is more likely to contribute to more severe PGP)
- Postural changes throughout pregnancy and resultant changes to the body’s centre of gravity
What can be done?
If you have PGP, there are many things that can be done to assist in improving your pain and discomfort, these may include osteopathic treatment, exercise (stretching and strengthening) and supportive equipment or garments.
However please note it is always important to chat to your primary healthcare provider about the pain you are experiencing.
There are a range of supportive products and clothing that can be used to assist in pain and discomfort associated with pelvic girdle pain.
- Belly bands: may assist in easing back and pelvic pain by supporting your baby bump and offloading your pelvis. It can also assist in reducing the risk of muscle separation, umbilical hernia and stretch marks from pregnancy. The belly band can also be used postpartum.
- Tubi grip- Tubigrip can help support your ‘bump’ whilst you are pregnant, reducing strain on your muscles and ligaments and it may help to reduce back or pelvic pain.
- Serola SIJ belts: These belts assist to provide stability to the base of the spine and pelvis (sacroiliac joint) and act like an external ligament to provide support.
- Compression shorts and leggings: SRC shorts and leggings can be used during pregnancy and postpartum with their aim to prevent and manage pregnancy related pain.
- Taping: Kinesiology tape can be used during pregnancy and postpartum to provide support to the pelvis and assist in reducing pressure and discomfort related with pregnancy.
Osteopathic treatment throughout pregnancy aims to maximise your body’s ability to cope with pregnancy related changes, and assist with the musculoskeletal adaptations that occur during and after pregnancy such as pelvic girdle pain.
Alongside hands-on manual treatment, osteopaths can offer advice, self-help techniques, and exercise prescription that you can undertake at home to assist with your pregnancy related aches and pains.
We are here to help!
Now that you know that you don’t have to suffer in silence, we would love to help empower and support you in reducing your pain!
To book an appointment with one of our practitioners you can call us on (03) 9717 1200 or alternatively click to book online.
2022. Pelvic pain pregnancy. [image] Available at: <https://www.pelvichealing.com/diagnoses/pubic-pain
Bohan, J., 2022. Pregnancy changes. [image] Available at: <https://www.parents.com/pregnancy/signs/symptoms/a-pregnancy-symptom-timeline/>