Pelvic pain in pregnancy: How to relieve it and when to be concerned

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  • If you're struggling with pelvic pain in pregnancy, there are ways to ease it.

    Pelvic pain in pregnancy can be a real burden, often affecting your day to day life. As if pregnancy didn’t come with enough new experiences, you shouldn’t have to contend with pelvic pain as well as there are things you can do to ease the discomfort.

    The NHS says that pelvic pain in pregnancy is sometimes called ‘pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain’ (PGP) or ‘symphysis pubis dysfunction’ (SPD).

    PGP is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms. These are caused by the stiffness of your pelvic joints or the joints moving unevenly at either the back or front of your pelvis.
     Although PGP is not harmful to your baby, it can be painful for you. You may also find the pain is worse when you walk or take the stairs. It can also worsen when you stand on one leg or turn over in bed.

    Is it normal for your pelvis to hurt during pregnancy?

    Pain is never normal. It’s a warning sign from our body that something is off, like an alarm system.

    Amy Hoover, in-house physical therapist at P.Volve explains that pregnancy comes with rapid physical changes in the body.

    “One of the major changes is widening of the pelvis and relaxation of the ligaments that stabilise our joints. The joints of the pelvis, including the pubic symphysis and the sacroiliac joints, become more lax. This allows the widening of the pelvic ring and preparation for delivery. This extra movement in the joints is the leading cause of pelvic pain during pregnancy. Although these changes are normal, pain is not. When our joints change and relax rather quickly, our muscles may need to play catch up to keep up with these changes. In the process, our bodies try to compensate for the change in the mechanics of movement and the alarm system goes off.’

    READ MORE: How to deal with pregnancy cramping, insomnia, headaches and other conditions

    When should I be concerned about pelvic pain during pregnancy?

    Pelvic pain during pregnancy can be debilitating. It can affect our ability to function. In fact, simple tasks such as rolling over in bed or getting in and out of the car become difficult or painful.

    Amy explains: “When pelvic pain affects your daily movement or function, it’s time to get help. If the hip muscles are not strong and flexible, then the extra work they have to do to help stabilise the pelvis becomes too much and they tighten up.”

    She adds that this is one of the major causes of sciatic pain during pregnancy. “The tight hip muscles press on the nerves that run through that area. This can cause pain in the hip, back, and even down the leg. If the front of the pelvis in the pubic area is unstable, this causes sharp pain when we shift weight or roll over in bed. The inner thigh muscles and pelvic floor can sometimes get tight trying to stabilise the pubic joint.’

    How do you relieve pelvic pain during pregnancy?

    Pregnant woman exercising to reduce pelvic pain

    Getty

    The good news is that all of these things can be prevented or improved with pregnancy Yoga and some safe exercises during pregnancy.

    ‘If you are newly pregnant, continuing or starting a program for core and hip strengthening and mobility can help your muscles keep up with your changing body,’ reveals Amy.

    ‘If you are in the middle to later stages of pregnancy and experience pelvic pain, you can still work your core and hip muscles and gradually strengthen to improve symptoms. Seeing a physiotherapist can help problem-solve where you need to work.’

    She adds that opting for hip-opening stretches, gluteal strengthening, and deep core strengthening can significantly reduce symptoms.

    ‘Being mindful of activating the pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles before movement can help stabilise the pelvis and reduce stress on the joints. You may find relief with wearing a pelvic support belt during pregnancy. These can give your pelvis the stability it needs while you work on the muscle strength. P.volve is an excellent low-impact  method for improving hip mobility and strength, muscle activation, and core strength. It is a safe and effective method for all stages of pregnancy. We also now have workouts specific to each stage of pregnancy on our streaming platform.’

    The NHS says that wearing flat, supportive shoes is a good start and can help relieve pain. When taking the stairs, try to take them one at a time, or go backward or on your bottom. They also state that it can help to find a new sleeping position, and if you want to have sex, consider different positions that won’t cause so much pain.