Pelvic Girdle Pain Relief During Pregnancy
Bullet Point Summary -
- Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is common during pregnancy and can cause discomfort in the pelvic region.
- PGP is caused by hormonal changes, increased weight, and weakened pelvic floor muscles.
- Risk factors for PGP include previous pelvic damage, higher BMI, and a history of lower back or pelvic pain.
- While PGP cannot be completely prevented, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and doing safe exercises like walking and prenatal yoga can help.
- Treatment options for PGP relief include rest, exercises, heat or cold therapy, manual therapy, hydrotherapy (with caution), acupuncture, and pregnancy support belts.
- Practicing good posture, avoiding heavy lifting, and making lifestyle modifications can help manage PGP.
Pelvic girdle pain is a fairly common experience for many pregnant women. Unfortunately, this pain can significantly impact a mother's daily activities and well-being during pregnancy. However, with the proper knowledge and strategies, you can effectively manage this pain and improve your well-being.
Pelvic girdle pain is discomfort around the pelvic region during pregnancy. This article explores the causes of pelvic pain, risk factors, and interventions for relieving this pain.
What Is Pelvic Girdle Pain?
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is pain felt at the front of the pelvis over the pubic joint or pain at the back of the pelvis near the sacroiliac joint. Also, if you feel pain on one or both sides of the pelvis, you likely have PGP. You may also feel referred PGP at the lower abdominal, vaginal, inner thigh, or groin region.
Causes and Symptoms of Pelvic Girdle Pain
PGP results from hormonal and biochemical changes in a woman's body as it prepares for childbirth. During this period, the ligaments around the pelvic area loosen, and the increased weight adds pressure to that area, increasing pain and instability.
You have PGP if you experience symptoms like pain in the lower back, groin, buttocks, and hips during pregnancy. Also, you may have PGP if you have difficulty carrying out simple tasks like walking or climbing stairs.
The causes of PGP in pregnancy include injury, high BMI, arthritis, trauma, rapid weight gain, and weak pelvic floor muscles. In addition, the baby's increasing weight adds pressure to the pelvic floor muscles. Also, it pushes your center of gravity forward, challenging your balance and causing PGP.
What Are the Risk Factors of Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy?
According to the NHS, PGP is estimated to affect 1 in 5 pregnant women. The risk factors for this condition include previous damage to the pelvis, the weight and position of the baby, and a history of lower back or pelvic pain. In addition, if you are overweight, have a physically demanding job, or have had PGP in a previous pregnancy, you have a higher risk of developing PGP.
How to Prevent Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy
PGP is a part of pregnancy, and you can only minimize its occurrence and severity. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle throughout pregnancy can help reduce this pain. In addition, you can strengthen your pelvis by exercising regularly. Swimming, walking, and prenatal yoga are safe and effective.
Furthermore, maintain a good posture and avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods. It is best to sit down when getting dressed or undressed. When standing, put equal weight on each leg. Try to remain active but avoid doing things that make the pain worse.
How to Relieve Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy
Your physiotherapist at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy will suggest treatment options that are most suitable for you. Pain relief interventions for PGP include.
Your physiotherapist will advise you to rest regularly and avoid movements that may aggravate your pain. You will also receive advice on the best positions for movement and rest. You will also learn how to pace your activities to reduce your pain.
Physiotherapy Barrie, ON, will recommend exercises to strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. These exercises will also improve your posture and balance, making your spine more stable. Ensure you carry out exercises your physiotherapist prescribes as they are safer and more effective.
Safe exercises during pregnancy include walking, yoga, swimming, and riding a stationary bike. Low-impact aerobic activities are also advisable because they don't put as much strain on your body as high-impact aerobics.
Your physiotherapist in Barrie, ON, may also recommend strength training to build muscle. It is best to follow recommendations on how much you can lift.
Heat or Cold Therapy
Heat or cold therapy can also help manage PGP. Apply a warm compress or take a warm bath to relax your muscles and relieve pain. You can also use cold packs wrapped in cold to numb the area to the discomfort.
You can apply ice over painful joints around your pelvis for 20 minutes. Afterward, rest for at least 40 minutes before reapplying ice.
Manual therapy involves hands-on treatment of the muscles and joints. Your physiotherapist will mobilize your joints through massage therapy and chiropractic care to get them back in position and help them move normally. Manual therapy should not be painful and should relieve your pain.
Hydrotherapy involves using water to soothe PGP. This technique requires submersion in warm water to promote relaxation, stress relief, and pain relief. Before using this technique, ensure the tub you're lounging in is clean.
Although hydrotherapy is excellent for relieving PGP, this therapy is off-limits if you're experiencing active bleeding or have ruptured membranes. Check-in with a professional at Concept of Movement Physiotherapy before using this method for PGP relief.
Acupuncture helps to ease pelvic pain and back pain during pregnancy. Back pain therapy Barrie uses acupuncture to relieve pelvic pain and also prepare your body for labor.
Pregnancy Support Belt
Support belts provide pain relief for PGP. It also prevents low back pain by stabilizing the pelvis and improving balance. It is best to start wearing a support belt during the second trimester through a few weeks postpartum.
Tips for Relieving Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy
- Avoid sitting with crossed legs. If you need to sit on the floor, use a stool instead of sitting cross-legged
- Avoid heavy lifting. Bend your hips and knees when lifting objects. Ensure you keep the natural curve in your back.
- Sit correctly. Prop your feet on a footstool when sitting. Ensure your bottom is in the chair.
- Sit when dressing. This reduces the shearing forces on your pelvis, especially if you must stand on a single leg.
- Stand properly. Practice good posture by aligning your spine, keeping your shoulders relaxed, and avoiding slouching. Use supportive footwear to distribute your weight evenly on both feet when standing.
- Take smaller steps when walking. Smaller steps decrease the shearing forces through your pelvis, decreasing the stress at your pelvic joints and helping you manage stress.
- Sleep with a pregnancy pillow between your legs. This decreases the pressure through the front of your pelvis. It also prevents twisting movements through the back of your pelvis.
What Can You Do If You Still Feel Pelvic Girdle Pain?
If you still feel PGP after all the measures discussed, you may need extra support during pregnancy and after birth. Talk to your doctor if you experience limited mobility or continue to experience severe pain. Your doctor may prescribe;
- Regular pain relief: paracetamol is safe in pregnancy, and regular doses may help with PGP. However, if you need stronger pain relief, your doctor will evaluate and discuss its safety.
- Aids such as a wheelchair or crutches: These aids are often used short term. Your physiotherapist may recommend bed levers, raised toilet seats, and bath boards.
- Lifestyle modifications: delegating household chores and communicating the need for assistance with your partner and family may help during this time.
- Work modifications: you may need to stop or shorten your work hours if your symptoms are severe. You should avoid sitting for too long or lifting heavy objects at work.
- Admission: if you are in extreme pain and have minimal mobility, your doctor may offer admission, where you will receive regular pain relief treatment.
Can You Have A Vaginal Birth with Pelvic Girdle Pain?
You can have a natural birth even with PGP. With proper pain management, positioning, and support during labor, vaginal delivery is possible even with PGP. Inform your doctor and midwife that you have PGP so they know how best to support you during labor.
You can also collaborate with your healthcare provider to develop a birth plan that includes different labor positions, hydrotherapy, and birthing aids like birth balls.
Will You Have Pelvic Girdle Pain After Birth?
PGP should improve after birth. However, in some cases, some women will have ongoing pain. If you experience PGP after delivery, you must continue receiving treatment and take regular pain relief. You should also keep using your aids till your pain settles.
Will You Experience Pelvic Girdle Pain in Future Pregnancies?
Although not everyone with PGP during pregnancy will experience pelvic pain again, recurrence is common. In some cases, the pain may even be worse. Staying as fit and healthy as possible before getting pregnant again is essential to prevent a recurrence. You should also try exercises that strengthen your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles to reduce the risk of developing PGP in your subsequent pregnancy.
Pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy causes discomfort and can be challenging. However, with the right strategies and treatment, it is possible to find relief and experience a pain-free pregnancy. It is best to engage in safe exercises and rest well during pregnancy. But if you experience discomfort, talk to your physiotherapist for a customized treatment plan for managing pelvic pain. Also, listen to your body, practice self-care, maintain good posture, and communicate with your healthcare provider throughout your pregnancy journey.