Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) can be an extremely uncomfortable condition that causes acute (brief) or chronic (ongoing) pain in the buttocks, groin, lower back or pubic area. It used to be called SPD (or symphysis pubis dysfunction) but has been recognised to affect many more areas that relate functionally or anatomically to the whole pelvis.

It is normally caused by the strain of ligaments and muscles as your body produces a ligament softening hormone (Relaxin) to allow the pelvis to accommodate your baby during delivery. This can cause muscles that overlie the joints to work harder and even go into spasm. When the muscles at the back of the hip (buttock) or front of the hip (groin) tighten or spasm it will make you limp and find it difficult to bear weight on that leg.

Symptoms of Pelvic Girdle Pain

  • Limping
  • Pain / difficulty climbing stairs
  • Difficulty turning in bed
  • Pain transitioning to standing from sitting
  • Pain initiating walking
  • Standing on one leg

Occasionally, ligaments and muscles attaching the spine to the pelvis get strained or tighten up, giving you back pain and stiffness which can be very debilitating.

Physical and Emotional Effects of PGP

PGP is thought to affect up to 1 in 5 women. It can have indirect effect on your emotions, causing you more concern about your ability to have a natural birth, about burdening your partner or friends, not being able to manage older children and perhaps worrying about suffering pain after your baby is born when they need you most.

Some women might also wonder if the problem is their fault, may feel isolated as well as cheated of a joyful pregnancy.

How can PGP be treated?

To be clear, none of this is your fault. Osteopaths and physiotherapists are trained to identify specific ligaments, joints and muscles that are causing the problem and activities that might be limiting your body’s ability to recover. After identifying where the problems are, they are very well placed to use manual techniques to relieve muscle tension and joint stiffness and prescribe simple exercises that are adapted to your body and stage of pregnancy to help condition and strengthen the muscles that are overloaded.

If you are experiencing pelvic pain or some of the symptoms listed above during your pregnancy please get in touch with the team here at Kennington who will be delighted to advise and offer treatment to enable you to enjoy this special time pain free.

Andrea Rippe is an approved practitioner on the pelvic partnership website – use the form below if you wish to request an appointment.