We all know stretching during pregnancy is really beneficial for keeping aches and pains at bay and keeping the body supple, active and healthy but what if your pelvic bone go too soft, too soon?
Are you pregnant and experiencing pelvic pain? You could be experiencing Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) dysfunction. Read on to find out about this very uncomfortable pregnancy condition, including potential risks and treatments.
What is PGP?
Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or SPD or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, happens when the ligaments that keep your pelvic bone aligned during pregnancy become too relaxed and stretchy far too soon. This only should to occur when a woman is near to delivery and things supposed to start relaxing and loosening up. This condition can make the pelvic joint unstable, causing some a lot of discomfort, including pelvic pain. 1 in 300 pregnancies, though experts think that up to 25 % of all pregnant women will experience this condition but not all would have it diagnosed.
Signs & Symptoms
Difficulty walking and pain as though the pelvis is tearing apart are the two most common symptoms. The pain is normally around the pubic area but some women it can be felt in the upper part of the thigh and perineum. The pain can get worse when you’re walking and doing weight bearing activities especially those that involve lifting one leg like climbing stairs. Getting out of bed and getting dressed can be challenging too.
What causes it?
The hormone Relaxin is the culprit behind this condition. It makes ligaments stretchy so in turn helps your baby make his/her way into the world. This hormone can do its job too well and loosen the ligaments around the pelvic bone before the baby is ready to come out, which causes movement and pain within the pelvic joint. In very rare cases, Diastasis Symphysis Pubis can occur where the pelvic joint may gape apart, which can cause more serious pain in your pelvis, groin, hips and bottom PGP can worsen after birth which will require medical help but this too is rare. Once you baby is born Relaxin hormone ceases and your ligaments will go back to normal.
Treating Pelvic Girdle Pain during pregnancy
There are some things you can do to ease the pain if you’re suffering from this condition:
Sit on a firm chair
Use a rolled towel or cushion to support the lower back. If working on a computer make sure you are facing directly at your screen and don’t sit in a twisted position
Sit down to get dressed/undressed
Sitting down to get dressed or undressed is better as the pelvis is square and you can put one foot in at a time when getting dressed instead of standing on one leg to balance which will trigger pain. Take your time when changing direction.
Avoid heavy lifting and pushing
Always bend with your hips and knees whilst keeping the natural curve in your back. Stand near furniture for support when you bend down and keep the object you’re lifting close to your body. Better still, delegate someone to do it for you if possible.
Position a pillow between your legs and try and sleep on your left side as it improves circulation and gives nutrient packed blood an easier route from your heart to the placenta to nourish the baby and to reduce any swelling in the ankles.
Getting in and out of bed
When getting in bed sit with your bottom as far back as you can on the bed, cross your ankles, keep your legs bent and your knees a little apart as you lie down on your side, bringing your feet up with you
When getting up out of bed start on your side and use your arms to push yourself up. Try to keep your knees and feet together or cross them over.
Applying a heating pad or ice pack to the pubic bone
If you use a heating pad, use it just for 10 mins at a time, as using it for longer periods can raise your baby’s temperature. (You can safely cycle pad on and off every 10 minutes).
Pelvic support belt
You can purchase these online. They help to put the pelvic bones back in alignment during pregnancy.
Pelvic tilts and Kegels
Regular practice helps strengthen your pelvic floor.
Contact your doctor and ask for pain relief if the symptoms get too much.
Your Obstetrics provider can help you decide if this is a good option for you.
Pregnancy Massage or Reflexology Treatment
Pregnancy Massage can be extremely helpful to help relieve muscle strains and spasms within the groin, bottom or back and to help lengthen the other muscles around the pelvis to help the body adapt to the increasing weight of your little one down to the pelvis using the right amount of pressure to bring relief.
Reflexology is non-intrusive but so effective. Imbalances can be picked up during treatment and certain techniques used to trigger the body’s own healing mechanism. Treatment is tailored to the needs of the client. Many women notice an improvement of symptoms following treatment.
Remember all this too shall pass and symptoms will likely disappear after you give birth.