Pelvic girdle pain: what it is and what to do about it. By Octavia Hamilton, Founder and Physio.

Numbers to have one dial

Many women develop pelvic pain during pregnancy, which is sometimes referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). You might feel pain across one or both sides or at the back of your pelvis, around your perineum (the area by the vaginal opening to your anus), over your pubic bone at the front and even spreading to your thighs.

The pelvis is ring of three bones that is held together with very strong ligaments. The role of your pelvis is to transmit force from your legs to your trunk. But during pregnancy, the pelvis has to start worrying about housing and birthing a baby too, which it made possible through changes in hormones, posture, and in turn muscle strength and length. The downside of this is that these changes can cause irritation - and therefore pain - through the joints of the pelvis. There are so many factors that contribute to pain even coming down to previous experiences and beliefs. It is not as simple as just not being strong enough or hormones.

As with all pain, the earlier you intervene and do something about it, the better. This is mainly because when we are in pain we tend to change the way we move to compensate, which can reinforce pain or introduce new ones.

Pelvic girdle pain can come on gradually or suddenly after a fall or slip. If you’ve had PGP before, or you have an old pelvic injury, or a history of lower back pain or hyper-mobility, you are more likely to suffer from PGP. 

Generally, after you've given birth, your pelvic pain will start to go because the load has greatly reduced, and your hormones and posture will begin to normalise. But for some people it can continue. Pregnancy hormones can linger well beyond the fourth trimester and until a few months after you stop breastfeeding.⁠

Every individual person is different and so it’s always best to be assessed by a physiotherapist as soon as you have any sign of pain. You can ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist, ideally one who is experienced in obstetric pelvic joint problems. They’ll be able to recommend what’s best in your specific case. You could be looking at some changes to your routine to minimise load and stress on the area, manual therapy with a physiotherapist, plus a series of exercises to strengthen the area.

Keeping moving is key and also keep the faith that something can be done to help you. By Octavia