Carrying an excess burden all in one location (particularly, the belly) while pregnant has a slew of unanticipated consequences. It will most likely cause you to move differently, throw your muscles and joints out of whack, keep you off balance, and in some women, trigger pain in the pelvis where none previously existed. This is known as pelvic girdle pain (PGP), it’s incredibly painful and 1 in 5 women will experience it during pregnancy. However, there’s no need to grit your teeth and bear the pain. In truth, there are numerous things you can do to alleviate your symptoms.
What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?
Pelvic girdle pain refers to any type of pelvic pain, such as a stabbing sensation in the symphysis pubis (the front joint connecting the pubic bones), a dull ache in the back of the pelvis (where the sacrum and the large iliac bones connect), or stress in the area between the base of your spine and the fold of your buttocks. Many physiotherapists used to refer to this sort of discomfort as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or sacroiliac (SI) joint dysfunction, but now use the term “pelvic girdle pain” because it involves the entire pelvic region. PGP can occur throughout pregnancy or shortly after delivery, and it can be continuous or intermittent.
Pelvic Girdle Pain Symptoms
PGP can range from mild to severe, and can happen at any stage of pregnancy, however it happens more later in pregnancy. It’s manageable but the sooner it is treated, the sooner you will feel better. Among the symptoms are:
- Pain in the pubic region, lower back, hips, groin, thighs, or knees. The pain can occur in one or all of these areas.
- Grinding or clicking sound in the pelvic area
- Pain worsening with movement, such as walking, climbing stairs, rolling over in bed, or during sex
To get a PGP diagnosis you first need to tell your doctor, midwife, or nurse about the pain. They’ll then offer you an appointment with a physiotherapist who will assess your pain and diagnose. The assessment includes the doctor looking at your posture as well as your back and hip movements. This will help them rule out any other possible causes of pelvic pain.
During pregnancy, women’s bodies produce a hormone called relaxin, which causes ligaments to relax and joints to extend to allow the baby to grow. As the body tries to find a means to maintain the pelvis together, this alteration in the body might contribute to muscular imbalances. However, relaxin is only one of several factors, including pre-existing imbalances and injuries. Muscles in your legs and back may contract and tug on your pelvis, while others may weaken. The three pelvic joints operate together and generally move minimally.
PGP is mostly caused by joints shifting unevenly, causing the pelvic girdle to become less stable and hence uncomfortable. The added weight and changes in how you sit or stand will place more strain on your pelvis as your baby grows in the womb. You are more likely to have PGP if you have a history of back pain or pelvic injury, or if you have hypermobility syndrome, a condition in which your joints stretch more than normal. There is no way to know who will and won’t experience pelvic girdle pain, but there are several health factors that can put you more at risk:
- Previous labors
- Joint hypermobility
- Higher BMI
- History of pain in hips or lower back
- History of trauma or injury to your back or pelvis
If you’re in pain, the best thing you can do is see a chiropractor or physiotherapist who specializes in treating pregnant women. They will take your medical history, evaluate how you walk, and provide a few tests to see if you have any problems with stability, strength, or joint mobility. It also relies on how you present yourself. If you’re in excruciating pain, doctors may be limited in their diagnostic options and may have to rely on your history.
Though pelvic girdle discomfort is not hazardous in and of itself, it can have an impact on your quality of life, movement, and even your capacity to care for yourself. That is why early detection and treatment are critical. Your treatment approach will be different depending on your pain level, physical capacity, and the cause of your discomfort. Your approach could include the following elements:
Relaxing Soft Tissue
Certain muscles (such as the lower back) may become tight during and after pregnancy, while others (such as the core, hips, and glutes) may be stretched or weakened. Tight muscles can be relaxed with massage or other releasing techniques.
Core and Pelvic Floor Strengthening
Your physiotherapist can teach you exercises that should help you move around more easily and ease your pain. They should also develop your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles in order to improve your balance and posture, as well as stabilize your spine.
Your practitioner can provide you with useful adaptations to common pain-causing actions such as getting out of bed, moving your child(ren), and getting dressed (for example, sitting down instead of balancing on one leg). Much of it is determined by weight distribution. Sleeping with a pillow between your legs, for example, may also alleviate discomfort.
Many women are concerned about taking pain relievers while pregnant. However, some medications, such as Tylenol, are safe for you and your baby as long as you stick to the appropriate amount. If you believe you require stronger medication for your PGP, consult your doctor, midwife, or pharmacist to determine what you can take and how best to take it.
You can also attempt alternative pain management therapy, which may include:
Always be sure to check with your healthcare provider before doing any treatments or services. Many of these pain-relieving methods can be performed at home. Ask your physiotherapist to recommend a home exercise regimen to aid you when you first have pelvic pain. If your pain prevents you from performing critical everyday tasks, you can ask your doctor if you can take a pain reliever. Taking pain relievers may improve your ability to perform the activities advised by your physiotherapist. A pelvic support garment might also help to alleviate pain. Pelvic support garments, when properly fitted and worn for brief periods of time, can help to stabilize your pelvic girdle and reduce discomfort. Inquire with your physiotherapist about pelvic support garments.
Heat applied to uncomfortable regions and sitting or lying down may help you manage your discomfort. Extended bed rest without the supervision of a doctor is not advised, so consult your doctor if you believe you need to lie down for extended periods of time while pregnant.
Does PGP Go Away?
Some women will feel better after giving birth, but this is not guaranteed. Give yourself some time to re-stabilize your body—perhaps even a year or two. Though it may take longer to heal than you would like, you do not have to suffer in silence. Many people are unaware that there are professionals who are specifically qualified to assist with pregnancy-related pain. Your OBGYN can refer you to a physiologist that can diagnose and treat your PGP. It’s critical for moms to understand that help is available, and the sooner you get it, the better.
Will PGP Affect Labor?
Women with PGP can usually have a normal vaginal labor and birth. Your doctor may advise you to arrange yourself during labor in a way that reduces stress and strain on your pelvis and hips. For example, you may find it less uncomfortable to go through labor on your side or on all fours. In most cases, inducing labor or performing a cesarean section are not advised. In severe circumstances, these methods may be given on occasion. Not everyone who has PGP during pregnancy will have it again in subsequent pregnancies.
However, it is fairly common. Almost 7 out of 10 women who experience PGP during pregnancy will have it again in the next pregnancy. Unfortunately, your pain may worsen after subsequent pregnancies. If you’ve had PGP in a prior pregnancy, talk to your doctor about developing a plan to manage your pelvic pain early. Early management of pelvic girdle discomfort can assist to prevent pain from escalating as your pregnancy proceeds.
Working With EZ
If you require a health insurance plan that covers pregnancy, labor, and everything that follows, EZ can assist you in locating a plan that meets all of your medical requirements. We provide a comprehensive selection of health insurance plans from top-rated insurance carriers in every state. Also, since we work with so many businesses and have access to all of the plans available in your region, we may find you a plan that saves you a significant amount of money, even hundreds of dollars, even if you do not qualify for a subsidy. There is no cost or obligation, simply free quotes on all available plans in your area. Simply enter your zip code in the bar below to get free online quotes or call a local agent at 877-670-3557.