So I wanted to sit down and write to you all today about pelvic girdle pain (PGP) in pregnancy. This is pain that can be felt in the low back, buttock, hips and around the pubic bone and usually comes with the territory when you’re growing a human inside your uterus or after you’ve delivered one. It’s hard work! Often when clients come to me with PGP they say something like, “I’m uncomfortable all of the time, but I guess it’s the price I have to pay", and my heart hurts. The inability to walk or pick up your children does not have to be the cost of having a baby!
While PGP is a very common complaint during pregnancy, it is not normal and you have options to help manage and alleviate it.
What causes PGP? Our bodies have been equipped in amazing ways to grow and carry a baby. One of these ways is the production of the hormone relaxin, which gives our joints more pliability and give to accommodate the growth. To keep us upright and functioning our muscles, in turn, start working a heck of a lot harder to keep everything in line. Imbalances in certain muscles can cause joints, like the sacroiliac joint (the joint connecting your sacrum and illium) to move and become misaligned, resulting in muscle pain, piriformis syndrome, sciatica, and lots of discomfort. PGP can range from mild and still being able to function to severe. It’s a pain the in butt. I came across an amazing analogy to PGP when reading physiotherapist Cecil Rost's book, Relieving Pelvic Girdle Pain During and After Pregnancy, she describes it like this:
"You can compare pregnancy related pelvic pain with a train derailment. The train is the ilium, which has derailed from the sacrum. The railway system (the body) is paralyzed at once and the railway workers (nerves and muscles) panic. Transportation (body movement) must continue, so buses are called in (muscles that would normally carry out other functions), sent by the railroad’s central administration (the brain)."
This can then cause the misalignment and chaos. All is not lost though, in a train derailment it is very possible to get things back on track and traffic returns to normal function. It won’t on its own though.
This is where symmetry exercises done at home and with a pelvic floor physio, massage therapy and other manual therapies can all provide pieces to the puzzle. Massage is a great tool to help relax the muscles that have been working over time and calm down a nervous system that is trying to navigate all the transmission changes.
PELVIC GIRDLE PAIN DOES NOT HAVE TO BE YOUR NEW NORMAL.
You have options and there are people out there who can (and want!) to help you. Find a pelvic floor physiotherapist, a massage therapist (hi!) or a chiropractor in your area who specializes in PGP and make an appointment. You deserve it!
If you’re looking for tips on the do’s and don’ts of day to day activities with PGP, I highly recommend that you check out Cecil’s free app called Rost Moves Mamas, which is available for both iPhone and Android.