What is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?
PGP is the umbrella term for pain in the joints that make up your pelvic girdle, including the symphysis pubis joint (SPJ) and the front and/or back of the sacroiliac joints (SIJ) at the back. The pain can be felt over these different areas or all of them. Other symptoms may include, but not be exclusive to;
- Difficulty walking.
- Pain when standing on one left (for example on stairs or getting dressed).
- Clicking or grinding in the pelvic area.
- Limited and/or pain with hip movements (for example turning over in bed).
- Difficulty finding comfortable positions.
- Pain during normal activities of daily living.
- Pain and difficulty with sexual intercourse.
It is important to remember that PGP cannot harm your baby, despite it sometimes feeling very uncomfortable for you.
Treatment for PGP can be done safely at any stage of pregnancy.
Who gets PGP?
Pregnancy-related PGP is common – with around 1 in 5 pregnant women experiencing mild discomfort in the back and/or front of the pelvis during their pregnancy. The level of pain that women experiences can vary, however a range of management options are available.
Treatment for this can be provided and therefore the pain can usually be managed well. However, in a small percentage of women, PGP may persist after the birth of your baby.
There are certain risk factors that may pre-dispose you to feeling PGP, however, it is important to remember that not all women have any identifiable risk factors.
- A history of lower back pain or previous PGP in pregnancy.
- Previous pelvic injuries.
- Multiple pregnancies.
- A physical job or a poor working environment.
- Increased body weight/BMI.
- Increased mobility of other joints in the body.
What causes PGP?
Often there is no ‘cause’ for this pain, however, there can be a combination of factors that may contribute to it. These can be such as;
- Pelvic girdle joints move unevenly.
- Change in the activity and stability of the surrounding muscles.
- A previous fall or accident.
- Hormonal changes (a small number only).
How can I manage this?
There are many ways to help each person, and the advice should be relevant to your current level of function. We recommend coming to see a Physiotherapist provide you with a personalized plan, but here are some things to try initially.
- Keep active, but remember to rest when needed.
- Sit down when you are getting dressed/undressed.
- Put equal weight through each leg when you stand.
- Try to keep your legs together, facing the same direction (for example when getting in and out of the car).
- Keep your knees together when you turn over in bed.
- Use a pillow in between your legs and/or under your bump when sleeping, to help with a comfortable position.
Other treatment options:
- Manual therapy.
- Warm baths – or heat or ice packs.
- A support belt or crutches.
*Please check with your healthcare professional prior to trying different treatment options, as these vary from patient to patient.