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Common Conditions

Pregnancy Related Girdle Pain


The Pelvic Girdle is a ring of bones around the body at the base of the spine. Pregnancy-Related Girdle Pain (PGP) is characterised as pain in the front and/or the back of the pelvis that can also affect other areas such as the hips or thighs. It can also affect the Sacroiliac joints at the back and/or the Symphysis Pubis joint at the front. This condition is very common and affects 1 in 5 pregnant women. PGP usually happens during pregnancy or starts soon after delivery.

The three joints in the pelvis work together and normally move slightly. PGP is usually caused by the joints moving unevenly which can lead to the pelvic girdle becoming less stable and therefore painful. As your baby grows in the womb, the extra weight and the change in the way you sit or stand will put more strain on your pelvis. PGP is more likely to happen if you have had a back problem, have injured your pelvis in the past or have Hypermobility Syndrome.

PGP can be mild to severe but is treatable at any stage in pregnancy. It is more common later in pregnancy. Symptoms of PGP may include pain in the pubic region, lower back, hips, groin, thighs or knees. Clicking or grinding in the pelvic area may also happen. Pain is also made worse by movement for example walking on uneven surfaces, walking for long distances, moving your knees apart or standing on one leg.

Physical therapy can help with PGP. Treatment will include manual therapy and exercises. Soft tissue work will be incorporated to relax tight muscles in the lower back, core, hips and glutes, which most pregnant women experience during and after pregnancy. Core and pelvic floor strengthening exercises will be prescribed by your therapist. Your therapist will also provide a home exercise program and lifestyle modifications to common movements that causes pain, like getting out of bed, lifting your child and getting dressed. If in doubt, seek professional advice.

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