So, you find out that you are pregnant and you expect to bloom, glow and fly through the 9 months – but suddenly (or not), you feel twinges or pain on your lower back, buttocks, hips or pubic area… And you also find that this pain is associated with basic daily activities like turning in bed, walking, using the stairs, or moving from sitting to standing…
If you identify yourself with the above scenario, most likely you are suffering from Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP).
Due to the hormonal changes present during pregnancy, your pelvis can become very mobile as the ligaments, which stabilise the pelvic joints, become looser to prepare the pelvis for labour. Simultaneously, the muscles that support the pelvis, hips and lumbar spine will tense up as they try to compensate the lack of pelvic stability and increased mobility. As the muscles become stressed, they often develop trigger points, and become painful. This can also lead to asymmetry of the pelvic joints.
You don’t have to suffer in silence. You can find help by visiting a Chartered Physiotherapist with experience in treating pregnancy and postnatal conditions. A Chartered Physiotherapist can help steer you through the common (and not so common) pitfalls and pains of your pregnancy.
Pelvic Girdle Pain is present in about 20pc of pregnant women, but unfortunately its symptoms are frequently dismissed, and therefore, mums-to-be endure the pain thinking that it is a normal part of being pregnant. Nothing could be further from the truth! PGP is a common and important obstetric condition, which is treatable through early Physiotherapy intervention.
Your pelvic pain can start as early as the 1st trimester or at any stage during your pregnancy. In fact, in some cases, it may only manifest itself during your postnatal period. It can start gradually or appear suddenly. You can feel anywhere from tenderness to touch up to severe pain in areas such as the pubic joint, groin, lower back and lower abdomen.
So what to expect during a Physiotherapy treatment at Physiofit Woman?
As your physiotherapist and on your first consultation with me I will ask a series of questions to help me understand the pain you are experiencing and I will perform a series of pelvic joint and muscular tests to thoroughly assess the stability of your pelvis, core and back.
Pelvic Physiotherapy treatment may include Manual Therapy techniques, massage, exercise, stretches, application of heat or cold, and depending on the severity of symptoms, advice can be given on pelvic support.
I will always ask where exactly you feel the pain and what activities cause the pain and believe it or not sometimes it is hard for you to pin-point and describe the pain you are feeling. You just know you are in pain. So body-awareness is fundamental and I will help you discovering your body so you can understand better why you are in pain and what can you do to minimise or prevent it from happening again.
Learning how to correct your posture is a crucial component of your PGP maintenance plan. Your pregnant body is constantly changing to accommodate your growing baby, so think about all the pressure, tensing and pulling that can happen around your lower back, lower abdomen, buttocks, hips and groin area while the baby develops.
Pregnancy Pilates classes are another valuable tool to keep your pregnancy-related pelvic pains at bay- whilst keeping you fit and toned throughout your pregnancy. Always consult a Women’s Health Physiotherapist before commencing any exercise programme so your pain can be reduced to a level that you are comfortably able to join a group exercise class.
Here at Physiofit Woman, if you are unable to join a group class due to the severity of your pain, you may join my personalised 4 week Physiotherapy-Pilates Programme where a basic Pilates home-based exercise programme will be tailored specially for you plus weekly physiotherapy treatments to help managing your condition.
Also Pregnancy Massage is another therapy we offer here at our clinic that will keep your pain at bay. I often recommend the Pregnancy Massage in between my treatments to prolong and maintain the benefits and relief you will get from the Physiotherapy sessions. I have to worn you though that our Massages are not pampering massages as you would expect in a SPA. There is an small element of pampering with our face and head massage at the end of the therapy but please note that my therapists were trained by me! Meaning they understand what brings you to our Physiotherapy clinic in the first place and they know where to massage, what pressure to apply and when to apply certain massage techniques.
Reoccurrence rates of Pelvic Girdle Pain are high. So, if you suffered from PGP during your 1st pregnancy or after childbirth, you should consult your Women’s Health Physiotherapist during your postnatal period.
Those of you who attended my Physiotherapy treatments during your pregnancy would soon find out that you are almost “obliged” to come back for a few sessions at some stage during your postnatal period. Even if you think that by some sort of a miracle the pain in your pelvis is gone! 🙂
Why would you come back specially if the pain is gone, you may ask? You may feel that you are no longer in pain because after childbirth you feel less or no pressure on your pelvis but we must not forget what those ligaments and muscles went through during your pregnancy. The pelvis needs to be readjusted and your back and core muscles need to be strengthened to help you cope with the challenges ahead of lifting, carrying and holding your newborn and other daily tasks.
Once again you are being proactive about your pelvic pain and a plan of action will be implemented so you can get a head start on tackling a re-occurrence of PGP for example in your subsequent pregnancy.
Listen to your pregnant body! You were not meant to endure pain in activities such as walking, getting in or out of your bed or car, turning in bed, dressing yourself and more.
The sooner you consult a Chartered Physiotherapist, the earlier you can address your condition and start enjoying your pregnancy!
Please read our Facebook Reviews and Google Reviews and find out how Physiotherapy helped other women who also suffered from PGP.
Deborah Fernandes, MISCP
Deborah is a Women’s Health Physiotherapist with 18 years of experience. She is also a qualified Antenatal Educator and Prenatal and Postnatal Pilates instructor and has been teaching her unique maternity programmes, Antenatal Physiolates© and Postnatal Phsyiolates© for the last 8 years in Dublin.