Managing Pelvic Pain during Pregnancy

Some women develop pelvic pain in pregnancy and this is referred to as pelvic girdle pain.  This is a Plethora of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a misalignment or stiffness of your pelvic joints at either the back or front of your pelvis. Although it is not harmful to the baby, it can cause severe pain around your pelvis and makes moving around difficult.

Symptoms of PGP in pregnancy

Different women have different symptoms, and in some women, PGP is worse than in others. Symptoms can include:

  • pain over the pubic bone at the front in the center
  • pain across one or both sides of your lower back
  • pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)

Pain can also be felt around the thighs and some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area.

The pain can be most noticeable when you are:

  • walking
  • going upstairs
  • standing on one leg (for example when you’re getting dressed or going upstairs)
  • turning over in bed

It can also be difficult to move your legs apart, for example when you get out of a car.


How common is PGP?

It’s estimated that PGP in pregnancy affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women to some degree. It’s not known exactly why pelvic pain affects some women, but it’s thought to be linked to a number of issues, including previous damage to the pelvis, pelvic joints moving unevenly, and the weight or position of the baby.

Factors that may make a woman more likely to develop PGP include:

  • a history of lower back or pelvic girdle pain
  • previous injury to the pelvis, for example from a fall or accident
  • having PGP in a previous pregnancy
  • a physically demanding job
  • increased body mass index
  • emotional distress and smoking


Treatments for pelvic pain in pregnancy

You and your Gynecologist will work towards an individualized plan to help manage pain and symptoms, including safe medications that can be taken to manage the pain as well as physical therapy.

Physical Therapy aims to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function and improve your pelvic joint position and stability.  Some physical therapy techniques may include:

  • manual therapy to make sure the joints of your pelvis, hip and spine move normally
  • exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, back, and hip muscles
  • advice and suggestions including positions for labor and birth, looking after your baby, and positions for sex
  • equipment if necessary, such as crutches or pelvic support belts


All these and more can be accessed at our Great Neck and Farmingdale offices as well as with our In-Home therapy program.  Your physical therapist will create a specific plan tailored towards your symptoms to prepare you for a safe and uneventful delivery for optimal health of both mother and child.