Pelvic Girdle Pain is usually experienced "at the back" which is commonly sacroiliac joint pain, and "at the front" which is usually pubic symphysis dysfunction.
As the pelvis becomes lax, loosening off for the baby, the muscles around the pelvis need to kick in extra hard to try and stabilise.
There are loads of great strengthening exercises you can do to keep the pelvis in the best position.
There are also some really common every day things that we do that a hormone-filled, unstable pelvis doesn't like. These things can make pelvic girdle pain much worse
I know what it’s like beyond 30 weeks pregnant – it seems far easier to kick an object along the floor rather than attempt bending down in order to pick it up. If the object is heavier than a soft toy though – you’re at risk of destabilising that pelvis when 1 leg attempts to take the weight. If it’s too hard to reach get someone else to pick it up/move the object in question. Or leave it there.
A romantic walk on the beach sounds like the ultimate relaxation remedy when you’re pregnant doesn’t it? Walking on sand that moves beneath you with every step increases the risk of both SIJ and PS instability. Walk next to the beach on the footpath instead. In good, flat, spongy shoes.
Putting trousers on involves standing on 1 leg to balance, and generally some side movement and rotation too. Sit down so that the pelvis is square and you can put one foot in at a time when getting dressed – the stand up with both feet flat on the floor in order to finish getting dressed. Same goes with getting in and out the car -sit down sideways, then move both legs into the car together to face the front. Do the reverse when getting out.
Think of the constant scissor-like movement of the legs during walking, swimming and cycling as repetitions on those pelvic girdle joints in question. That’s A LOT of reps. If you add resistance (going uphill, pushing a heavy trolley or carrying bags, moving through water) there’s additional pressure put on the pelvis to stabilise your spine literally every time you load a leg. Avoid making it harder than it needs to be while you’re pregnant. Once the baby comes you’ll have plenty of opportunities to walk up hill, pushing heavy loads and carry a wriggling toddler – usually all at the same time.
When we're uncomfortable, we often turn to stretching to provide some relief. When we have a ton of relaxin and other hormones rushing through the body ready to soften every ligament and tendon though, stretching can end up adding to this "too loose" problem.
Keep stretches short, and low in intensity (don't push hard into the stretch to 'really feel it') Follow all stretches directly with the right strength exercises - like a bridge – to get the length and relief without getting the destabilisation.
Now, this can be controversial because I know that so many women love to wear heels and while nothing else from our wardrobe fits during pregnancy, pretty shoes can make us feel awesome. I get the logic – Beyonce rocked killer heels during her pregnancy – surely we can too.
Wearing heels tips our pelvis into anterior tilt (forward – so belly button goes towards the ground). This excessively arches the lower back, locks the knees out into hyper extension, and de-stabilises the sacroiliac joint (which is most secure when the pelvis is in the exact opposite position). Pregnancy is a teeny tiny window in the grand scheme of things – the shoes will still be there once bub is out. Once you get PGP during pregnancy it’s really hard to reverse until after birth – and can sometimes require weeks of rehabilitation to make sure it never returns. Embrace flat shoes for this short time and stay pain free.
Everyone is different – and sometimes, through no action on our part, we develop conditions during pregnancy simply because of the physiological changes of growing a baby.
There are loads of treatment options available - my favourite of course is exercise. Strengthening the right areas can that support the pelvis can make a HUGE difference to reducing and even alleviating symptoms.