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Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Dysfunction

What is pregnancy-related pelvic girdle dysfunction (PRPGD)? 

Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain is a collection of symptoms caused by natural changes to the muscles and ligaments during pregnancy (meaning that they might have to work slightly differently to how they did before your pregnancy), plus the additional changes in posture to accommodate your growing baby. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of PRPGD may include pain over the pubic bone at the front in the centre of your pelvis, pain across one or both sides of your lower back or pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum). In some cases, the discomfort can travel down your legs.

I have pain when I walk or turn over in bed, is this normal?

Walking, climbing stairs, turning over in bed and getting in and out of the car are commonly reported as activities that can be difficult or sore with PRPGD.

Can pelvic girdle pain harm my baby?

No. Although PRPGD can be painful and uncomfortable for you, it will not harm your baby. It is very important to know that PRPGD is not unusual, not dangerous and not damage. In most cases, it will get better either during your pregnancy or sometime after childbirth.

Is there anything I can do to help myself?

Keeping active but also getting plenty of rest is the best way to manage this. Adapting to your changing posture during pregnancy improves your ability to cope with the symptoms.  Change your position frequently – try not to sit or stand for more than 30 minutes at a time. Small changes to the way you move during your pregnancy, for example keeping your legs together when getting in and out of the car, putting equal weight on each leg when you stand and keeping your knees together when turning over in bed, can all be helpful techniques to try.

Other options available include use of a maternity belt, which provides support to the lower back/pelvis (a physiotherapist or midwife can advise you about this). In extreme cases, crutches (if walking is very difficult) and gentle exercises can be prescribed.

Is there anything I should avoid?

There isn’t anything you need to avoid, as the problem is not something that needs protecting. A sensible approach might be to look at the things that seem to cause you most discomfort or the greatest difficulties and ask yourself “how could I do that differently?” Making small adjustments to how you do certain activities, rather than stopping them, can allow you to still get the job done, but hopefully with fewer issues along the way. These changes won’t be forever, just whilst your body is asking for a little help.

We have a dedicated page all about adjusting activities and looking at things from a different angle to try and help aches and pains. You can find it here: Load Management


Will I get better?

Most pelvic girdle pain improves by itself either during your pregnancy or after childbirth.

How do I refer myself to physio if I need help?

You can refer yourself to Physiotherapy without needing to see a GP or midwife by calling our booking line on 01493 809977. We would advise that when you speak to our booking line that you state that you are pregnant, and a phone consultation will be arranged for you to speak to one of our specialist physiotherapists.

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