Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (Formerly SPD)

Around 1 in 5 pregnant women experience discomfort in the front or back of the pelvis. 

Symptoms that fail to resolve by themselves or those that worsen and affect daily life should be dealt with by a health care professional. First seek advice from your midwife or GP as you may simply need to change some aspects of your lifestyle to ease the symptoms. 

A referral to Physiotherapy is required if you are no-longer able to manage your symptoms independently.

You are likely to experience pain or discomfort at the front joint of your pelvis. This is called the Symphysis Pubis Joint (SPJ). Quite often, women experience a burning or grinding sensation in this joint that is made worse by standing on one leg or taking one leg away from the other. 

The Sacro-iliac Joints are also commonly affected. These are found at the base of your back / top of your bottom. They can ache or click and the symptoms can refer across the back, into the hips and groin and into the SPJ.

The causes of PGP can be uncertain but are usually a combination of ligament softening and loosening, the pelvic joints moving unevenly, muscular and postural changes related to the growing baby, previous accidents affecting the pelvis and possibly hormonal changes in the pregnancy.

PGP should be managed carefully throughout the pregnancy, from the first moment that symptoms are noticed through to the delivery of the baby and the post natal period. 

All women with PGP, however severe, should ALWAYS avoid any position or activity that aggravates the pain (e.g. if standing on one leg aggravates, try sitting down or perching to get dressed). Do not push or pull heavy objects such as vacuum cleaners and supermarket trolleys.

Physiotherapy can be very helpful in dealing with the symptoms. Exercises and lifestyle changes in the first instance will reduce the pain and enable daily activities to be resumed.

Further information can be found in the Pelvic, Obstetric and Gynaecological Physiotherapy (POGP) leaflet on PGP.

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