Pelvic Pain

Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

Pelvic pain is pain in the pelvic joints that may develop during or after pregnancy. Pelvic pain may occur because of:
  • changes to your posture.
  • increased pressure on your pelvis due to the hormonal changes which soften the ligaments that support the pelvis.
  • growth of your baby.
These changes can place increased strain on the pelvic joints making the joints inflamed and painful.
Approximately 20% of pregnant women experience pelvic pain during their pregnancy.

What you might feel
  • Clicking, locking or grinding in the pelvic joints.
  • Pain in the front or the back of the pelvis, buttocks, groin and/or radiating into the thighs.

Activities that may increase your pelvic pain
  • Prolonged walking.
  • Fast walking.
  • Getting in and out of the car or bed.
  • Rolling in bed.
  • Lying flat.
  • Deep squatting or lunging.
  • Going up and down stairs.
  • Standing on one leg (e.g. dressing – putting on pants).
  • Moving from sitting to standing.
  • High impact exercise (e.g. running and jumping activities).
Managing your pelvic pain
  • To avoid increasing pelvic pain Don’t push through pain.
  • Take smaller steps when walking.
  • Walk shorter distances.
  • Reduce heavy lifting and pushing and pulling activities such as, vacuuming.
  • Break up large tasks into smaller activities
  • Rest in between activities.
  • Keep your knees together when rolling in bed.
  • Roll under rather than over when rolling in bed.
  • Sleep on your side with a pillow in between
  • your legs.
  • Get in and out of bed with your knees together

Tips to reduce your pelvic pain
  • Use an ice pack on the painful area for 20 minutes every 2–3 hours. Wrap the ice pack in a damp material so that the ice pack does not contact your skin directly.
  • Stand tall at all times.
  • Sit tall with back support.
  • Wear a compression garment or support belt (supplied by your physiotherapist).
  • Use crutches or a wheelchair (instead of walking long distances).
  • Perform strengthening exercises for the hip, pelvic floor and deep abdominal muscles (as shown by your physiotherapist).
  • Use home massage or trigger points to release tight muscles (as shown by your physiotherapist).

Make an appointment with a women’s health physiotherapist
The physiotherapist will assess you and make recommendations about how to manage your pelvic pain. It is important that you are assessed by a physiotherapist before starting any exercises.

Managing pelvic pain during your labour 

  • Let the medical team know that you have had pelvic pain during your pregnancy.
  • If you have been using a compression garment, support belt or crutches during your pregnancy bring these into hospital to use after the birth.
  • Practice the positions below before you go into labour so you are familiar with the positions that are most comfortable for you.
  • Avoid positions where your legs are wide apart or where there is uneven weight through your legs.

After the birth

  • Rest lying down rather than sitting in chair.
  • Continue to ice the painful area (20 minutes every 2–3 hours).
  • Use your compression garment, support belt and/or crutches if required.
  • Move within your pain limits.
  • Attend the physiotherapy postnatal class for information about pelvic pain after birth and return to exercise advice. See ward staff
  • for class times and location.
  • If your pain persists you may see a physiotherapist

*Remember, consult your doctor for advice about taking pain medications during pregnancy.
* Information courtesy of The Royal Women's Hospital.

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