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Pelvic Instability

What does Pelvic Instability/Pelvic Girdle Pain mean in Pregnancy?

Pelvic Instability or Pelvic Girdle Pain describes pregnancy related pelvic pain. During pregnancy, a hormone called “relaxin” circulates in the body and softens ligaments. Ligaments are the strong bands of tissue which hold joints together. The pelvic joints need to loosen in preparation for the delivery of the baby. This loosening is a normal process but unfortunately in some women the natural loosening process causes pain. We do not know why some women experience pain and others don’t. Luckily the pain tends to go away after the delivery.

Pain can come from any one of the three pelvic girdle joints, namely the sacro-iliac joints (joints between the base of the spine to the tailbone and pelvis) or the pubic symphesis (joint right at the front below the pubic region).  Unlike other joints in the body, they are usually firmly locked and do not allow much movement.

Where do you feel the pain in pregnancy?”

  • Around the sacro-iliac joints.The pain feels like it is deep under the buttock muscles.
  • Through the groin to the right and/or left.
  • Pubic symphesis pain can be felt right in the middle at the front. It may be extremely tender.
  • Sometimes pain refers down the inner or backs of the thighs but not below the knee.

What aggravates the pain?

Typically the pain is associated with:

  • Standing up after sitting for a while, especially if sitting in a soft, less supportive chair.
  • Rolling over in bed.
  • Going up and down stairs.
  • Getting in and out of the car.
  • Activity which puts weight through one leg e.g. pushing an item out of the way with one leg.
  • Carrying a toddler for prolonged periods on one hip during subsequent pregnancies.

How can the pain be managed in pregnancy?

Your physiotherapist will assess and correct pregnancy posture.  As your centre of gravity changes and your tummy expands, good posture is a key to managing pain.

You will be taught how to activate the pelvic floor with lower abdominals to support the joints of the pelvis and prevent pain.  Getting this right is VITAL. Pilates can be performed throughout your pregnancy and we have physiotherapists trained specifically to help you right through your pregnancy and beyond.

Your physiotherapist will give you a list of “do’s and don’ts” so that you do those things that the pelvis likes and avoids those things that aggravate. 

You may need a special pregnancy belt which helps to support the joints and subconsciously reminds you to work your muscles.

Massage and gentle physiotherapy joint techniques can certainly help manage pain.

Book an assessment with Caroline Bender of “Peninsula Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy” @TSIC to manage pelvic girdle pain in your pregnancy.