Pelvic girdle pains are the one of the debilitating pains in pregnancy. More than 1/3rd of pregnant females experiences back and pelvic pains at some stage of pregnancy. It may start as early as in first trimester but majority experiences it between 4th and 7th months.
The common pain areas are pubis symphysis, Low back and pain may radiate to buttocks and thighs.
Some common complaints are:
- Pain and swelling over the joint.
- Difficulty in lifting leg.
- Pain in pulling legs apart.
- Inability to stand on one leg.
- Pain in hips and/or restriction of hip movement.
- Transferred nerve pain down leg.
- Struggle to sit or stand.
- Waddling or shuffling gait.
- Audible ‘clicking’ sound coming from the pelvis.
Dealing with the pain:
First and the foremost important thing is to prevent the pain by educating the pregnant women about body awareness and back care early in pregnancy. Since rolling in the bed in the night to get up is the most difficult thing to do and a common complaint from majority of pregnant women.
So a women should be educated the correct way of rolling by maintaining adduction at the hips and flexion at the knees. This way rolling can be performed pain free and it will put less stress on sacroiliac and symphysis pubis joints.
Also the partner should be made aware about the pains and ache to help the women with the coping strategies. Rest and minimising the non-essential household chores are important.
Exercising under the supervision of a physiotherapist will help in increasing the strength of pelvic floor
muscles and abdominal muscles.
Manual techniques like soft tissue manipulation, myofascial release or muscle energy techniques may help in pain reduction.
Then Self-help manoeuvres can also be taught to the women to ease out the pain. Thus sharing one technique to ease out pain at sacroiliac joint. In this the women is lying in supine position and the affected side knee is flexed and the toes are hooked under the lateral aspect of the straight knee. So the women can repeat this position at home as well.
Some comfortable positions to relieve back discomforts can also be educated to the couples like hand and knees positions or keeping hands over low back to support the curvature.
In severe cases, pelvic belts to stabilise the pelvic mechanics can also be used.
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Tips and tricks:
- Follow the rule of “Listen to your body”. Stay active yet take plenty of rest.
- Maintain a good posture.
- Change your position frequently – take a short walk or just stand up after every 30 mins.
- Sit on a chair to change clothes
- While standing for a while, put equal weight on each leg.
- Try to keep your legs together when getting in and out of the car.
- Use a thick pillow under your bump and between your legs for extra support in bed.
Activities to avoid:
- Avoid activities which makes your symptoms worse.
- Avoid lifting heavy weights and bending or twisting to lift something up.
- Avoid using stairs to often.
- Avoid sitting with legs crossed.
Vaginal birth with pelvic girdle pains:
A lot of women are concerned about vaginal delivery with their existing pelvic pains. So prepare your mind to go ahead with normal delivery. Also these pains and aches may resolve after the birth or may take around 2-3 weeks to resolve.
But make sure your legs are supported during labor. And also feel yourself free to ask for help to change your positions. You can also discuss your concern with your obstetrician and physiotherapist to find out comfortable positions for the birth.
Watch video on Exercises to follow in the 9th month to achieve normal delivery