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Four Easy Workouts for Pregnant Women with Pelvic Girdle Pain

Four Easy Workouts for Pregnant Women with Pelvic Girdle Pain 

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is experienced by 1 in 5 pregnant women, and when it’s severe it can affect the very basic acts of walking, standing, and sitting. Thankfully, there are exercises/stretches that can help ease pelvic discomfort so that the mother-to-be can enjoy the experience of being pregnant.

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain

At the base of a woman’s spine are bones and joints that form the pelvic girdle. Pelvic girdle pain can occur where the sacrum meets the pelvic bones known as the sacroiliac joints, or it can occur at the joint on the front of the pelvis known as the symphysis pubis joint. PGP can even cause pain in the hips and thighs. The three joints in the pelvis are not fixed, and therefore can move together slightly. PGP occurs when these joints move unevenly and when pelvic pressure is increased, such as by being pregnant. This uneven movement causes strain on the pelvis. Other pre-existing conditions such as a pelvic injury, previous lower back pain, or having joints that stretch more than normal can put you at higher risk for PGP.

Symptoms of PGP

While PGP can be very painful, it does not pose a risk to the baby. PGP can be treated at any stage, however, it is much better to get diagnosed early on. Here are some common symptoms of PGP:

  • Pain felt in:
    • Front or back of pelvis
    • Pubic area
    • Lower back
    • Hips
    • Thighs
    • Perineum
  • Clicking or grinding sensation/sound in the pelvic region
  • Increased Pain with:
    • Walking
    • Sitting
    • Standing
    • Rolling over in bed
    • Getting in and out of a car
    • Climbing stairs
    • During sexual intercourse 

How Can Physical Therapy Help? 

If you are pregnant and have any of those symptoms, it is recommended to follow up with your doctor who will most likely refer you to a physical therapist who can evaluate your posture and your back/hip movements. Most likely a physical therapist will also be able to provide such help as:

  • Manual therapy to assess joint functioning
  • Encouragement to participate in water exercises
  • Advice concerning positions for labor, sleeping, and sex
  • Advice on what not to do:
    • Avoid lifting anything heavy
    • Avoid pushing heavy items
    • Avoid standing on one leg or holding anything with only one arm
    • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time
    • Avoid crossing legs
    • Avoid sitting on the floor
    • Avoid standing to put on clothes or shoes, sitting down is better
  • Options for pain relief such as a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS) or acupuncture
  • Pelvic support belt
  • Crutches

Exercises to help PGP 

While not every option may work for you, exercise is vital to easing PGP for every individual. Good exercises for PGP will focus on stabilizing the pelvis and spine, improving posture, and strengthening the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles. Here are some that focus on those points:

  • Pelvic Tilt

    • Laying on your back with knees facing the ceiling, curve your pelvis inward by flexing your glutes and closing the gap between your back and the floor.
    • Release your stomach and tilt your pelvis down slightly, arching the back.
    • Repeat this series 5 times.
  • Bridging

    • Lay on your back with your knees bent and facing the ceiling.
    • Tighten your buttocks and raise your hips upward as far as you’re comfortable. Hold for 2-3 seconds.
    • Lower back down to starting position.
    • Repeat 5 times.
  • Kegels

    • To engage your pelvic muscles, act as if you are stopping your urine midstream. That tightening feeling is the flexing of your pelvic floor muscles.
    • You can perform this almost anywhere and as many times as you want.
  • Sitting Abdominal Exercises

    • Sit up straight in a chair with a stretch or latex workout band secured under your feet and the ends in either hand.
    • Keeping your arms close to your body, draw your elbows back as if elbowing someone behind you.
    • Repeat this motion 10 to 12 times.
    • Return to starting position.
    • With the stretch band in either hand, straighten the arms and raise them straight up while keeping the abdominal muscles tight.
    • Repeat 10 to 12 times.
    • Return to starting position.
    • With the stretch band in either hand, stretch arms out and away from the body while keeping the abdominal muscles tight.
    • Repeat 10 to 12 times.

Conclusion 

Pregnancy should be a special and joyous time, not marred by PGP. If you begin to have any pelvic pain during your pregnancy, follow up with your doctor and a physiotherapist to address it quickly. The physiotherapists at Blue Hills Sports and Spine Rehabilitation are always available to help you.

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