Pelvic pain during pregnancy is relatively common, and I have personally experienced it, when I was expecting my twins. According to Sammy Goulter (an experienced chiropractor) up to 50% of pregnant women are affected by pelvic pain at some degree during pregnancy. Let’s dive into the science behind pelvic pain, and how you can alleviate the pain from the comfort of your home…
EVERY PREGNANCY IS DIFFERENT
I vividly remember the pelvic pain I experienced during my twin-pregnancy. That pregnancy was so, so different compared to when I was expecting my singleton. Already at week 17 with the twins I was having issues when walking at a fast pace for longer periods of time – I kind of felt a form of stabbing pain in my groin area, that resulted in shooting pain down the legs. This pain really affected my daily active life, and I wrongly chose to stop all my usual exercises. As I now have learnt from Sammy, I probably should have sought professional help, done the stretches and exercises shown below and still kept active – in other words kept the pelvic area active preparing for the birth of my children….
So please remember that all pregnancies are different!
To get a better insight to why pregnant women often suffer from pelvic pain, I had a chat with Sammy Eid, who has treated many pregnant women over the past few years.
SO, SAMMY, WHAT EXACTLY IS A PELVIS AND WHAT IS IT’S FUNCTION?
There are three major joints in our pelvis: the Pubic Symphysis at the front and two Sacroiliac joints at the back. The pelvis is very important especially during pregnancy, as when the baby starts to grow, our centre of gravity shifts forward and we start to get an increased curve through the lower part of the back. That in turn can start to create some changes in the pelvis. Obviously with pregnancy it’s leading to a birth, so we really want the pelvis and the sacrum to open up and allow as easy a birth as possible. That’s why the movement and function of the pelvis is very important throughout pregnancy – both in terms of keeping a pregnant woman comfortable throughout the pregnancy as well as allowing the best function to occur for the best birth.
WHICH KIND OF PELVIC PAIN DO PREGNANT WOMEN OFTEN EXPERIENCE?
We tend to see three main pelvis-related pains in pregnancy:
1. Through the Pubic Symphysis area – quite low in the abdomen. Women might experience pain directly in that area or referred pain into the groin.
2. Pain through the back of the pelvis – a lot of pregnant women get pain through their sacrum (back of the pelvis), and sometimes this can refer pain down into the legs or into their backside. This pain usually has something to do with one or both of the Sacroiliac joints.
3. Lower back pain can also be related to pelvic function, as some muscles in the lower back attach down onto the pelvis. This pain is very common in pregnant women.
IF PREGNANT WOMEN ARE EXPERIENCING PELVIC PAIN – ANYTHING THEY SHOULD AVOID DOING?
If pregnant women are experiencing pelvic pain, I would recommend them NOT to do the following:
1. Don’t stay sedentary for a long period of time. Pregnant women need to get the pelvis ready for birth and they can do that by creating nice movement of the pelvis through being active. If they are working at a desk all day, they can set a timer on their phone for every 30-45min in order to get up and move for a minute or so. They can also incorporate walking and pre-natal yoga or Pilates into their daily or weekly routine.
2. Don’t sit with your legs crossed over, as it creates a lot of rotation and torsion through the pelvis that can result in a) pelvic pain and b) restrictions in the pelvis that can disallow the baby to sit in an ideal position. It’s a great option to get a fit ball. A fit ball allows a lot of small movements throughout the pelvis.
ANY TIPS ON SOME GOOD EXCERSISES FOR PELVIC PAIN?
Try contacting a practitioner such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist or an osteopath – a lot are still doing hands-on consults and some offer tele-health consults. Another great tip is to keep moving – go for gentle walks, do online yoga classes etc. I also highly recommend the following comfortable stretches:
- 1. Hip Circle (watch video)
- 2. Child’s Pose (watch video)
- 3. Bound Angle Pose (watch video)
We hope you guys found this interview and the stretches useful!
P.S. Watch to watch the whole interview with Sammy? Watch it here.
P.P.S. Our beautiful front cover illustration was made by Sarah from Little Harlequin Studio.