Pelvic girdle pain (PGP )
What is Pelvic girdle pain (PGP)?
PGP is pain or discomfort in any of the joints of the pelvis and is extremely common during pregnancy anywhere from 13-30 weeks and approximately 50% of women will report it by 20 weeks.
It is present usually in the posterior part of the pelvis reducing the capacity of long periods of standing, walking, and sitting as well as rolling in bed or bending over some time.
What causes PFP?
The exact cause is yet to be identified but many factors are thought to contribute. This includes:
• Hormonal changes — increase the laxity of the pelvic ligaments – change the demand on muscles and joint surfaces – change our sensitivity and perception of pain.
• Postural changes — occur as baby grow – more load to carry – many changes in the body take place
How long will it last?
The duration of PGP varies depending on the individual however, it can last for the duration of pregnancy due to the nature of PGP. Therefore, it is important to seek help early to manage the symptoms. On a positive note, most women will have their symptoms resolve after birth with 3 % of women reporting symptoms postnatal.
What can I do?
Seek advice from a women’s health physiotherapist if you begin to experience PGP. The earlier you can do this the more likely it will be managed well throughout the pregnancy.
Some general advice to follow:
• Avoid prolonged sitting or standing
• Avoid asymmetrical activities (stairs, standing with weight to one side, lunges)
• Shorten your stride with walking
Women’s health physiotherapist will help individualize the above advice whilst providing treatment. Treatment will involve soft tissue massage around the low back and hips, being fitted with a pelvic belt, and specific strengthening exercises once ready.