Pregnancy is such an amazing journey! But with all the positives and amazing things going on, it’s also a period of dramatic change for the body over the next 9 month period.
Pregnancy Related Pelvic Girdle pain is defined as any pain between iliac crest (top of your pelvic bone) and the gluteal folds (bottom muscles). Due to the changes that occur in and around the pelvis during pregnancy, it is a common condition among many pregnant women. The pain can radiate down the back of the thigh and can also occur with pain in the pubic symphysis (Vleeming et al 2008).
During pregnancy – the pelvis will widen and the hormone relaxin causes ligaments in and around the pelvis to loosen in order to accommodate for birth. This effectively means that the stability of the pelvis will become reduced. Whenever the body senses that it’s not as stable as it should be, your muscles start to take up the slack and as a result, they can become overworked, tight and tender.
The onset of pain can be as early as the 1st trimester, but more typically toward the 2nd and 3rdtrimester. Whilst this is a common occurrence and self-limiting – (once bub arrives things settle down pretty quickly) – you don’t have to suffer in silence! This is a time to enjoy your pregnancy, and not have pain dampen your experience.
Too often do I hear of women talking about suffering through their pregnancies in pain, and with limited movement – this simply doesn’t have to be the case.
Symptoms often include:
*pain turning in bed, first few steps in the morning, getting in/out of car, stairs, dressing
*limited standing and walking tolerance
*Sharp, stabbing pain and feeling like the leg could give way
The following are 3 strategies that you can adopt safely at any point in your pregnancy in order to reduce the pain and even prevent symptoms from occurring.
- Bridging exercise – Glute bridges keep your glutes and hamstrings nice and strong. This will provide muscular stability to the pelvis, whilst also keep you moving and exercising in a safe way throughout your pregnancy.
- Squats – Wall ball squats are great to keep your quads, hamstrings, and glutes strong. This will keep your pelvis strong and able to cope with the demands of walking and daily activities as you grow heavier in your later stages of pregnancy. This will keep you moving and enjoying your daily activities throughout your pregnancy.
- Glute Releases on foam roller – As your pelvis expands, your glutes will be holding on tight to keep you stable. Strengthening them will make them more efficient to cope with this role, but don’t forget to relieve the tension by foam rolling and stretching. Reducing the tension in your glutes will stop your muscles from getting knots and causing pain. Your gluteus medius can cause referral aches right down the back of the thigh and can mimic sciatic pain – nasty!! So, keep your glutes mobile and strong to reduce the risk of pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy.
Keeping active, and performing catered and individualized exercises that have been prescribed by a health professional have so many health benefits for you and bub, so keep moving and try the above strategies to help you through the next nine months. As always, if in doubt – get it checked out.