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Pelvic Girdle Pain, Pubic Pain & Pelvic Instability in Pregnancy – SIJ, SPD

Many women become pregnant and think the only exercise they can do is walking. Unfortunately too much walking can trigger a very uncomfortable condition called SPD – symphis pubis dysfunction or pelvic pain, pelvic instability or pelvic girdle pain.

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You can’t STRETCH your way out of pelvic pain !

Too often pelvic pain is dismissed as lower back pain. When in fact it is inflammation of the pelvic area. Pelvic pain is also not something you can “stretch” your way out of with yoga moves or lunge type stretching, in fact this could make it worse ! Pelvic pain is also commonly called “lightning crotch” and confused with round ligament pain.
You may have this condition if you are having difficulty getting in and out of bed or the car and even walking.
Don’t stress you are not alone and it does not harm your baby.

1 in 5 women will suffer with pelvic instability
with about 5% having serious problems.
Excessive instability is called pregnancy related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PRPGP)

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Pelvic pain – can be managed & avoided :

Early assessment, safe and sensible exercise during pregnancy and intervention can improve daily function.
Grab my FREE GUIDE to Pregnancy Exercise here to get started.
Also watch my VIDEO on how to Manage and Avoid Pelvic Pain :

What exactly is pelvic instability or SIJ pain ?

  • The ligaments holding the pelvic bones together become soft and stretch due to hormones (relaxin). This leads to an unstable pelvis. Pain or instability can occur at any of the pelvic joints
  • The pubic bone at the front can separate from 2 – 3 mm, this starts from as early as 8 weeks pregnant, it can separate as far as 10 mm and this is when pubic symphysis dysfunction is diagnosed.
  • The joints at the top back of the pelvic called sacroiliac joints – SIJ also stretch making this joint unstable which causes pain and dysfunction
  • Changes in weight and posture also affect the position of the pelvis, which in turn makes it more difficult for the muscles to stabilise the pelvis as they are stretched and weakened. Learn more about postural alignment changes during pregnancy here.
  • So basically, during pregnancy the pelvis is floating and if you decide to do regular walking  (especially for longer than 20 -30  mins)  it begins to rub where the joints are split – leading to instability, inflammation and pain.
  • Watch the FREE WORKSHOP I did about how to prevent and manage pelvic pain, plus how to continue to exercise with this condition – here in my free Facebook Community #BFabSquad

There is a strong link between regular walking and the occurrence of pelvic instability.

Not everyone who walks gets pelvic instability, but I find many women who do get uncomfortable pelvic pain are often regular long walkers  (e.g 2 mins or more) !

Because of this, I caution my participants against excessive long walks (even during shopping) if it is causing pain.
Other activities to avoid are prolonged standing especially with weight on one hip (often by carrying a child or heavy hand bag), carrying very heavy objects, bending and twisting caused by housework such as mopping and vacuuming, wearing high heels, sitting on a hard floor or hard chair, sitting on a very soft couch, sitting with legs crossed and climbing stairs.

Don’t stress there are still other exercises you can do other than walking ! Plus with early intervention pelvic pain can be managed and avoided as mentioned in my video above.

Pain and instability can occur in one or all of the 3 pelvic joints those being the pubic symphysis joint at the front of the pelvis and the left and right Sacroiliac joints at the back

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Too often the symptoms of PRPGP or SPD are dismissed as just lower back pain – and ignored is it considered as…

“just one of the uncomfortable things that all pregnant women get”.

Check list – for the symptoms of pelvic pain / sij pain :

Use this pelvic pain check list below and if you have any symptoms please see a Women’s Health Physio.

  • Pain in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttock, thigh, hip and lower back
  • Difficulty walking or a waddling walking pattern
  • Pain when standing on 1 leg
  • Pain when turning or twisting
  • Pain in hips when rolling over in bed
  • Difficulty getting into and out of the car
  • Clicking/clunking sounds from the pelvis
  • Pain when opening  your legs
  • Shooting pain down the inner thigh
  • Pubic bone pain

Symptoms of pain from the sacroiliac joints (sij at the back)

  • Sharp fleeting pain especially on rising up from sitting in a chair – felt on either side of the back of the pelvis (pain can switch sides easily)
  • Shooting pains into the buttocks or down the back of the legs to the knee
  • Pain when lying on your back and side without support between the knees
  • One sided pain concentrated in the buttocks area.

If any pain is accompanied by pins and needles or numbness that extends further than the knee – please have this assessed by a medical professional.

Safe & effective exercise can help avoid and manage pelvic pain

Specialised exercises (including functional training and structural balance) are important in improving the strength of the supporting structures within and around the pelvis.

Please don’t assume that you should just immediately cease your exercise program if you have any symptoms of pelvic pain. Have a health professional or certified trainer assess and guide you.
A pelvic support or belly belt provides most women some relief from pelvic pain. Plus regular massage or joint mobilisation from a qualified pregnancy physiotherapist.

At Bodyfabulous I only focus on safe and sensible exercises and I have help many pregnant and postpartum women manage this condition. With focus on strength and conditioning of the legs, specialised pelvic floor conditioning and mobility exercises, plus improving core strength during and after pregnancy – all which can help prevent and relieve pelvic instability symptoms.

Join my new online Pregnancy Workout program find out more here.

 

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Will pelvic pain improve after birth ?

Research studies have shown that the majority of women (approx 93%) recover from pelvic pain within the first 3 months of giving birth. However there are a small percentage whose symptoms will last longer. If so, consult your Doctor.

Pelvic Pain can also be prevented by specialised exercises done during pregnancy that focus on mobility and structural balance. Grab my FREE GUIDE here

www.pelvicinstability.org.au is an excellent resource for support for PRPGP also please get assessed by a Women’s Health Physio.
If you would like personalised program on how you can continue to exercise safely and effectively during your pregnancy, especially if you have Pelvic Pain please contact me here
xx
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