Musculoskeletal pain in pregnancy

You are not alone. Many expecting mums experience musculoskeletal pain. With the help of your physio, you'll be able to overcome the causes and reduce the pain.

Pregnancy causes several changes to the body.

Growing a bub means we carry more weight; our muscles stretch and change shape to make room for baby. As a result our posture and centre of gravity both change.

This change in our posture and the weight of bub (and placenta and fluid etc) can put excess load on our back and pelvis.

To add to this, our ligaments prepare for birth by becoming nice and flexible. However, unfortunately, means that sometimes our joints don’t cope as well with the load of the growing bub and all the activities we want our body to be able to do during the day.

Understanding Pelvic Girdle Pain

Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is one of the conditions that are very common in pregnancy.

It is where the Sacroiliac Joint (SIJ) or Pubic Symphysis (PS), or both, become a source of pain.

These joints sit at the base of our lower back and the front of our pelvis and help to transfer load when we walk.

Common symptoms are pain at the back of the pelvis (one-sided or both) or the front of the pelvis.

Expecting mums with PGP will often have difficulty with walking, climbing stairs, and standing on one leg to dress. Pain often starts anywhere from week 14 to 30 of your pregnancy and approximately 1 in 5 pregnant women will experience it (so don’t worry you are not alone).

A common misconception is that your joints are unstable or “out of alignment”.

Please don’t be fearful of this, the pelvic joints are some of the most stable joints in the body. It might just be that your muscles, joints and ligaments are working overtime to keep up with your changing body and thus a physio assessment might be needed to assess which structure is giving you grief and what can be done to help reduce the pain.

In the meant time, before you’re able to see your physiotherapist, some simple advice follows:

  • Avoid sustained postures, like sitting or standing in one spot, longer than 30 minutes at a time.
  • Break up long walks into shorter bursts of activity;
  • Reduce the amount of time where you load one side of the body more (like climbing stairs, standing on one leg to dress, etc…).

If you are experiencing PGP it is best to book in with a physiotherapist experienced in women’s health to get an individualised assessment to decide if exercises, hand on therapy or a supportive brace will be best for your body and symptoms.

Please contact us if you have any further questions or make an appointment so we can undertake an individual assessment.

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