Are you currently pregnant and experiencing any form of pain around your lower back or pelvis? Well, you’re not alone.

In fact, more than two out of three women experience low back pain and one in five women suffer from pelvic pain throughout the course of her pregnancy. These conditions can occur separately or together and often get worse throughout the course of the pregnancy.

The pain can become quite debilitating, interfering with work, sleep and daily activities such as sitting, walking and movements, such as getting in and out of the car or rolling over in bed. Even getting comfortable at night can be a challenge.

So why is back and pelvic pain so common during pregnancy? One of the reasons is the increased secretion of a hormone called relaxin which, in preparation for childbirth, loosens the ligaments that stabilise the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix. This process can cause imbalances around the back and the pelvis and result in pain, e.g. in the low back, buttocks  and/or around the pubic symphysis.

What can you do to manage these symptoms?

  1. Firstly, try avoiding certain movements such as bringing your legs far apart – instead, keep your knees together, e.g. when getting out of bed or in and out of the car.
  2. Sleeping with a pillow between your knees can also help to keep your spine and pelvis in good alignment and reduce the strain on the pelvic girdle.
  3. A pregnancy belt (also known as a sacroiliac belt) provides support to the low back and pelvis and can be particularly beneficial during long periods of standing or walking.
  4. In terms of treatment, physiotherapy, osteotherapy, pregnancy massages and acupuncture are all therapies that can help manage your pain.

To make up for the reduced stability of your pelvis, a gentle and targeted exercise regime, such as a Clinical Pilates program, which focuses on strengthening your core and pelvic floor muscles can be particularly beneficial. It can also improve your posture and get your body strong for when your baby has finally arrived

BETTINA RUHL Senior Physiotherapist