Pelvic Pain in Pregnancy

Ah the wonders of pregnancy! The full-bodied luscious hair, the glowing skin, the swollen ankles….

Not everyone glides through pregnancy with ease. Among the common ailments of pregnancy, is pelvic pain. It is estimated that 1 in 5 pregnant women will experience some pelvic or back pain through their pregnancy, most commonly in the second and third trimester.

Most people with pelvic girdle pain have pain in the buttock, back, groin, thigh or pubic bone. The pain tends to be aggravated by standing and walking and some can start to have a ‘waddling gait’. Other mums-to-be have pain when turning in bed or getting out of a car. 

For some lucky ladies, this can resolve by itself. For others, the pain can become quite disabling. This can be especially difficult as the chances of getting pelvic pain increases with pregnancies. Having a reduction in mobility and a three-year-old to run around after is quite testing to put it mildly.

Although pain in the pelvis and low back is relatively common, around 50 to 70% of pregnant women will experience symptoms in their pregnancy. This does not have to be normal.


Despite all of this I would like to let you know that physiotherapy can help!


Why do we think women get pelvic pain in pregnancy?

Well the evidence we have, suggests that there are multiple factors. Previously it was thought that the hormone relaxin was responsible. This helpful hormone is released to loosen the pelvic ligaments ready for pelvis to widen for the birth of the baby.

It has been found that these hormones peak at around 12-14 weeks, this does not correlate to when we normally see symptoms developing so there must be another reason!

Research has suggested that the pelvic joints moving asymmetrically and altered activity of the muscles around the back and pelvis are having an impact. Essentially the altered biomechanics that occur in the body to accommodate the growing baby seem to be responsible.

There are many risk factors that predispose some women to this more than others. What we do know is that early intervention is thought to give the best chance of avoiding more severe problems further on in pregnancy. 

What treatment can you have when you are pregnant?

Seeing a physiotherapist who is experienced in this area is important as they can give appropriate advice and treatment for the problem.

Treatment includes muscle training around the pelvis, spine and abdominals, manual therapy for the spine, pelvis and hip and pain relief such as acupuncture.

Acupuncture has been well researched and is shown to be safe in, as long as the practitioner is specifically trained in pregnancy acupuncture.



Read about Anna Watson and Ante/Post natal Physio at Head2Toe Physio Dorking here


Assessment and treatment can be administered in the clinic or in the comfort of your own home.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from Womens Health issues and would like to have a physiotherapy assessment with Anna Watson for suitability of Womens Health physiotherapy treatment, contact us here.

Mogren IM, Pohjanen AI. Low back pain and pelvic pain during pregnancy: prevalence and risk factors. Spine 2005; 30(8):983-991.

 Wu WH, Meijer OG, Uegaki K, Mens JM, Van Dieen JH, Wuisman PI et al. Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (PPP), I: Terminology, clinical presentation, and prevalence. Eur Spine J 2004.

Elden H, Ostgaard HC, Fagevik-Olsen M, Ladfors L Hagberg H (2008) Treatments of pelvic girdle pain in pregnant women: adverse effects of standard treatment, acupuncture and stabilising exercises on the pregnancy, mother, delivery and the fetus/neonate. BMC Complement Altern Med. 26, 8, 34). (49)