Physio for Pregnancy and the Postnatal Period
Physiotherapy For Low Back Pain/Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), previously called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD).
Pregnancy is a time where your body goes through a lot of change, in quite a short period of time. It is normal to have some new aches and pains as your pregnancy progresses. Women who had pain before becoming pregnant may find that their pain stays the same or even improves – although some women may find that their pain worsens.
It is not normal to have pain which stops you from doing your daily activities. Low back pain (LBP) and pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) are common conditions. These affect up to 50% of pregnant women. Many women can manage their pain on their own with the right information and exercises.
What is PGP?
PGP is the term used for pain in and around your pelvis. This may be very low in your back, buttocks, hips, groin or pubic bone. You may have pain in just one place or all around your pelvis. Sometimes you may have pain down one or both legs.
The pain may start suddenly (e.g. after a fall) or increase gradually over a few days or weeks.
What causes LBP/PGP?
Most LBP/PGP is caused by your joints moving unevenly and muscles working harder as your pregnancy progresses. This may be due to a combination of factors, including the size and shape of your bump, your posture, and activities you do at work or at home. This includes looking after other children.
How can physiotherapy help?
I will assess your posture, pelvic joint movements, muscles, lumbar spine (lower back) and hips as necessary. I can then explain the reasons for your pain, and treatments that may help. These treatments may include:
- joint treatment techniques
- releasing tight muscles
- a maternity support belt
- information and advice
I can also give you advice about posture, childcare, work activities, delivery positions and pain management (excluding medication).
Many women with PGP will see a real benefit after just one physiotherapy appointment, and most should be pain free or very much improved after two or three appointments. A small number of women have a problem which can take longer to treat. These women can arrange to be seen as often as necessary by the physiotherapist during and after their pregnancy.
Will it be possible to have a normal delivery?
Most women should be able to have a vaginal delivery unless other obstetric factors are present. I can advise you on positions for labour and delivery.
If I had it last time will I get PGP again?
Some women have PGP in every pregnancy, and others just in one of their pregnancies. Either way, PGP can usually be helped by physiotherapy.
Is it just because I’m pregnant? I’ve heard that you can’t do anything about it.
Physiotherapy treatment can relieve most PGP. It is not normal to have severe disabling pain during or after pregnancy.
Will I need a maternity belt?
Following assessment I will be able to tell you if a maternity belt might help your pain. Different physiotherapy treatments may be better than a belt. For some women a belt may not be helpful.
How long will PGP last post-natally?
Many women find their pain improves after delivery, either instantly or within a few weeks. Some women develop PGP after the birth. If your pain is making it difficult to care for your baby in the first 3 months, you should seek physiotherapy.
These are additional problems that occur during pregnancy and can benefit from physiotherapy Find out more >