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Women’s Health Physiotherapy & Pregnancy

Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy and continues to change post-natally. It is important to address any issues that occur at this time so as to prevent problems later in life

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a common complaint during or after pregnancy affecting up to one in four pregnant women. Symptoms of PGP include pain at the front and/or the back of the pelvis. Pain is most commonly felt whilst walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed. The pain can affect many daily activities, impacting greatly on your lifestyle. PGP can occur at any stage of your pregnancy, coming on gradually or suddenly.

PGP is caused by asymmetry of the pelvic joints. Usually in PGP the pelvic joints, which should work together in a ring system, are not working normally. Often one joint becomes stiff causing strain and irritation in the other joints. Traditionally, it was thought that all PGP was caused by increasing hormone levels and changing posture during the pregnancy. However, this is not the case. Research has shown no link with hormone levels and the cause of pain. Hormones affect, but do not cause PGP, and therefore manual treatment will help in the vast majority of cases. The asymmetry that is causing the PGP is a mechanical problem therefore it can be treated with manual therapy. Prompt treatment can prevent the condition from worsening and leads to a shorter overall recovery time. If PGP is treated during your pregnancy, the aim is to reduce your pain, and improve your function and mobility.

After the birth of your baby, if your pain is going to resolve without treatment, it will usually do so within a week or two of the birth. This happens in a small number of women. If your pain does not resolve, you should seek treatment immediately.




Treatment may include:

·         Joint mobilisations

·         Muscle energy techniques

·         Soft tissue release

·         Stretches

·         Strengthening exercises

·         Clinical Pilates

·         Birthing position advice

·         Postural advice

·         Use of sacroiliac belt

·         Advice on exercise and movement modification


Urinary incontinence in pregnancy should not be ignored as research suggests that if you develop stress urinary incontinence during your pregnancy, or within 6 weeks following the birth of your baby, you are more likely to suffer from incontinence 5 years later. The mounting pressure of the uterus on your bladder gives you less room to store urine at a time when your pelvic floor muscle may be being stretched by the weight of your bay. Childbirth can also lead to pelvic floor trauma. You may notice that you leak urine when you sneeze or find it harder to hold your urine when you need to ‘go’. An assessment with a Women’s Health Physiotherapist is often all you need to prevent this. Making sure that you are doing the right pelvic floor exercises. Activating the correct muscles for a suitable length of time is important in maintaining a strong pelvic floor through your pregnancy and beyond.  Pilates based pelvic stability exercises are invaluable through pregnancy to strengthen the supporting muscles of the pelvis and ease the pressure on the pelvic floor.

A Women’s Health Physiotherapist can also help with healing of separated abdominal muscles (Diastasis Recti). Diastasis Recti often occurs in the third trimester of pregnancy when the abdominal muscles are at their greatest stretch. The linea alba normally joins the left and right hand abdominal muscles. When the linea alba is overstretched a separation can occur between the left and right sides. Diastasis recti may lead to back pain, make it harder for you to regain your tummy tone and return to your normal exercise routine. It is important to have an assessment to determine if your muscles are separated.