Pelvic pain during pregnancy can be a slight annoyance or extremely debilitating.
The main cause is not pregnancy itself but the result of the extra weight of the baby on a body that isn’t in true alignment. Imagine building blocks stacked up – if they are neatly stacked on top of each other they are much more stable than if they are higgeldy piggeldy – and this is true for your body as well.
During pregnancy a hormone called Relaxin is released – designed to allow your joints to open up to allow your baby to be born. However, if your muscles aren’t strong enough to hold your joints stable they move around which results in the pain – particularly in the pelvis and lower back.
There are lots of things you can do to ease pelvic pain – prevention is better than cure so make sure you attend a pregnancy exercise class that is led by a knowledgeable teacher who can help you target the right areas to strengthen with the best exercises.
However, if you are pregnant and struggling right now with pelvic issues here are a few tips to help you feel more comfortable.
1) Keep your pelvis aligned
You want to line up your ASIS with your pubic bone – when it is balanced like this it is more stable and the joints are less likely to move around.
2) Back your hips up
chances are you’re standing with your hips pushed forwards with most of your weight in the front of your feet. This adds extra pressure to your pelvic floor and your stomach potentially increasing your chances of pelvic flor weakness and diastasis recti (where the muscles in your abdomen don’t close properly after your baby has been born) It also leaves the joints in your pelvis more at risk of becoming unstable and painful. Remembering to check your pelvic alignment several times during the day will start to create good posture a good habit!
3) Ditch the heels
Wear shoes that are as flat as possible – the ideal are shoes with no heels at all but it is important to reduce the height of the heels you wear gradually to avoid straining your back and hips.
4) calf stretch
This is a great exercise and one you can do easily during your day. Your calf muscles become tight and tense with excess sitting and wearing high heels. In turn tight calves pull your pelvis forward and yep you’ve guessed it cause pelvic instability.
5) Wrap your hips
A lovely and effective way of creating supporting your pelvis. Brilliant if you are having to stand or walk a lot. You can use any type of scarf for this as long as it is wide enough to support your pelvis and long enough to tie round you.
6) Hip squeeze
This exercise will help to realign your pelvis and can provide pretty immediate relief.
These exercises are really helpful for when you suffering pelvic pain – once your pelvis is more stable you can introduce strengthening exercises to help support your pelvis, this will help your confidence giving birth (most times pelvic instability does not cause an issue with birth itself but can lead to a slower recovery postpartum) and lessen the risk of pelvic issues after your baby is born.
For more information on my ante- and postnatal courses designed to reduce the likelihood of pelvic issues and reduce symptoms after your baby has been born click here.
Rosie Dhoopun is a Pregnancy and Postnatal Exercise Specialist, Pilates Teacher, Movement Teacher, Massage Therapist, Antenatal Teacher, Pregnancy Coach, Baby and Toddler Massage and Yoga Teacher.
She runs Pregnancy Exercise classes and Restorative Post-natal Exercise Classes in Woodbridge and Ipswich Suffolk