A couple of things to think about if your are pregnant and you are experiencing pelvic pain or lower back pain:
Pelvic pain is a very real issue for many pregnant women.
Why do we suffer from pelvic pain?
Unknowingly, many of us go into pregnancy with a weakened pelvic floor as well as a variety of muscle imbalances. Both issues can go undetected, but they can lead to pelvic and lower back discomforts.
No matter how you feel, you don’t have to suffer through it. Be proactive, and save yourself the pain later.
From my own experience, here’s what I suggest you do:
Find the cause, don’t just treat the symptoms!
There are ways to minimize pain by guarding your movements. For example, you might swivel your pelvis while keeping your knees together to get out of a car. This guarded movement might minimize your pelvic pain, but you’re not treating the cause.
You need to get to the root cause of your symptoms, and treat it. Otherwise not only will you not improve, but you will feel progressively worse!
I learned from my physiotherapist that for many of these ailments, the root cause is a weak pelvic floor. A large number of our back and leg muscles are all connected to the pelvic floor. Any imbalance in there, can cause a cascade of other problems.
The funny thing is, we would never even make that connection! Personally, it came as a shock to me, that I knew so little about how my body works.
Get help, even if you’re unsure if you need it!
If you have severe back/hip pain, make sure you get it checked out. If it hurts so much that you find it difficult to walk, that is not normal pregnancy pain. A physiotherapist can help you a lot.
Most benefit plans cover a large percentage of physiotherapy fees!
If you do need a physiotherapist, make sure that you choose one who specializes in female pelvic pain. They will have more experience with the specific symptoms you’re feeling.
It is very important for your recovery, to choose the right professional.
Your physiotherapist can give you a set of exercises and stretches that can help you strengthen and relax your muscles. Another thing I learned, was the importance of relaxing my muscles.
Who knows for how many years I had been walking around with perma-tense muscles? We do that subconsciously to guard against pain, or even at the thought of pain. We must very consciously fight the urge to stay tense.
If you don’t get help when you need it…
I found all of this out the hard way. I had excruciating girdle pain throughout my entire pregnancy. Since I was going through pregnancy for the first time, I didn’t know what was normal and what wasn’t. I obviously had nothing to compare it to.
Had I known this in advance, and gone to see a physiotherapist, I think I could have prevented or at least improved my postpartum situation.
After giving birth I woke up with a case of SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction). My pelvis separated so much that I was unable to walk for 2 months.
Although many women have pelvic separation to some degree, the extent of my SPD is not so common, so please do not be alarmed. More about my SPD in a different post.
The right shoes
Choose flat shoes rather than heels, for a better posture.
The natural curvature of your back is already exaggerated by the increasing weight of your growing belly, why push it even further by wearing heels?
Some women find relief in a support belt. A coworker lent me one, but perhaps it wasn’t the right one for me, because unfortunately it did not help me at all.
Many women do find relief with support bands, and I will give them another shot next time.
I used very warm magic bags (careful that you don’t make them too hot, for the baby’s safety), and they helped a lot. Similarly, warm baths and showers might also do the trick.
Massages are also great! Make sure that you go to a massage therapist you can trust, better yet, a pregnancy massage therapist you can trust. My massage therapist worked wonders on my pelvic pain.
She always makes me feel better, on the rare occasions I can go see her.
Please note that depending on your medical insurance plan, part of the costs of a massage may be covered by your benefits. It’s definitely worth looking into it.
With your doctor’s approval, you could also take some Tylenol. Though it isn’t guaranteed, it might help with the pain and inflammation.
If you are feeling pelvic pain, I really hope that you will find relief soon!
Hang in there,