15 Ways to Relieve Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

For some pregnant women, pelvic girdle pain (PGP) start's as early as the first trimester. Others might only experience it as late as the final few days before labour.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to ease the discomfort and even avoid PGP all together. 

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What Causes Pelvic Girdle Pain During Pregnancy?

Some women produce too much 'relaxin' - one of the essential pregnancy hormones and this is linked to pelvic girdle pain. Relaxin allows the ligaments in the pelvic region to relax and become super stretchy; it also softens up and widens the cervix.

Too much 'relaxin' causes the pelvic bones and ligaments to relax too much. This can cause sacroiliac joint dysfunction - instability of the joints and increases the likelihood of pain in the pelvic area and SPD. 

Even though pelvic girdle pain is completely harmless to you and your baby, it can still cause serious discomfort around the pelvic region.

It can make simple everyday tasks a little tricky, including:

  • Sitting down
  • Getting up from a seated position
  • Walking

Pelvic pain might be a common pregnancy ache, but don't worry, you just need to know how to care for it.

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Symptoms of Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

pelvic girdle pain symptoms in pregnancy

An estimated one in five pregnant women experience pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy. So what does it feel like? Symptoms range from moderate to severe and typically include:

  • Pain felt directly at the front and centre of the pubic bone
  • Pain that radiates across one/both sides of the lower back region
  • Pain that is felt in the perineum (area between the vagina and anus)
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    Exercise to Help Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

    One of the best ways to overcome pelvic girdle pain is to stay active and to do light exercises that specifically target your pelvic region. Certain Pelvic floor exercises are great for stabilising the joints around the pelvic region while also promoting relaxation, these include:

    • Pelvic tilts
    • Kegels
    • Cat stretches 
    • Hip bridges

    Mild stretching can also help the muscles around your quads, back and buttocks relax. Gentle movements are the way to go and you should never aim for a range of motion that’s too full. In any case, don’t open your legs too wide.

    exercise to help pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy

    birthing ball will also help with pelvic girdle pain and the soft yet sturdy material provides extra comfort. Just sit on the ball and use your buttocks to move around in gentle circular motions to engage the pelvic joints.

    Specific yoga exercises to target PGP can help relieve pain and discomfort in the sacroiliac joints, hips and lower back. The exercises below are highly effective at improving not only the functionality of your pelvic floor but also strengthening it and making it healthier, both during and after pregnancy:

    • Tadasana
    • Simple seated forward fold
    • Cat/cow pose
    • Downward-facing dog
    • Plank on knees
    • Chaturanga on knees

    Exercises to Avoid With Pelvic Girdle Pain

    Although there are many exercises that are able to help pelvic girdle pain, there are some you should avoid in your pursuit of an active lifestyle, these include:

    • Any kind of squatting exercises including lunges
    • Breast stroke-style swimming
    • Walking briskly or taking long strides
    • Lifting heavy weights or doing exercises which place heavy loads on your hips (again, think lunges, squats, deadlifts, good mornings, etc.)
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    Other Treatment for Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

    pregnancy massage

    In addition to exercises targeting pelvic girdle pain, alternative treatments exist that can help you to maintain an active lifestyle and offer tremendous relief. These include:

    • Physiotherapy 
    • Acupuncture
    • A prenatal massage

    Research has found a pregnancy support belt to be extremely helpful and one of the most effective ways of minimising pelvic girdle pain. These specialist belt's give gentle and steady compression during everyday activities – helping to support your growing belly and cut down discomfort that’s typically felt as you go about your daily activities.

    Pregnancy support belts can also provide certain cues to your body so that it automatically reminds itself to observe proper posture. By supporting the torso and lower back, a maternity support belt prevents over extension of the lower back, while encouraging correct posture.

    Recap 15 Ways to Ease Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy

    • Pelvic tilts
    • Kegels
    • Cat stretches
    • Hip bridges
    • Pregnancy ball exercises
    • Tadasana
    • Simple seated forward fold
    • Cat/cow pose
    • Downward-facing dog
    • Plank on knees
    • Chaturanga on knees
    • Physiotherapy
    • Acupuncture
    • Prenatal massage
    • Pregnancy support belt

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