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Pelvic girdle pain sounds ever so Victorian. It used to be called symphysis pubis dysfunction, which is rather a mouthful, so perhaps its new moniker is better, despite the images of frilly bloomers it conjures. Whatever name it goes by, it bloody hurts.
It can start any time in your pregnancy and usually causes pubic pain and tenderness, difficulty walking, especially up stairs or getting up from a chair and pain if you lift something (like a toddler). It can hurt when you roll over in bed, make you waddle when you walk and give you lower back pain and knee pain.
The symptoms are partly caused by a hormone called 'relaxin' (fat chance of that) softening the pelvic ligaments. There are other factors, such as your pelvic floor muscles being stretched and less effective at supporting your pelvis and the pelvic joint at the front of the pelvis widens in pregnancy - although the amount of widening is not directly related to pelvic pain.
If you’ve had lower back pain or pelvic pain before, you have an increased risk of pelvic girdle pain. Special exercises from a physiotherapist can help, as can a pelvic support belt.
You can get more comfortable by moving within your pain limits and exercising gently in water - avoid breaststroke with its froggy leg movements, however.
This condition will not affect your ability to give birth and the pain should go a few weeks after you’ve had the baby. But it can be really miserable and overshadow your pregnancy, so make sure you get physiotherapy help and advice.
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