Pregnancy pain

Pregnancy Pain


Some women develop pelvic pain in pregnancy which may contain post-partum. This is sometimes called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD).

It is caused by a misalignment or stiffness of your pelvic joints either in the back or front of your pelvis causing severe pain around your pelvic area often making it difficult for you to get around.

Symptoms can include:

  • pain over the front of your pelvis on the pubic bone in the centre
  • pain across one or both sides of your lower back
  • pain in the area between your vagina and anus (the perineum)
  • pain can also radiate to your thighs
  • some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area


The pain can be most noticeable when you are:

  • walking
  • standing on one leg especially when you’re getting dressed or going upstairs
  • turning over in bed
  • moving your legs apart – for example: when you get out of a car


Physical therapy, such as osteopathy aims to relieve or ease pain, improve muscle function and improve your pelvic joint position and stability. This may include:


  • manipulation and articulation of your joints in your pelvis, hip and spine
  • exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach, back and hip muscles, including in water
  • advice and suggestions, including positions for labour and birth, looking after your baby and positions for sex
  • equipment, if necessary, such as pelvic support belts


There are lots of reasons why your back hurts during pregnancy. Some of these, you can’t do anything about. For example:

  • Increased levels or the hormone relaxin: This softens your ligaments to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal of your pelvis and subsequently puts more strain on your muscles and tendons making them ache.
  • Your uterus expands: This shifts your centre of gravity forward also putting more strain on your spine, muscles and ligaments have to compensate and overwork making them ache.


On the positive side, there are issues which you can do something about:

  • Osteopathy treatment: Osteopathy is a very gentle treatment which is safe for pregnant women. We have successfully treated many pregnant women with a range of symptoms like neck, shoulder, back and pelvis pain. When you come for treatment, in addition to the hands on treatment you will also be given advice and safe exercises and stretches to help you manage your symptoms during the pregnancy.


  • Weak abdominal tone: the muscles around your tummy are designed to give some support to the lower back. By doing gentle exercises such as daily walking and doing exercises which engage your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles, you can give your aching back some much needed movement and support.


  • Posture: When you are tired and aching it can be all too tempting to slump on a couch and hope that when you get up you will feel better. This rarely works. If you are tired, have a lie down on a properly supportive surface (like your bed). Then, when your batteries are recharged stand / sit up with a straight back.