Being pregnant can be hard and we know from personal experience that having back pain while pregnant is extremely hard! Having children can be wonderful but the whole cloud nine experience doesn't last long when you find yourself struggling with pain 24/7 whether you’re walking, sitting, standing or sleeping. Sounds familiar?
Hormones, smormones ..
During pregnancy and sometimes even post-partum, you might experience pain in the ligaments of your pelvic region. The discomfort can increase when you sleep and you may not be able to move without pain. The frustrating, stabbing or nagging pain is caused by hormonal changes, particularly progesterone and relaxin. These two hormones are responsible for the loosening of ligaments, indeed a necessary biological process to prepare the body for birth, but the movement of the joints in the pelvis from their rightful place can sometimes get a little out of hand. When it does, it causes instability of the pelvis, back pain and difficulty in movement.
We're all different and our PGP is different
Depending on the severity, you can experience PGP as anything ranging from dull aches or niggles in a few places, up to excruciating and unrelenting pain around the hip, pubic bone, lower back, tail bone or buttocks, even radiating down the legs. Certain movements can be very hard to manage and some joints may feel very stiff or inflamed. This phenomenon in medical science was usually referred to as SPD (symphysis pubic dysfunction) but is now called PGP (pelvic girdle pain).
Pregnancy back pain do's and don'ts
Some things can aggravate PGP and should be avoided whenever possible. For instance, if you put too much weight on one hip, perhaps when carrying a baby on your side or sleeping on one side, it can actually make the PGP worse. Any activity that requires you to put weight on one leg or keep your legs far apart is usually bad, for example: mopping floors, getting out of the car or bed or bending over to pick something up. Your sitting posture should be correct and crossing your legs is not advised. Try to make your bed as comfortable and cosy as it can be, with proper support, (like pillows etc.) before you go to sleep.
Can PGP be helped at all?
For some women pelvic instability and back pain is unavoidable in pregnancy, but it could be reduced if they’re lucky. Physical therapy with a therapist who’s knowledgeable about PGP can be very beneficial. Usually they teach exercises that help strengthen the muscles supporting the pelvis, but they can also teach you proper ways to move and position the body so as not to aggravate PGP symptoms. Stretching helps to a great extent and some physical therapists will massage your sorest spots.
Sleep while you can with a Snoozle
We’d be crazy not to tell you about the Snoozle maternity slide sheet. A once well-kept secret of midwives up in the icy cold and harsh climate of Iceland, where the weather wreaks havoc on joint pain, is now available to you. It’s wonderful in its simplicity. A 75 x 75 cm (30 x 30 inch) tube made out of almost magical fabric, soft on the outside but slippery as the icy mountains on the inside. When you lie on top of it and start tossing and turning during the night, it helps with the movement. It becomes so much easier than usual and you don’t have to flex those sore hip muscles or swing your body as much as you normally would. All you experience is smooth, sound sleep.