What is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)?

  • a condition which affects 1 in 5 pregnant women
  • pain and stiffness in one or more pelvic joints
  • asymmetry of movement, joint irritation and pain when walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed
  • in some cases, long-term pain and dysfunction after giving birth which can persist for months or years without treatment

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How can we treat PGP?

  • PGP can be treated with manual therapy
  • refer for assessment and treatment of the pelvic joints and soft tissues by a manual therapist (physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor – NHS or private practitioner)
  • pain and function should improve after each treatment session
  • discuss pain relief options – paracetamol is safe in pregnancy but often not effective, and stronger pain medication may be more beneficial

When can PGP be treated?

  • early diagnosis and treatment can lead to full resolution or reduction in symptoms during pregnancy
  • it is safe to treat at any stage during or after pregnancy, even if there is very severe pain

How can we help with PGP during labour and birth?

  • ensure that the team is aware of PGP and its effects, and it is documented in maternity notes
  • avoid labour and birth positions which strain pelvic joints
  • consider labour and birth in water and use upright positions, all fours or lying on one side

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What can we do postnatally?

  • after birth, offer en-suite facilities and physical support with self-care and caring for the baby if in hospital
  • offer pain relief and refer for early review by the manual therapist

What is the Pelvic Partnership?

  • a charity which offers support and information to women and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of pregnancy-related PGP
  • For more detailed information visit www.pelvicpartnership.org.uk or contact the helpline on 01235 820921 and leave a message for one of the volunteers to ring you back

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