Back pain, pelvic pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction

Do you have pain in your back or pelvis? Many women get pain in their lower back and pelvis during pregnancy. Here are some useful tips.

Back pain is common during pregnancy due to hormones, and because your posture changes as the baby grows larger. Be aware of your posture and pull your pelvis in to prevent your back from arching.

You can also keep your spine in good shape by exercising during pregnancy .
Yoga, water aerobics and swimming are recommended. Persistent back pain can be prevented with physiotherapy, acupuncture, osteopathy or chiropractic.

If back pain comes and goes, it may be caused by contractions. Sometimes they are felt more acutely in the back than in the belly. Ask your midwife if you are in doubt.

Pelvic pain
Pain in your pelvic area can also be a symptom of symphysis pubis dysfunction (pelvic girdle pain). Pelvic pain is often made worse by activities such as getting dressed, going for a walk or climbing stairs. Pelvic pain can be caused by various factors, such as pregnancy hormones making certain areas of the pelvis softer to facilitate delivery of the baby.

One of these areas is a point at the front of the pelvis called the symphysis where the two halves meet. Pelvic pain can also be caused by the pelvic bones shifting position.

Management and treatment of pelvic pain and symphysis pubis dysfunction
Pelvic pain usually starts around mid-term. Your midwife may refer you for physiotherapy, acupuncture or osteopathy/chiropractic.

The pain may be eased by a pelvic belt or special exercises. Talk to your midwife.
Avoid big movements, prolonged sitting in the same position and diagonal movements if these things make the pain worse.

Here are some things that can help reduce pain in the lower back or pelvic area
• Take breaks throughout the day.
• Change your position frequently.
• Avoid leaning to one side. Stretch, regardless of whether you are standing, walking or sitting.
• If you work sitting or standing up, make sure you change positions frequently.
• Try putting an ice pack for 15-20 minutes in the places where you feel the most pain.
• Use stable, comfortable shoes that are easy to put on and take off.

What if the pain continues after your baby is born?
The pain usually decreases after the birth, but in rare cases they continue and require treatment. In most cases, it helps to do exercises that focus on pelvic pain. Speak to your midwife or a specialised physiotherapist.

Read more about continuing to work or taking early leave during pregnancy.

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