Back and Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy and Postpartum Blog

Updated: May 11, 2021


Deborah B. Riczo, PT, DPT, MEd, Author


You are not alone

The vast majority of women by the third trimester of pregnancy will have back or pelvic girdle pain (up to 75%!). That doesn't make it OK, I know. But it is a reason many healthcare providers do not address these complaints, because "it comes with being pregnant" and will "get better after the baby is born."


But what about for RIGHT NOW? And what if you have had your baby and you STILL are having pain??


Here I talk about exactly what is pelvic girdle pain.


You can have pelvic girdle pain along with other problems, like pressure or bulging in your pelvic floor (indicating POP or pelvic organ prolapse), leaking urine/feces/gas, painful intercourse, bulging or doming in your abdomen (indicating diastasis recti abdominis or DRA). I will refer to these below in the exercise section.


I am a physical therapist who has concentrated in women's health for my career. You can see my biography profiled at my publisher, OPTP.com here. (https://www.optp.com/blog/PROfiles-Deborah-Riczo)


What can You do?

Here is my LIST which is definitely NOT in order of importance. How important each one depends on you, your situation, your body, and your life up to this point. There are links to give you more info, some of these links go to my Instagram account, @RiczoHealthEducation. Follow me for ongoing info!


1️⃣Exercises

2️⃣Change your positions often during the day

3️⃣Wear shoes with support. Even when in your home!

4️⃣Pain with sleeping? Check out the age of your mattress

5️⃣Wear a supportive bra!

6️⃣Try a maternity and/or sacroiliac belt or compression shorts

7️⃣Eat healthy and be aware of pregnancy "no-no's"

8️⃣Take care of yourself


Exercises

Exercises during pregnancy and postpartum are so important, and even more important is that you are modifying your exercises depending on what stage you are on this incredible journey. For example, during the last half of pregnancy, avoid positions lying flat on your back as this position can cause some compression on your arteries and veins, and result symptoms from light-headedness, migraines, to medical emergencies. (This has been documented during some medical procedures when a woman is flat on her back for a prolonged time.) Simple remedy--get off your back or put a rolled towel under the right hip when lying flat!


Breathing rhythmically and avoiding any breath-holding is always important, during exercise and also in our day-to-day functioning. The general rule is to exhale just before and during the effort, which reduces excessive pressure in your abdomen in all directions, including your pelvic floor and abdominals. This is extremely important if you are experiencing any leaking urine, bulging or heaviness in your pelvic floor and if you have a diastasis recti abdominis.


I am going to start with the exercises that can make you feel more comfortable and can effectively decrease pain. Here are my top 4️⃣that are great during pregnancy and postpartum. That includes those women who have had a Cesarean delivery also.


You can find more valuable information and exercises in my handout "Exercise and More." Of course, there are plenty more exercises that are beneficial and are included in my book‼︎

"Back and Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy and Postpartum" published by OPTP.com, 2020. Buy now at OPTP.com. Buy now a Amazon.com.


I am describing more about this book here: Back & Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy & Postpartum

The links in the exercises below will give you more details and take you to my Instagram account, @RiczoHealthEducation. Follow me for ongoing exercises‼︎‼



1) Activating your deep core muscles.

This is a great exercise to start during pregnancy and continue throughout your life because it works on your deep core and the coordination of these muscles. When your core is not working properly it can contribute to organ prolapse (of the bladder, uterus or rectum), problems with incontinence (urine and feces), and painful intercourse.


This is a good exercise also if you have a diastasis rectus abdominis, or DRA. If you have a DRA you will notice a bulging or doming of your abdominals especially when you lift your head.


If you are having these symptoms (bulging/heavy sensation in your pelvic floor, incontinence, painful intercourse, bulging or doming of the abdominals) seek out help from a pelvic floor therapist (see last section below). I do go into more detail in my book with advice on beginning steps.


2. Pelvic tilts in various positions

Whenever you are in one position too long you have not been moving your low back, pelvis and hips. Keep this exercise in mind as you can usually find a position to do it and your muscles will thank you!



3. Hip abduction and adduction in various positions