Category: Blog

Written by Becky Martin, the Pelvic Partnership. January 2019

I am just in the process of analysing the results of the Pelvic Partnership Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) survey we conducted in 2018. 367 women responded and a depressingly small number of them received the treatment they needed in a decent length of time. I suppose those who did fare well may not have taken the time to fill in a survey, but I know, from experience working on the Pelvic Partnership helpline and speaking with women, that PGP doesn’t tend to magically disappear as much as some doctors and midwives like to think. I had this conversation with a midwife once who swore blind that almost all PGP goes away after birth. I asked her how many women she had maintained contact with more than a few days after birth and she went quiet. It’s a common phenomenon that PGP takes a few days’ break after the birth while women are taking painkillers and comes back with a vengeance once they start moving around again.

Perhaps there are lots of trusts out there making sure that all women presenting with PGP are immediately referred to NHS physiotherapists and given manual therapy straight away. These service providers may become conspicuous in their absence as the data unfolds, but somehow I doubt it.

Things have improved for women with PGP over the years the charity has been in operation, but there are a depressing number of respondents with recent pregnancies who are still experiencing the same old problems we have been seeing 5 for years: doctors failing to refer to physiotherapists; group exercise classes (useless and inaccessible for women with other children); lists of painful exercises. With funding issues as they are in the NHS, it is not really surprising that waiting lists are long, but some women are waiting so long they are facing severe PGP in the birthing room – I’ve stared down this barrel myself and it is not pleasant. The fact that it is completely avoidable is beyond vexing. My second birth was the most beautiful experience of my life – PGP-free, thanks to manual therapy!

We still have so far to go before there is equitable treatment for all women in the UK. I still have so far to go before I finish crunching these numbers, and I’m going to have to find some way to deal with the anger and sadness I am feeling for all these women who have been let down so badly. Each data entry is a story, a woman just like me, balancing work or family with chronic pain and disability. We are doing our best to weave these stories together and tell them to the world in a format that the folks who value numbers will take notice of. Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

Pregnancy-related Pelvic Girdle Pain affects 1 in 5 women and is treatable. Please help to spread the word that #PGPistreatable by sharing our Stickmum campaign videos today. Follow the campaign at PP__PGP_charity and on Facebook.

Bringing our Stickmum campaign to life

Written by the Pelvic Partnership. January 2019.

Our Stickmum campaign started in November 2015. We distributed over 100,000 copies of our upbeat and informative Stickmum leaflet for frontline healthcare professionals throughout the UK in GP, midwifery and physiotherapy journals thanks to a £10,000 grant from the Big Lottery Fund.

We wanted to capitalise on the success of the initiative so after receiving another Big Lottery Fund £10,000 grant and £1,000 from Tesco Bags of Help in 2018, we have been able to create two campaign videos. One of the videos brings our Stickmum cartoon stories to life through animation. The other shows what effective assessment and treatment for Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) look like.

Our Stickmum campaign aims to encourage you to join us to raise awareness of pregnancy-related PGP, which is a common (affecting one in five women), but not a normal part of pregnancy. The good news is that PGP is treatable, but sadly PGP and its treatment are often poorly understood. We want women to be able to access treatment easily on the NHS, not just in private practice. With your help we hope that these videos will enable us to reach more healthcare professionals and women with PGP, spreading the word that #PGPistreatable and help to #getamummoving.

One of our Trustees, Becky, who features in our ‘what to expect from treatment’ video, explains:

‘Every healthcare professional who comes into contact with women with PGP needs to see this video. It details the gold standard in treatment – treatment that actually works. I can vouch for this personally: that’s me in the video! My first pregnancy was a horror show of pain and terrible treatment. My second was a different story altogether, thanks to good manual therapy. PGP is very simple to treat in most cases and can be done at any stage of pregnancy.

Too often we hear of women with PGP being sent to group exercise classes instead of getting good hands-on treatment. Too often we hear of women being given a list of painful exercises they won’t be able to do, without getting the manual therapy they need. Too often, we hear of pregnant women left to endure PGP unnecessarily because of the erroneous belief that treatment can’t be given during pregnancy. Too often we hear of women sent away with belts that are ineffective unless joints are moving properly, without anyone tending those joints to tackle the cause of the pain. We believe that there are no excuses for anything other than top-notch, woman-centred, gentle, effective manual therapy to get pelvic joints mobilised and butt muscles happy!

I really hope that everyone who needs to, will see this video and I hope it heralds the start of great treatment for all women with PGP!’

Manual therapy is available on the NHS, but more than half of the women in our 2018 survey were never offered a referral for physio and 43% of women with PGP said they felt their symptoms were never taken seriously*. Every woman with PGP has a right to be assessed and treated promptly, so please help us to spread the word that #PGPistreatable and help to #getamummoving. Click here to order and share our FREE Stickmum leaflets today or to view and share our videos, either in an email or via social media. Thank you for your help.

Follow the campaign @pp_pgp_charity #pgpistreatable #getamummoving or on Facebook.

*From a 2018 Pelvic Partnership survey of 367 women with PGP.

Charity Registered in England: 1100373 

The Pelvic Partnership consists of volunteers who have had Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and wish to support other women. We aim to pass on information based on both research and the experience of other women with PGP. We are not medical professionals and cannot offer medical advice and the information we provide should not take the place of advice and guidance from your own health-care providers. Material on this site is provided for information and support purposes only.

   © Copyright Pelvic Partnership 2018. Website content reviewed and updated: 2016 - 2017

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