GPs can refer you for physiotherapy or to see a consultant and can prescribe pain-relieving medication. Make sure that the fact you have PGP is properly recorded in your medical notes. You may find yourself in a continuous educational role. To assist you with this, you could refer your GP to the recent publication (June 2015) from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG): Pelvic Girdle Pain and Pregnancy. It is available free on the RCOG website and your doctor may find this helpful. The Pelvic Partnership ‘Stickmum’ leaflet is also useful for GPs to provide a summary of information about PGP.
Don’t be afraid to share all the information you have with your midwife and health visitor – it helps you to assess their level of knowledge. Antenatally, it can help to give you support and information (and vice versa) and prepare for any help you may need afterwards. Midwives can be very helpful in planning how they can meet your needs during labour and birth. It is beneficial to make sure they are aware of your individual physical needs and wishes. Postnatally, they may be able to give you access to other services you might need. Don’t be afraid to ask for home visits if it becomes difficult to get out, particularly with a new baby. Most are only too happy to give the extra support. Midwives are usually based at either the local hospital or your GP surgery. If you are not finding your midwife supportive, or if you are told that your choices for birth are not possible, you can speak with the Supervisor of Midwives who is there to ensure that care is safe and woman-centred. She will meet with you to discuss your needs and work with you to produce a written plan to be followed during your antenatal care, labour and birth. In some hospitals there is also a consultant midwife who can offer similar help.
You can also use an independent midwife who will give you individual care. To find an independent midwife click here www.independentmidwives.org.uk. Independent midwives charge a fee for their services.
Health visitors are nurses or midwives who have undergone extra training to become a health visitor. They will visit you after you have had your baby, and many also meet with you towards the end of your pregnancy. They can be a helpful listening ear, and can also help with referrals to physiotherapists and be supportive of your needs when you have a small baby.
Occupational therapists (OTs)
An occupational therapist can provide equipment and advice to help with the activities of daily living (washing, dressing, getting in/out of bed etc).
Involve your OT in looking at your home. You can find an OT through a GP or midwife referral or self-referral – contact them directly through your local or community hospital. Private OTs are also available. When you make contact, do explain what your problems are, and that being seen early will help to speed up your recovery and prevent deterioration. It may take a few phone calls to find the right person, but it is well worth persevering.
The obstetric consultant is the senior doctor who specialises in pregnancy and birth. You may be referred to see them to discuss plans for birth (or other complications of pregnancy) and you may also be referred to discuss planning future pregnancies. You can request a referral from your GP or midwife, and you are also entitled to a second opinion (i.e. from a different consultant) if you would find this helpful. A registrar is more junior than a consultant, and a Senior House Officer (SHO) is the most junior member of the team. You can always ask to see the consultant him or herself.
The orthopaedic consultant is the senior doctor specialising in bone and joint conditions. You may be referred if you have had trauma (e.g. a fall) or if your symptoms are not improving. Again, you can ask for a referral from your GP.
Psychologists and counsellors
Talking to a professional psychologist or counsellor can help to reduce fear and anger, possibly helping to reduce the risk of depression and relationship difficulties during such a stressful time. Having counselling or psychotherapy does not mean that your pain is not real or is ‘all in the mind’. A counsellor/psychologist can help you to explore ways of managing and coping with your pain, which can lead to a greater sense of control and wellbeing. Please see our Counselling page for more information.
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