Traditionally, it was thought that PGP was caused by hormones such as relaxin during pregnancy, and many women are still told that it is a hormonal problem and “It will get better as soon as you have the baby”. However, the reason that the Pelvic Partnership exists is that many women have found out that this is not the case. They have missed out on effective treatment and experienced pain for much longer than necessary. PGP is a mechanical joint problem which can be treated at any time during or after pregnancy with manual therapy.
It is important to get your pelvic alignment checked by a physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor after you have had your baby, especially if you have had a difficult birth or are still experiencing pain, as your pelvic joints may again be stiff or stuck. While there is a subtle hormonal change which affects all pregnant women, only women with a mechanical joint problem develop PGP, and this is treatable with manual therapy during and after pregnancy. Therefore, the hormones are not causing the pain, it is a result of joint misalignment.
Pain linked to your periods
Some women with PGP also report that their monthly cycle seems to influence their pain (i.e. they get PGP pain that coincides with their period). This pain usually improves when they have good manual treatment, so if you are experiencing monthly pain, do try to find a manual therapist and get your pelvic joints reassessed. It is important to visit a good physiotherapist who can manually treat the pelvis and make sure the joints are moving normally.
Since PGP is not a hormonal problem, stopping breastfeeding will not speed up recovery – this is one of the many old wives' tales about PGP. New research from a large study in Norway (2014) shows that breastfeeding can, in fact, improve recovery and advises that women with PGP should be encouraged to breastfeed to speed up their recovery. Women have in the past been advised to give up breastfeeding to help their PGP to improve, only to find it makes no difference. In addition, ending breastfeeding entails the physical problem of making bottles and often going up and down stairs in the middle of the night on top of the pain of PGP.
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