The Marathon and me

Guest Post by Vicki Parry, running the London Marathon for the Pelvic Partnership in 2019

Vicki on one of her training runs. Source: Supplied

On the 28th April I’m running 26.2 miles around London (with quite a few other people). It will be the culmination of months of training: running in the rain, wind, mud, sand, ice and dark (and sometimes sunshine…). I’m doing this to raise money for a really amazing charity that helped me (and thousands of other women) when I was in pain and unable to walk, let alone run.

In my pregnancies I had a condition called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), where my pelvis stopped functioning properly. This meant I couldn’t walk and I was in constant pain, I used a wheelchair and crutches to move around and needed help with simple day to day jobs. It made being pregnant and then mothering a baby (and second time round, a baby and a toddler!) very challenging. For someone that had been active I found this physically and emotionally challenging. I had imagined my life with a baby being long walks with a baby carrier; instead I was housebound and in pain.

I contacted a charity called The Pelvic Partnership and the volunteers there helped me understand the condition and guided me in accessing the right treatment. They literally got me back on my feet.

The Pelvic Partnership is a group of amazing volunteers who give up their free time to give women, their families and healthcare professionals information about PGP. The volunteers who run it juggle their families and jobs and give their free time to support women with PGP, answering telephone helpline enquiries, providing information on their website and in their information booklets and campaigning to improve care and treatment for women with PGP.

PGP is a condition which affects the function of the pelvis – if the joints don’t function properly it causes a lot of pain and loss of mobility. It is very common in pregnancy and can continue for months, even years afterwards, but sadly women are often given outdated information and struggle to access the treatment they need. It’s a condition that can be very isolating, not only because they often cannot walk because of the condition, but also as it is so often misunderstood. Who can see the pain anyone is in?

It’s been a long, slow and painful recovery to get to a point where the only barrier to running a marathon is the training I put in, but I wouldn’t have reached this stage without the Pelvic Partnership. Please donate what you can so they can continue to help women back onto their feet!

To donate, please visit:

A heart-breaking story for every day of the year (plus two for luck)

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.

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.

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