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Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) can affect you emotionally as well as physically. We know it can be both hard to look after your emotional wellbeing while you are experiencing pain and immobility, and that these physical symptoms can further impact your mental health. 

Estimates suggest that around 1 in 10 women experience depression linked to pregnancy and women who have had difficult pregnancies or births are more likely to experience it.  

Women with PGP may be more likely to develop antenatal or postnatal depression due to the physical impact of PGP as well as the changes brought about by pregnancy and birth. Results of our annual surveys suggest that 1 in 2 women with PGP may also experience a mental health problem during or after pregnancy:

Pelvic Partnership Survey Results 


Help and support for your mental health

There are many charities that offer specialist information and support for people experiencing depression or difficulties with their mental health:

  • Mind provides information and support to anyone experiencing emotional or psychological problems. 
  • The PANDAS Foundation offers advice and support to women with pre- and postnatal depression.  
  • The Hearts and Minds Partnership has a map of different mental health support services supporting women during and after pregnancy. 
  • Samaritans runs a 24-hour helpline for anyone who needs someone to talk to about how they are feeling. You do not have to be feeling suicidal.
  • Your nearest NCT group can be a good way to meet other parents who understand how you are feeling.

Our Facebook support group offers a private, moderated space to get practical tips and emotional support from other women with experience of PGP.

PGP and emotional wellbeing

Pain and immobility can impact your mental and emotional health as well as your physical health. Many women tell us that they feel:

  • frustrated by not being able to look after themselves or their family in the way they used to
  • inadequate and a burden to family and friends
  • angry about loss of independence and finding it difficult to ask for help
  • disconnected from their partner
  • guilty about having PGP, that it is somehow their fault
  • hopeless, wondering if they will ever get better
  • isolated, not knowing anyone else with the same condition
  • sad or cheated out of the joy usually felt about pregnancy
  • ambivalent about their baby and questioning whether they should have become pregnant in the first place.

These feelings are common and reasonable. Not being able to do things that you are used to, or relying on other people for help with daily tasks, can make it harder to feel good about ourselves. PGP is treatable. Getting manual therapy as soon as possible can help you move more freely and experience less pain.

Looking after yourself

Allowing yourself time and space can be one of the hardest things to do. However, making time for yourself and your relaxation is an important tool for helping you manage the physical and emotional symptoms of PGP.

You may not be able to relax in the ways you are used to. Even watching a movie can be difficult if you find it hard to sit for a long time. Look for small things that let you take your mind off PGP for a while, such as listening to a podcast or chatting with friends. 

You could join our Facebook support group to hear from other women about how they make time for themselves. Our Facebook group is a private, moderated space where women with experience of PGP can offer practical tips and emotional support to other women with PGP.

Join our Facebook support group for women with PGP

Sharing your feelings

Many women tell us they find it difficult to talk about how they are feeling, both at home and at work. It is especially difficult when your pain is not ‘obvious’ to others or when people around you don’t know much about PGP.

Some women find it helpful to write down their feelings. Try writing your ‘PGP story’, how it began and how it has affected you. You could show this to your partner, family or friends, or keep it as a personal diary to help you process your feelings.

Often, partners, family members and friends are feeling many of the same emotions. They may feel frustrated or guilty that they don’t know how to help you. They may not understand what you are going through but are too afraid to ask. You and your loved ones may not be sharing these feelings, trying to protect one another. This can leave you all feeling more isolated and disconnected. Sharing your feelings gives you an opportunity to experience more connection and may provide opportunities for problem-solving.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to friends or family about how you are feeling, you could try talking to a counsellor. Counselling provides a safe and confidential space for you to talk and think about your situation with a trained counsellor. They will listen empathically and help you to express your feelings and find creative ways to move forward.

Anxiety during and after pregnancy

Many women may experience anxiety during and after pregnancy.

If you are feeling more anxious during or after your pregnancy, please talk to your GP or midwife about different mental health support services and treatment options. 

Women with PGP have shared with us that their anxiety often centered on fear of the pain getting worse and not being able to carry on with their daily activities. Please remember to connect with the Pelvic Partnership team if you want more help and support related to your PGP. 

Get help and support

Depression during and after pregnancy

Depression in pregnancy is also known as antenatal depression. Women often describe feelings of anxiety and despair associated with their pregnancy rather than feeling joyful and excited. 

Postnatal depression is a type of depression some women experience after having a baby. It can develop within the first six weeks after the birth but may not be apparent until around six months.

Symptoms of antenatal and postnatal depression 

Symptoms can include:

  • low mood
  • a feeling of hopelessness
  • fatigue
  • lack of concentration
  • difficulty coping with everyday activities
  • problems sleeping 
  • irritability
  • tearfulness
  • hostility or indifference towards your baby and/or partner.

These symptoms are not uncommon initially in all women following the birth of their child and have often been referred to as ‘baby blues’. However, if symptoms persist, you may be experiencing postnatal depression.

Treatment for antenatal and postnatal depression in pregnancy 

Depression during and after pregnancy  are treatable. Seek help from your GP or Health Visitor as soon as possible. The sooner your depression is recognised, the sooner you can start to feel better. You may be offered different treatment options, including antidepressant medication and talking therapies, such as counselling or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Some women who have had difficult and traumatic births go on to experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is an anxiety disorder which can develop immediately after a stressful or traumatic event, such as a difficult birth, or it can occur weeks, months or even years later.

The Birth Trauma Association is a great resource for women who have PTSD linked to a traumatic birth. 

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms can include:

  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • vivid flashbacks
  • intrusive thoughts and images
  • intense distress at reminders of the trauma you have experienced
  • avoidance of activities
  • a feeling of panic
  • physical sensations of pain, sweating and nausea.

PTSD can be successfully treated but it is important to seek advice from your GP as soon as possible if you are experiencing these symptoms. 

Treatment for PTSD

Treatments can include:

  • ‘watched waiting’ under the care of your GP (waiting to see if symptoms improve on their own)
  • psychological treatments including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitisation, reprocessing therapy (EMDR)
  • specific antidepressant medication.
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