It’s a cliché but a change of scene can help to lift your mood. Ask friends and family to help you get out of the house, even if for a short trip. If you can’t get out, encourage people to visit you at home. Visitors can help your mood and distract you from your pain. Here are some practical tips from women whom we’ve supported:
Being able to drive is often key to independence and getting out and about. You may need to make some changes while you’re experiencing pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
Keep your knees together and sit down first, then swing your legs in together. You can get a swivel cushion to help you turn round or use a plastic bag to help you slide. Remove the plastic bag before driving as it can make you slide about. Swivel cushions can be provided by an occupational therapist.
Open the door wide, then swing your legs out with your knees together. Pull yourself up or ask someone to help you stand.
Avoid carrying a baby car seat with the baby in it. Where possible, put the seat in the car first, then put the baby in, and vice versa. If you need to carry your baby, cradle him/her in both arms close to your body in front of you for the shortest distance possible.
It is possible to get a lightweight wheeled car seat frame (like a pram) that attaches to many baby car seats. You can then lift or slide the seat out straight onto the frame, and push the baby from there.
If you have the opportunity, it may be easier to drive an automatic car as you don’t need to lift both feet to change gear. If you have a company car you may be able to exchange it for an automatic. If you are changing your car anyway, it is worth considering.
Blue Badges allow you to park in disabled spaces. These are usually closer to shops or venue entrances and have more space for getting in and out.
In some areas, you can apply for a temporary Blue Badge. Your local council decides who is eligible for these, so this can vary from place to place.
If you are severely disabled by your PGP, especially if you have had your baby, it is worth applying for a badge and appealing if you are unsuccessful. If you have been housebound, a Blue Badge could make an enormous difference to your life by helping you access all those places you would like to go.
If you have experience of this that might help us support other women, please get in touch with our co-ordinator at [email protected].
If you are planning a shopping trip (depending on how much pain you have), think about what will make the trip easier.
If you are not able to walk around the shop and prefer not to use a wheelchair, ask a friend or partner to do the shopping while you sit in the cafe. This can help to give you a feeling that you are still having some control or input into daily living.
If you can walk but cannot push a trolley, many supermarkets will provide a member of staff to wheel the trolley for you. Some supermarkets provide wheelchairs or trolleys that can be used with a wheelchair. Ask at customer services or check the store’s website in advance.
If you have to push a trolley, choose a small shallow one, as they are easier to move and unload. Avoid the ones with wobbly wheels!
Don’t be tempted to use a basket. By the end of the shop, you will be unevenly loaded which will strain your pelvis.
If using shopping bags, divide the load equally between your bags to stay as symmetrical as possible. Try using a backpack for small amounts of shopping.
Please consider online shopping to limit the amount of time you have to be on your feet.