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We work closely with healthcare professionals to promote best practice in the treatment of pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP).

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The Pelvic Partnership provides information and support to both women and birthing people with pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and works with healthcare professionals caring for women with PGP.

Research shows that PGP is caused by the pelvic joints, particularly the sacroiliac joints, moving asymmetrically or becoming ‘stuck’.

PGP can be safely and effectively treated  with manual therapy from an experienced physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor to restore symmetry of movement. It can be treated at any stage during or after pregnancy with no risk to the baby, and failing to treat the pain promptly can result delayed recovery and on-going symptoms which may last for months or years postnatally. It can also have a significant impact on a woman’s emotional and psychological well-being both during and after pregnancy.

What is pelvic girdle pain (PGP)?

  • A condition which affects up to half of all women and birthing people during and/or after pregnancy
  • Women experience pain and stiffness in one or more pelvic joints affecting all aspects of women’s lives, and may lead to associated mental health impacts 
  • Asymmetry of movement, joint irritation and pain when walking, climbing stairs and turning over in bed
  • In some cases, long-term pain and dysfunction after giving birth which can persist for months or years without treatment
  • In around 7% of women affected by PGP, long-term pain and dysfunction, requiring crutches or a wheelchair to mobilise, can persist for over two years without treatment

How can PGP be treated?

  • PGP can be treated with hands-on individualised treatment, including manual therapy
  • By referring women for assessment and treatment of the pelvic joints and soft tissues by a manual therapist (physiotherapist, osteopath or chiropractor – NHS or private practitioner), their pain and function should improve after each treatment session
  • Discuss pain relief options. Paracetamol is safe in pregnancy but often not effective, and stronger pain medication may be more beneficial. 
  • Be aware of the psychological impact of PGP, as with other forms of severe pain and disability, and take appropriate steps to address this and provide support. 

When can PGP be treated?

  • Early diagnosis and treatment can lead to a full resolution or reduction in symptoms during pregnancy
  • It is safe to treat at any stage during or after pregnancy, even if there is very severe pain

How can we help with PGP during labour and birth?

  • Ensure that the team is aware of PGP and its effects, and it is documented in the maternity notes
  • Avoid labour and birth positions which strain pelvic joints, e.g. the lithotomy position
  • Consider labour and birth in water and use upright positions, on all fours or lying on one side 

What can you do to help postnatally?

  • After birth, offer en-suite facilities and physical support with self-care and caring for the baby if in hospital
  • Offer pain relief, mental health support and refer the woman for early review by the manual therapist

What is the Pelvic Partnership?

We offer support and information to women and healthcare professionals to raise awareness of pregnancy-related PGP.

We provide information about PGP to midwives, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, health visitors and other professionals involved in the treatment of pregnant women. Please contact us if you would like us to run an information session in your unit or clinic.

List of references

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Keep in touch

To connect with other healthcare professionals supporting women and birthing people with PGP, please join our closed Facebook group. 

Facebook group for healthcare practitioners

We have a free telephone helpline if you want to discuss your experience on a 1:1 basis. Please call 01235 820921, leave a message and one of our volunteers will call you back.

If you have any questions, please email our part-time co-ordinator below.

[email protected]

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