PGP following pregnancy

PGP can continue after giving birth; some women will find that symptoms will disappear postnatally but many find that they do not. You can and should seek treatment as soon as you feel able to – women have reported that they have seen their manual therapist within a few days after the birth. The treatment is the same for PGP during and following pregnancy. Please read our ‘Treatment’ section for more information.

Claire’s experience of PGP: “For me, PGP started at 28 weeks of my first pregnancy but my pain became worse following the birth of Sammy. My midwife was lovely but I think in helping to get Sammy out, my pelvis was pushed about and my legs opened beyond my comfortable range. So during the first week following Sammy’s birth, I was hobbling about with much worse symptoms of PGP than I had experienced in the later weeks of pregnancy.

My GP put in an urgent referral to a musculoskeletal physio and I was seen within a few weeks. My physio saw that one of my sacroiliac joints was very stiff during her assessment and she gave me some manual therapy treatment to ease this and realigned my slightly wonky pelvis. I had three sessions in total; the first one seemed to free my pelvis so it was much less stiff and painful and by the third session I could walk normally and my pain disappeared.

Sammy is just over 13 months now and I haven’t had any further symptoms of PGP. If any twinges return, I would go back to my GP because the physio said it was important to get treatment as soon as possible.”

There are some women who have PGP symptoms for a number of years following the birth of their baby and particularly if the symptoms were not recognised, diagnosed or treated promptly or successfully at the time. If you are in this situation, seek treatment from an experienced manual therapist. It can take time to find the right manual therapist for you. Please read our ‘Treatment’ section for more information.

Jenny had PGP symptoms for six years. It started in her first pregnancy and got worse with each pregnancy. In her third pregnancy she was on crutches from eight weeks, used a wheelchair from 28 weeks, then bed bound from 34 weeks. She eventually found the Pelvic Partnership helpline and was encouraged to seek manual therapy treatment for her symptoms. She went on to receive treatment from an osteopath who has changed her life: “I can’t thank you enough, I spoke to someone from the Pelvic Partnership on the phone and they told me if I don’t see a manual therapist I’ll likely have this pain for the rest of my life. I was scared to see someone who was going to click around my bones and take off my clothes but after talking on the phone I knew I had to see someone. I found an osteopath and CANNOT BELIEVE that I’m pain free. It is an absolute miracle. I’ve had the pain so long now I just accepted it into my life. Thank you so much. I’m going to start to be normal again now.”

It is important to remember that you should notice a reduction in your pain and/or an improvement in function after each treatment session. If this progress is not happening, it is worth asking yourself these questions:

  • Are you receiving ‘hands-on’ treatment? If you have only received advice and exercises then you need to seek a full assessment and manual therapy treatment as soon as possible. Please see our ‘Treatment’ section for more information.
  • Are you moving enough? We need to keep moving as muscles need to move, otherwise muscular deterioration can cause more pain and dysfunction. Please see our ‘Exercise and PGP’ page for more information.
  • I’m in too much pain to receive ‘hands-on’ treatment, what are my options? You may need to get your pain under control before you can address the underlying cause of your pain (the pelvic joint dysfunction). Emotional symptoms, including depression, can also contribute to pain levels. Please see our ‘Understanding chronic (on-going) pelvic pain’ page for more information. 
  • I’ve made a lot of progress but I’m still getting some symptoms, what should I do next? Pelvic floor over-activity and sometimes hypermobility may be impacting on your recovery. Please see our ‘What to do if treatment is not helping’ page for more information.
  • I am not making progress despite good treatment, what should I do next? It may be worth you seeking a second opinion. Please see our ‘What to do if treatment is not helping’ page for more information of options to explore. 
  • Will I need on-going treatment? Some women need a few treatment sessions before their symptoms are resolved but others may benefit from on-going treatment to help them to manage their symptoms or flares in symptoms long-term. Please see our ‘I’ve responded to treatment but I’m not 100%’ page for more information.
Important note: 

The Pelvic Partnership was formed to help women with pregnancy-related PGP and we are strong in our conviction that PGP caused by a biomechanical joint dysfunction can resolve with treatment. However, there are many other causes of pelvic pain, so you may need to access further information and support from other charities/organisations.

Content added in 2017.

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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