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Managing pelvic girdle pain

You can manage your pelvic girdle pain and prevent it from getting worse by:

  • making changes to your daily activities
  • doing special exercises

Your physiotherapist will also be able to help. They will tell you about suitable exercises to help your symptoms. They may prescribe abdominal or pelvic support belts, which can provide relief.

They may perform manual therapy to release tight muscles or to align the pelvic joints. They can give you advice on pain relief methods.

Talk to your GP or obstetrician if the pain remains severe. They can sometimes prescribe medication to help ease the pain.

Daily activities

You may need to rest more often. Because of this, you should pace your daily activities. You may find it difficult to stand for long periods.

Be as active as possible within your pain limits and avoid activities that make the pain worse. Ask for or accept help with your daily work.

Posture

Always maintain equal weight through both feet. For example:

  • avoid standing on one leg
  • sit when you're getting dressed and undressed

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes and avoid high heels.

Avoid turning quickly or twisting as this can strain your pelvis.

Sitting

Slouching or sitting very straight can put strain on your back and pelvis. Aim for halfway between these 2 positions.

Placing a small support such as a cushion or rolled up towel at your lower back can help you to avoid slouching.

Sit well back into the chair and take its full support. Don’t perch on the edge as your muscles will tire more quickly.

Pregnancy posture - right and wrong sitting position
Pregnancy posture - sitting positions

Computers

If using a computer, bring your chair under the desk or bring the keyboard closer. This means your arms can rest by your side as you type. Adjust the monitor so it is at eye level.

Driving

When driving, adjust your seat so that your arms can rest by your side as you turn the wheel. This helps prevent slouching.

To get out of the car, slide your seat back to create more space. Move your feet slowly, one at a time towards the door and then step out one foot at a time. Lean forward to stand up. You can use the handle over your door for support.

Stairs

If you find climbing the stairs difficult or painful, go one step at a time. When going upstairs, try leading with the less painful leg. Going downstairs, try leading with the more painful leg and use the banister for support.

Heavy objects and small children

Take care when:

  • pushing a heavy shopping trolley
  • lifting heavy objects
  • lifting small children

When lifting, bend your knees and keep your back straight or kneel on to one knee to lift or get to a lower height. Try to reduce the amount of lifting that you do and avoid stooping over.

Sit down or kneel to comfort small children. Let them climb up to you instead of lifting them.

Let small children climb into car seats themselves if they can.

Sleeping

It might be comfortable to lie on your side with a pillow between your knees. You should sleep on your side during pregnancy, especially in the third trimester (weeks 27 to 40). This helps to prevent stillbirth.

As your pregnancy progresses, try placing an extra pillow or rolled up towel under your bump. This places less strain on your hips and lower back.

If you find your hips are sore or aching. This may be because your mattress is very firm. To help relieve the pain, double over a single duvet and place it underneath you.

Moving in bed

When turning in bed, bend your knees up, pull in your tummy muscles and keep your knees together. Turn, moving your shoulder and hip together in one movement.

To get out of bed, roll onto your side. Drop your legs over the edge of the bed. Use your elbow and hands to push your body into a sitting position.

When you want to get into bed, reverse this procedure.

Housework

Avoid heavy housework such as hoovering. You may find it easier to sit when doing tasks like ironing or preparing food.

page last reviewed: 24/06/2019
next review due: 24/06/2022