Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy: Understanding, Managing, and Finding Relief

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a condition that affects a significant number of pregnant women. Understanding what PGP is, how to manage it, and finding ways to alleviate the discomfort can make a big difference in your pregnancy experience.

What is Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) refers to discomfort and pain felt in the joints and structures of the pelvis. It is particularly common during pregnancy due to hormonal changes and physical adjustments your body undergoes to accommodate the growing baby. PGP was previously known and is sometimes still referred to as pubic symphysis dysfunction, pubic symphysis disorder, or simply pelvic pain. It can manifest as stiffness, discomfort, or sharp pains in the pelvic area, which includes the front pubic bone and the two joints at the back of the pelvis.

Understanding the Terminology

  • Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction/Disorder: This term specifically refers to pain resulting from instability or dysfunction of the pubic symphysis, the joint at the front of the pelvis. This joint can become overly relaxed and unstable due to pregnancy hormones, leading to misalignment and pain.
  • Pelvic Girdle Pain: A broader term that encompasses pain in any part of the pelvic girdle, including the pubic symphysis and the sacroiliac joints at the back of the pelvis.

Dos and Don’ts to Manage Pelvic Girdle Pain

Managing PGP involves avoiding certain activities that might exacerbate the pain, as well as engaging in others that can alleviate it:

Things to Avoid

  • Lifting Heavy Objects: Heavy lifting can strain your pelvic joints.
  • Standing on One Leg: When dressing or getting out of the car, try to keep your weight evenly distributed.
  • Climbing Stairs Frequently: If possible, limit how often you go up and down stairs.
  • Sitting or Standing for Long Periods: Try to move around regularly and use supportive seating.

Helpful Activities

  • Prenatal Yoga: Gentle yoga can improve your strength and flexibility, helping to stabilize the pelvic area and reduce discomfort.
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Strengthening your pelvic floor can support the pelvic organs and joints.
  • Swimming or Water-Based Exercise: The buoyancy provided by water can relieve pressure on the pelvis while giving you a good workout (avoid wide kicks in breaststroke so as not to aggravate it).

When to See a Specialist

It’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider about any pelvic discomfort. They might refer you to a physiotherapist who specializes in prenatal care. A physiotherapist can offer specific exercises, advice on posture and movement, and sometimes manual therapies that can greatly relieve symptoms.

Additional Tips

  • Use Supportive Gear: Maternity support belts or pelvic support garments can help stabilize the area and distribute the load more evenly.
  • Proper Posture: Being mindful of maintaining a good posture can prevent additional strain on your pelvis.
  • Warm Baths or Heat Packs: Applying warmth can help relax tense muscles and alleviate pain.


Pelvic girdle pain can be a challenging part of pregnancy, but understanding what it is and how to manage it can greatly ease your discomfort. Remember, every woman’s pregnancy experience is unique, and what works for one might not work for another. Always tailor the management strategies to your specific needs and follow the guidance of your healthcare provider to ensure both your safety and that of your baby.

Dealing with PGP can be tough, but with the right knowledge and support, you can minimize its impact on your daily life and focus more on the joy of anticipating your new arrival.