Caring for Back and Hip Pain during Pregnancy

Woman left reaching forward to embrace baby bump of woman on the right, both wearing blue in an outdoors setting.

Most people like to talk about the ‘glow’ of a pregnant woman. What isn’t mentioned is something that affects over half of all pregnant women: lower back and hip pain. It’s common but doesn’t have to be a part of your pregnancy. If you’re thinking about getting pregnant, or, are pregnant and already feeling lower back pain or hip pain, pelvic floor physiotherapy can help you.

What does my pelvic floor have to do with my back or hip pain?

Your body is made of many different parts that work together so you can lead your life, and create new life. Like a team, when one body part is not able to do its job, the other players help out.

Your pelvic floor works with your deep abdominal muscles (the transversus abdominis) to help with low back stabilization. As baby grows and your abdominal stretches, your core strength decreases and there is less support at your low back. With the ab muscles not working as well as they usually do, your pelvic floor steps up to take on the extra workload.

However, your pelvic floor is already under a lot of stress during pregnancy! So, when it needs more support, your pelvic floor reaches out to your inner thigh muscles and hip muscles for help. This can lead to pain around the groin and outer hip.

While it’s great that your body parts can come together to support your core, imagine what happens when a key player on your team at work goes on sick leave. The workload, and stress, will increase for the other team members.

side view of pregnant woman's baby bump and thighs as she holds hands with someone outside of the frame. Sitting down. Outdoor setting.

How can pelvic floor physiotherapy treat my back pain and hip pain?

Typical treatment will include a combination of manual therapy and acupuncture to relieve muscle tension and mobilize the back and hip joints as well as Pilates and Yoga-based exercises to reactivate and strengthen core muscles.

The exercise program also work on opening and lengthening your pelvic floor to help you preparing for birth. As mentioned above, the pelvic floor is under a lot of stress during pregnancy. By maintaining a balance of strength and flexibility at the pelvic floor, the whole mid-section is further supported and can help relieving the back and hip pain.

The treatment length for lower back and hip pain always varies from person to person but it typically takes between 5 to 8 sessions to see the improvement.

How do I know if my pain is normal or if my pelvic floor is stressed?

With over half of pregnant women experiencing lower back or hip pain, it can seem normal to be in pain. Pregnancy shouldn’t be that way! Another advantage of getting to know your pelvic floor is that it will help you preparing for a smooth birth. Knowing what’s going on down there will prevent any issues that might come up as you get further into your pregnancy (such as incontinence). The best time to come in for an overall pelvic floor check in is during your second trimester. 

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, book yourself a pelvic floor checkup. Don’t let body pain dim your pregnant ‘glow’! Let’s talk. Book your appointment online today with our pelvic physiotherapist.

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