Pregnancy Pain Relief

A better night sleep with a compression belt and the right pillow

Pregnancy pain is often linked to Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) can create pain around the sacro-iliac joints (SIJ) at the back of the pelvis and the Symphysis pubis joint at the front. PGP during pregnancy is common.

Pelvic girdle pain can begin at any time during pregnancy. It can vary from mild at first to more moderate/severe as the pregnancy progresses  – we refer i=to it as pregnancy pain.

Physiological changes transpire during pregnancy because of hormone release (Relaxin) which can cause soft tissue and ligaments to behave differently. Ligaments can be stretched and this can cause PGP.(Ostgaard et al 1994)

How many pregnant and post-partum women does PGP affect?

Overall, about 45% of all pregnant women and 25% of all women post-partum suffer from pregnancy pain such as PGP during pregnancy, serious pain occurs in about 25%, and severe disability in about 8% of patients After pregnancy, problems are serious in about 7% After delivery instability/pelvic pain can take from 11 weeks, 6 months or even to 2 years postpartum to subside Antenatal Care – Clinical Guideline (NICE) 3.9% to 89.9% (mean 45.3%) of women suffer pelvic pain syndromes during pregnancy. BMJ v.331 (7511); Jul 30, 2005 Functional impairment is increased with combined Lower Back Pain (LBP) and PGP (Bastiaanssen, de Bie, Bastiaenen, Essed, & van den Brandt, 2005; Vleeming et al., 2008; Wu et al., 2004)


What are the symptoms?

Pregnancy pain in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttocks, thighs, hips or lower back. Difficulty walking, waddling gait. Pain felt when turning, twisting or bending: getting out of bed; activities of daily living during pregnancy.  Clicking, clunking or grinding sensation in their pelvis during movement. Some women find it difficult to part their legs without severe pain. Pregnancy pain and difficulty with sexual intercourse. Women with Pelvic Instability can also suffer with incontinence and/or bowel problems.


Treatment for pelvic pain during pregnancy includes a specific stretching and strengthening program designed to your individual needs by a Women’s Health Physiotherapist. In addition Chiropractic and Osteopathy also may offer symptomatic relief especially when your pelvic joints are out of normal alignment. The use of a pelvic belt has been shown to provide stabilisation to the joints of the pelvis. By gently applying continuous compression, you can readjust the level of compression with a pelvic support belt to support the entire pelvic girdle and perineal area. This level of compression allows your own muscles to be constantly active so that the underlying joints remain stable.

Ensuring that you have a great night’s sleep is also important as it allows you to wake refreshed, and so that your muscles have adequate time to relax and recover from the day’s work. There are specific pregnancy support pillows, such as the Ultimate Sleep U, or the Pelvic support Pillow that allow your pelvis to have the appropriate alignment and to reduce the strain associated with your pregnancy pain.

By stabilising the pelvis and ensuring correct pelvic alignment whilst you sleep, you are better able to get a more refreshing sleep, with full body support. The Ultimate Sleep U pregnancy support pillow was designed specifically for this purpose; it provides you with head and neck support, together with allowing for support to your pelvis and back region. There is nothing that compares as the Ultimate Sleep U pregnancy support pillow allows you to adjust your position without moving the pillow, you have the necessary support on your left, right sides or even on your back, or whilst sitting.

Subsequent pregnancies, what to expect!

If a woman experiences PGP during her first pregnancy she is more likely to experience pregnancy pain (PGP) during subsequent pregnancies; but the severity cannot be determined. Healthcare professionals advise letting the symptoms from one pregnancy settle before trying for another baby.


1. Diagnosis and classification of pelvic girdle pain disorders–Part 1: a mechanism based approach within a biopsychosocial framework. O’Sullivan PB, Beales DJ. School of Physiotherapy, Curtin University of Technology, GPO Box U1987, Perth, WA 6845, Australia.
2. European guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of pelvic girdle pain Andry Vleeming, Hanne B. Albert,Hans Christian O¨ stgaard, Bengt Sturesson and Britt Stuge Received: 22 December 2007 / Revised: 24 December 2007 / Accepted: 29 December 2007 -Springer-Verlag 2008
3a,b. Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPP), I: Terminology, clinical presentation, and prevalence. Wu WH, Meijer OG, Uegaki K, Mens JM, van Dieën JH, Wuisman PI, Ostgaard HC. Eur Spine J. 2004 Nov;13(7):575-89. Epub 2004 Aug 27. Department of Orthopaedics, Vrije Universiteit Medical Centre (VUMC), Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4. Use of hormonal contraceptives and occurrence of pregnancy-related pelvic pain: a prospective cohort study in Norway Merethe Kumle, Elisabete Weiderpass, Elin Alsaker, and Eiliv Lund BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth2004, 4:11
5. Effects of acupuncture and stabilising exercises as adjunct to standard treatment in pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain: randomised single blind controlled trial. Elden H, Ladfors L, Olsen MF, Ostgaard HC, Hagberg H.BMJ. 2005 Apr 2;330(7494):761. Epub 2005 Mar 18. Perinatal Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Institute for the Health of Women and Children, Sahlgrenska Academy, East Hospital, 41685 Gothenburg, Sweden.