During pregnancy many hormonal changes contribute to the range of symptoms women experience. Although we can't change the hormones, we can implement strategies to help control the unwanted symptoms that frequently accompany pregnancy such as low back and pelvic pain.
Structures of the pelvis
The sacrum and coccyx are at the base of the spine and sit like a wedge between the two hip bones forming the sacroliliac joints or SIJ. At the front of the pelvis the two hip bones meet, this is known as the pubic symphysis. Strong ligaments and our core muscles act to stabilise and support the pelvis. These include the pelvic floor, transferse abdominals and multifidus muscles in the lower abdomen and back.
During pregnancy altered levels of the hormones relaxin, oestrogen and progesterone can result in increased laxity in our ligaments resulting in more movement through joints. This places additional stress through the SIJ, low back and pubic symphysis and increased muscular effort to help stabilise. As the uterus grows, the additional weight anteriorly and increased stretch on the core muscles can cause postural changes. These changes commonly include an increased low back arch and increased forward pelvic tilt, resulting in increased pressure through the muscles and joints of the low back and pelvis. The weight gain can also contribute to general muscle fatigue and soreness due to the extra effort required to get around.
Strategies to manage the above can include
Posture correction can off load the stress through the low back and pelvis.
Core strengthenin/regular exercise can enable increased stabilisation through the low back and pelvis for better posture, improved pelvic floor strength and improved recovery post birth.
Pelvic belts can reduce the movement through the SIJ to reduce irritation through the joint and reduce the increased reliance on stabilising muscles.
Massage can relieve muscular stress.
As each woman's body is different, the most helpful thing you can do if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms, is seek the guidance of a health professional to diagnose the cause of your pain and provide you with the appropriate management strategies.