Friday, April 4, 2014

5 solutions to pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy

There are so many things about pregnancy that are truly awesome—everything from feeling that little one move inside you, to wearing cute maternity clothes, to unexpected kind acts from everyone you know.

One thing that is not awesome is getting random aches and pains. Many of my pregnant friends and I have experienced some form of what's called "pelvic girdle pain." After suffering through it for a week or two, I decided to be proactive and start a full-on blitz campaign against the discomfort. Because life is too short for that kind of nonsense, right?

Most of my readers will want to skip right on over this post, except for the handful of you who are pregnant (or may be in the future), so I've put it after the jump.

Here are the five things I've found most helpful. Note: I'm not a health professional, but these things are working for me!

Solution 1: Prenatal yoga  

Have I talked enough about my love for prenatal yoga? It's the single best cure I've found for soreness. A ten- or 15-minute session every few days keeps away most aches and pains.

Other kinds of exercise may help too, but I think prenatal yoga is especially great because it involves a lot of pelvic stretches, so it really targets this issue in particular.

My yoga teacher gave me a list of stretches that are especially good for pelvic pain. I've included them below in case you're interested!

"Butterfly pose": sit on floor or bed with soles of feet together and knees out to the sides, knees either flat on floor or resting on pillows/blocks. Hold this pose for 10–15 minutes (maybe while reading or watching a movie?). Lean forward to get even more stretch. If possible, put a pillow in front of you and fold from the waist, resting head on pillow, to create maximum stretch. (I try to sit in butterfly pose whenever possible!)

"Windshield wipers": sit on floor or bed with knees pointed to ceiling, feet flat, and move your knees side to side to warm up the hips.

"Modified pigeon pose": sit on floor or bed with your back against the wall for support and legs pointed straight in front of you. Take one leg, bend knee, and cross it over the other above the knee so that it makes a triangular shape. Lean forward slightly. You will feel a gentle stretch in your hip. Repeat with the other leg.

"Hip circles": Lie on left side, bend right knee and circle right leg in the air, holding thigh as you do so for support. Circle first clockwise and then counter-clockwise. Then roll onto right side and repeat with left leg.

"Hip flexor and quadricep muscle stretch": Lying on left side, bend right knee, then place right hand on shin, ankle or top of foot and pull back your upper leg until you feel a stretch in the front of your leg. Roll over to right side and repeat with left leg.

Solution 2: Maternity support belt 

This is the second most helpful solution after prenatal yoga. It really relieves the soreness, but the downside is that these belts are pretty bulky, so I feel funny wearing mine out of the house. For now I wear it around the house in the evenings and that's working well.

Important note: You can actually get a prescription for a maternity support belt from your health-care provider, so your insurance will cover the cost. I was thrilled about that!

Solution 3: Blanqi understyler  

The Blanqi is like a lighter version of the support belt. It looks like an undershirt so it's easy to wear every day. It doesn't help as much as the support belt, but it does help some.

Solution 4: Compression stockings  

These are a pain to take on and off, but they help, and not just with pelvic pain. They can prevent varicose veins and other pregnancy issues. You can find them at most maternity clothing stores.

Solution 5: ALWAYS sleep with a pillow between your knees  

I actually didn't know this was so important until my yoga teacher brought it up last class. Sleeping on your side is recommended during pregnancy, but she said that you can actually hurt your back/pelvis if you don't put a pillow between your knees, because your shifting balance during pregnancy can throw off your back's alignment. I started using a pillow after hearing that and it does help prevent soreness.

Other solutions: I've heard that a heating pad can help, and one friend recommended seeing a chiropractor, but I haven't tried either of those solutions so I can't recommend them from experience.

Has anyone else experienced pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy? What did you do to handle it?


  1. I only did the pillow between the knees, but it helped a ton!

  2. I started getting this just recently. I REALLY noticed it for the first time when I tried to turn over in bed and just... couldn't. lol. The pillow between the legs has been awesome for me, as well as yoga. My midwife also recommended an exercise to me this past Tuesday which has been hugely helpful already: pelvic rocks! They're the same concept as the cat-cow pose in yoga, but you emphasize the movement in your pelvic rather than in your spine. Doing them for a few minutes at various times throughout the day has been SUCH a relief.

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