Growing a little human is a big job. Your body is made to adapt but sometimes those adaptations can make you uncomfortable. One of the most common questions we get asked in our clinic here at Hatch is “Why is my pelvis so sore?”. This question can be complex to answer, but for most mums who are experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy it is related to a wonderful hormone called Relaxin.
Relaxin does exactly what the name suggests, it relaxes the muscles and ligaments in your body to accommodate for your growing baby. Unfortunately, for many women the causality of this relaxation is that wonderful strong core that has supported your back and pelvis to stay in good alignment. Many women find they experience pelvic, hip and lower back pain to varying degrees at some point in their pregnancy, and maybe worsened by some actions. At Hatch the first thing we recommend is being mindful of your body alignment in your everyday activities.
Here are our top 10 tips to minimise pelvic discomfort.
1. Start at the beginning of the day by rolling on your side, dropping your feet over the edge of the bed and pushing up with your elbow.
2. Avoid stairs wherever you can. Stairs rock your pelvis in a way that can immediately exacerbate pelvic pain. Think about making fewer trips up and down your stairs at home and take the lift when you are about and about.
3. Get in and out of the car like a princess. Put your bottom on the seat and, with your knees together, spin around to the front of the car.
4. Avoid squats, sitting cross-legged or any wide legged poses at pilates or yoga. If you are a swimmer, avoid breaststroke and try using flippers to take the strain off your pelvis.
5. Activate your core by bracing your pelvic floor whenever you are lifting things and walking. Think about keeping your load close to your body and avoid twisting or jerking movements. This will bring with it the added bonus of having a strong pelvic floor which is important when you are in labour and for your postnatal recovery.
6. Sit down to put on underwear, trousers and shoes. Ditch your high heels for some comfy supportive slip on shoes.
7. Avoid one sided activities like vacuuming, standing on one leg or carrying a handbag on one shoulder. Try using a backpack or cross-body bag rather than a one shoulder handbag.
8. Use pillows to support you when in bed. These will need to change over time as your baby grows and the shape of your belly changes.
9. Avoid pushing or carrying heavy loads. Use your support network by taking a helper when you are doing the grocery shopping to avoid pushing the trolley and ask for help carrying the washing basket.
10. Get your toddler to walk whenever you can. If you need to carry him/her try a piggy back if they are old enough or if they are still a bit small, carry them over your bump rather than on one hip.
The action of Relaxin however is not limited to your pelvis. It can affect all of your joints. Some mums find they get neck pain or shoulder discomfort. The wonderful thing about Relaxin is just as easily as things get out of alignment many times things will pop back in with rest, heat and simple old panadol. If things are getting more uncomfortable feel confident to self refer to a women’s health physio, we can give you some recommendations. They offer more tips specific to your body and your pregnancy. They can also assess the limitation of your movements to guide you for comfortable positions to use in labour.
You may like to attend the physiotherapy workshops run by the Mater Mothers Hospital for practical skills and strategies for your changing body. You can view their antenatal and postnatal video’s online at: