As many as 1 in 5 women experience Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) during pregnancy and for some this continues after birth. I’m not a medical professional and if you are living with PGP please ensure you see your GP before undertaking any new exercise regime. However, as a Yoga Teacher and pre-and-post natal exercise specialist I have been trained in how to adapt and suggest exercises which may reduce this pain by strengthening and stretching muscles which support the pelvic girdle. If any of them don’t work for you or aggravate pain stop immediately.
Kneel down (if comfortable or sit as comfortably as possible)
Take some deep breaths, notice the parts of your body in contact with the floor. Scan your body for any other sensations. Focus your breathing, noticing the air passing in and out through the nose. Take some time here and then slowly come back into your body, blink open the eyes.
Gentle warm up
Roll your shoulders, reach your arms high, maybe lean side to side.
Come to all fours
- Wrists under shoulders
- Knees under hips (any discomfort in the knees put a blanket under them)
- Engage the outer side of your upper arms (triceps) and don’t lock out your elbow joints
- Engage your core muscles and your pelvic floor
- Round your back, push into the hands to draw the shoulders apart at the back and tilt your pelvis forwards
- Keep the abdominal muscles working and stay here for a few breaths.
- Repeat 3 times
Kneeling Core and Hip Exercises
- Come to kneel with wrists under shoulders, knees under hips (like in cat stretch you can put a blanket under the knees if you want to)
- It’s really important for this exercise that you keep your hips level with one another, opening the hip to the side could aggravate your pain.
- Lift your right leg behind, then bracing your abdominal muscles lift your left arm, balance here and breath.
- Change to the other side
- Repeat on each side 3 times
- This exercise is suitable for pregnant women, but if you experience any reflux stop and rest, try it when you’re feeling better.
- This one again it’s really important to keep the hips aligned. If you have hypermobility or are pregnant be especially careful.
- From kneeling step the right foot in between the hands
- Push into your right foot and sink your hips forward just to the point where you feel a nice gentle stretch. As GPG can sometimes result in tight hips and thigh pain this will hopefully relieve this.
- Hold for about a minute and change to the other side
Stand up carefully – when getting up and down keep your pelvis level, move slowly
- Stand tall and strong leg muscles active, knees not locked out
- Tuck chin to chest and slowly start to roll down folding towards the floor
- Keep the abdominal muscles engaged and active throughout
- Once you’ve slowly rolled down, carefully and slowly keeping the core active roll back up
- Repeat about 5 times
Lying Core Exercises (not suitable for pregnant women after the first trimester)
- Lie flat on your back
- Bring your knees up towards the ceiling.
- Reach your fingers towards the ceiling.
- Take your right hand and left foot towards the mat (but don’t touch it) and bring them back up. Then take your left hand and right foot towards the mat and back up.
- Keep your pelvis level throughout, don’t lift or twist it
- Keep your back flat on the mat (if it arches, don’t take the limbs so low)
- Repeat 8 times, rest and repeat twice more
Afterwards try to take a couple of minutes to just breathe lying comfortably and making sure you are warm, perhaps with a blanket. Meditation can be really helpful in pain management so it’s really worth trying to add a bit of this to your daily routine.
General Tips for Everyday Movement
- Try taking small steps with the hips aligned
- It can feel more comfortable to sleep with a small pillow or blanket between your knees lying on your side
- When going up stairs, engage your core lift your knee high without tilting your pelvis
- Take your time getting up and down