Back and pelvic pain are common during pregnancy. The hormone relaxin is released in your body, loosing joints to allow your baby room to grow. Along with pelvic instability caused by loosened joints, your stomach is growing; this changes your center of gravity and adds extra stress on the pelvic muscles and joints.
Pelvic girdle pain (PGP) is a general label given to pain in the back, front and / or sides of the pelvis during pregnancy. There are several joints throughout the pelvis, all of which are susceptible to dysfunction and pain during pregnancy. The symphysis pubis joint forms in the front of the pelvis, the hip joint forms at both the right and left sides of the pelvis and the sacroiliac joints forms where the hip bones meet the base of the spine on each side.
Pelvic girdle pain may be dull and achy or severe and sharp. It may be limited to one side of the body, depending on which joint (s) is (are) affected. It will likely be exacerbated by lying on your back, rolling over while lying down, moving from sitting to standing or spreading your legs apart.
Discomfort is a normal part of pregnancy, but there are ways to manage it. For pelvic girdle pain, your best option may be a lumbopelvic belt.
Study: Belt Trumps Exercise
In a study of 105 pregnant women exhibiting pelvic girdle pain, the effects of a lumbopelvic belt on pain and disability scores was compared to the effects of stabilization exercise and information alone over a 6-week period.
At the 3- and 6-week follow-ups, the pelvic belt was found to improve both scores more than either exercise and information or information alone. The type of belt used in the study was non-rigid.
See more on this study at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23640314 .
Affordable Short-Term Relief
A soft lumbopelvic belt, also called a maternity belt, can help your pelvis stay stable as your belly grows and your ligaments and joints loosen. These belts are an affordable pain management option, with highly-rated belts selling within the $ 30- $ 40 range on Amazon.com.
Once you have your baby and your doctor clears you for exercise, it's wise to pursue postpartum exercise in order to restore muscle tone to your core, which will help alleviate back and pelvic pain. Rebuilding your core after pregnancy will require a slow progress from basic engagement and stabilization to more complex exercises encouraging muscle cooperation and co-contracting.