Pregnancy Related Pain - Not a Necessary Part of Pregnancy


Pain During Pregnancy…

Why it doesn’t have to be a normal
part of pregnancy, and how
physical therapy can help!

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“Oh, it’s just part of pregnancy….” or “oh, the pain will go away after delivery…” Unfortunately these are common responses to women who experience pain during pregnancy.

Pregnancy related pain is a common problem that often gets dismissed as being a normal part of pregnancy. The most common estimation for pregnancy related low back or pelvic girdle pain is about 50%, although research shows prevalence may be anywhere from 25%-90% of pregnant women. Even at the low end, 25% means that 1 in 4 women experience some sort of low back or pelvic girdle pain during pregnancy. (“Pregnancy-related low back pain,” Katonis et al. 2011).

Pain related to pregnancy can be in the abdomen, low back, hips or pelvis, and can interfere with ability to perform basic daily activities, such as walking, working and taking care of daily household tasks. Many women don’t bother telling healthcare professionals about their pain, just thinking that it’s a normal aspect of pregnancy. Some are told by their healthcare providers that their pain is not severe enough to seek care, or that they shouldn’t bother seeking care until after delivery (even if the pain is interfering with daily activities).

I recently saw a woman with abdominal pain associated with pregnancy, and her medical providers told her to hold off on physical therapy until after delivery. When I heard this, I asked about how the pain was affecting her daily life. She said that it was uncomfortable and while she could do daily tasks, she was in a constant state of discomfort, which was very frustrating. When I informed her that there may be a few techniques that could help with symptoms until delivery, she decided to try physical therapy. In the evaluation, I provided her with a few hands on techniques and some education on posture and modifications to movement patterns. Within a week of her evaluation, she sent me an e-mail reporting that she had not had any of the the lower abdominal pain since her visit (prior to that she had had the pain every day for 6 weeks).

I’m writing this in a post because I think that it is important to note that if something doesn’t feel right, you should always trust your gut instinct. If you are having pain and you feel like you need help resolving the pain, look for local providers who specialize in what you are dealing with. Worst case, you chat with the provider and they can make different recommendations, but if you never ask, you might never know that there may be simple ways to relieve symptoms.

Interested in learning more about how physical therapy can help with pregnancy related pain?