Pelvic Pain: Testing during pregnancy and postpartum

Did you know that pelvic pain affects 45% of pregnant women?


Perhaps you experience any of the following symptoms:


  1. Pain at the back of the hips or the front of the pubic bone
  2. Pain with transitional movements:
    1. Sitting to standing
    2. Rolling over in bed
    3. Standing on one leg (e.g. to dress)
    4. Getting into car
    5. Walking
    6. Bridging hips
  3. Pain with sitting for long periods of time

Pelvic pain can present as either a dull, constant ache, or sharp with some of the above-stated movements.


Several factors can contribute to pelvic pain during pregnancy, including:

  • Genetic
  • Psychological
  • Hormonal
  • # of children
  • Metabolic
  • Social


Relaxin, the hormone that helps your ligaments around the pelvis relax, is often considered the culprit for this condition. However, the process of pain is much more complex, and Relaxin should not be put to blame! Each individual is unique and so is her pain process.


One step I take to determine the nature of the pain is to see if providing more support (via compression) at the hips decreases the pain score with the aggravating movement.


If so, it may indicate that the client might benefit from improving their muscular strength and stability in the muscles around the pelvis.


One exercise that may help with this is the clamshell – as noted in the video!


If the client feels worse with compression, it may be indicative that the muscles in that region are providing excessive tension. There are several ways a physiotherapist can help to reduce the amount of muscular tension.


Also while not directly correlated they’re a bunch of other videos and series we’ve done on pelvic pain more specifically on hip stability that you ca find here.

If you have any questions, Kelsey Valentine, our in-house Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist, would love to help you!

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Christina Prevett