Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and Sciatica

So far my pregnancy has been really easy. I don’t think I’ve realised just how lucky I am to have had such a relaxed and comfortable pregnancy in comparison to so many.

With less than 3 weeks to go (woohoo)  the worst of my symptoms has been restless legs and a urine infection … not too bad at all really – until now!

Sunday night I got a real pain in my ass …. literally! I was walking down the stairs and I got a sharp pain in my left bum cheek. It was enough to make me stop in my tracks but I carried on walking down the stairs to see if it would ease off.

Every step I felt the same pain and even when I got downstairs and walked on an even surface, the pain continued. All I could think was that I’d trapped a nerve.

Of course I took to google, my favourite place for self-diagnosis! I typed in ‘Pain in my left bum cheek at 37 weeks pregnant’ – best to be specific I thought!

I read a few forums where other women had posted about similar symptoms and many had said that they had been diagnosed with Sciatica but weren’t convinced.

Sciatica is a pain that radiates out from the lower back, down the buttocks and into one or both of the legs, right down to the calf. It can last for days or up to a matter of months. It is caused by irritation or damage to the sciatic nerve, such as:

  • A slipped disc – occurs when the outer part of the disc ruptures (splits), allowing the gel inside to bulge and protrude outwards between the vertebrae. When this presses against the sciatic nerve, it can cause sciatica.
  •  Spinal stenosis – the narrowing of nerve passages in the spine, occurs when the bones, ligaments or discs of the spine squash the nerves of the spine.

It can be made worse by coughing, sneezing, bending over backwards and sitting or standing for too long a period of time.

Being pregnant I know that your body goes through so many surprising changes that I wouldn’t have given Sciatica a second thought, however many women in the forums were unconvinced.

Many thought they had been misdiagnosed and upon speaking to midwifes found that during pregnancy, these symptoms are more likely to be Pelvic Girdle Pain – PGP for short!

During pregnancy our bodies produce the hormone relaxin which softens the ligaments  in the pelvis and other joints. This makes for an easier birth but can also cause PGP if one side of your pelvis moves more than the other.

It causes shooting pains down the back of of your legs, hips or just the buttocks and can be made worse in the same way as sciatica – by laying or standing for too long and also when rolling over in the night.

There are a few ways to ease the discomfort of PGP depending on the severity, for example wearing a pelvic belt, specific pelvic floor and tummy exercises and locking your hips while doing everyday activities. Acupuncture can also help as well as the obvious resting, good posture and avoiding heavy lifting.

PGP usually goes after birth as the relaxin is no longer released. My only concern was whether it’ll my birth uncomfortable. I know that it’s due to the ligaments moving for an easier birth but I  can really see it being uncomfortable, especially as Rabbit is back to back already!

I did a little extra research and found that giving birth on all fours will be the most comfortable position for someone with PGP. This will be fine as I can kneel in the birth pool and lean on the side.

Apparently almost half of mums-to-be experience some form of pelvic pain during pregnancy! I also found that if the similar pain is in your pubic bone at the front, this is called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) – a similar ligament condition at the front of your pelvis. Remember the drop kick feeling I’ve had for weeks now? I’m thinking it could be that!

I’d love to hear of any other women’s experiences with PGP. I’ve found it relieves the pain for me when I have a warm bath and if I sit upright on my exercise ball.

The pain isn’t constant it only comes and goes, but I’d rather it goes soon especially if Rabbits late!

 

Thanks for reading 🙂

11 Comments

  • Honest Mum
    2nd April 2014 at 9:27 am Reply

    Could have done with this in my 2nd pregnancy. Thanks for linking up-please link back to #brilliantblogposts or add my badge

    • Jessica
      2nd April 2014 at 10:44 am Reply

      Of course will do 🙂 I’ve got your badge on my ‘links that I love page’ 🙂

  • Merlinda (@pixiedusk)
    2nd April 2014 at 10:18 am Reply

    Other than my sugar level being high (but was able to control with diet) my pregnancy is okay as well. I have few days when my legs hurt cuz of my heavy tummy but I just rest. Looking back, Im lucky too as well i think. #sharewithme

    • Jessica
      2nd April 2014 at 10:42 am Reply

      We are so lucky compared to many! And to have healthy little bubas is even better! xx

  • Caroline (Becoming a SAHM)
    2nd April 2014 at 2:32 pm Reply

    I had SPD for about half of my pregnancy, was basically in agony a lot of the time with a very sharp pain at the front of my pelvis and I ended up on crutches – and I had it nowhere near as bad as some women can get it! You can read more here (http://becomingastayathomemum.com/remembering-my-first-pregnancy-and-struggling-with-spd/) I won’t bang on about it in your comments! I’m really pleased for you you’ve had a fairly easy going pregnancy so far and hopefully this won’t cause you too much pain for the last stretch! Good luck! xx #sharewithme

    • Jessica
      2nd April 2014 at 3:06 pm Reply

      I’ll check it out now, thank you. It’s always nice to hear from others that have gone through the same thing, although yours sounds a lot more severe then mine. It only gets me when I’m lying or if I’m sat down for too long and get up. I also can’t push anything out of the way with my feet if it’s heavy (should just sot being lazy and pick it up haha)

      Thanks for reading xx

  • Loving life with little ones
    2nd April 2014 at 8:31 pm Reply

    I had the exact same pain as you in both pregnancies, first it started at 7 months, second baby it started at 9weeks! pain deep inside right bum cheek and sometimes radiating down the back of my leg. It was worse sitting for long periods and I just had to walk it off and move around to stop it, it went away after both births in a week or two but I still get it occasionally when walking now but I never had it before, think it is to do with a nerve somewhere! planning no. 3 and hoping it isn’t worse than last time!

    • Jessica
      4th April 2014 at 10:02 am Reply

      I do sit for too long, the only place I like to blog is in the lounge. I used to sit on the sofa a lot but now I sit on the floor so my posture is kept better. I hope it doesn’t come back for you! How exciting planning number 3! xxx

  • Jenny
    3rd April 2014 at 8:09 am Reply

    Fab post. I had SPD extremely with Buba my first pregnancy and it was horrible. When the pain started I would drop to the floor in agony. Worse thing ever and because it was my first I had no idea and thought it was contractions early and it never let up. Last four weeks I kept falling to the floor in pain. Like someone drop kicking you in the pelvic bone area. i found I was on my feet too much or using too many stairs it was worse. But only found out what it was when I gave birth. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. As always I love reading your post.

    • Jessica
      4th April 2014 at 10:00 am Reply

      That’s exactly how I describe it – like being dropped kicked! Sometimes I crawl around instead of walking as it’s easier … at home of course, in public would look odd!

      Did you find that the pain went straight after labour?

      Thanks for reading lovely 🙂

  • […] into a comfortable position at night time. With this pregnancy I’m suffering so badly with SPD that I rely on it to help me to not feel like I’ve been kicked in the crotch constantly! I […]

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Hi I’m Jess, a parenting, lifestyle and travel blogger. I write about all things minimalism, mum life, fitness and travel with a heap of positivity!

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