Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

Pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain is a common and disabling condition for pregnant women. It is estimated that at least 50 percent of pregnant women will have some amount of low back or pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, and that around 25 percent will continue to have these symptoms after giving birth.

Symptoms of Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

Symptoms of pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain include pain in the front of the pelvis, hip, or groin region. Additionally, there can be pain in the low back, buttocks, and even down the leg, mimicking sciatica symptoms. Pregnant women may complain of pain with transitional movements, such as climbing stairs, rolling over in bed, getting up from a bed/chair, or standing/walking.

Causes of Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

There are many possible causes of pregnancy-related low back and pelvic girdle pain, including mechanical/anatomical changes and hormone changes (which can impact ligaments), as well as inflammatory, vascular, and nerve factors. Slack ligaments can create instability in the pelvic girdle, which can lead to pain in the front or back of the pelvis, as well as pain down the leg. Weight gain and changes in posture and center of gravity, as well as core weakness and separation due to the gravid uterus, likely contribute as well.

Diagnosing Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

Pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain can generally be diagnosed by a pregnancy specialist using a thorough history and physical exam. On rare occasions, your doctor may consider other imaging tests such as MRI to rule out specific conditions based on your symptoms.

Treatments for Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

Treatments for pregnancy-related lumbopelvic pain include the following:

  • Activity modifications
  • Physical or occupational therapy with a women’s health expert
  • Exercise programs
  • Heat or cold applications
  • Use of a support brace
  • Assistive devices, if needed
  • Medications
  • Patient and family education

Why Choose Columbia for Pregnancy and Pelvic/Back Pain

Our pregnancy specialists are highly skilled in diagnosing and treating pregnancy-related musculoskeletal conditions. We perform a thorough diagnostic evaluation to find the cause of your pain and plan the most conservative treatment possible, which may include exercise, lifestyle changes, bracing, and, if needed, medications or other pain management techniques. We work closely with Columbia obstetricians to help you throughout your pregnancy and in the postpartum period so you can return to the highest possible level of function.