WHAT IT IS & WHY BREAST STROKE IS A NO
It still amazes me that in 2017 with the knowledge and education we have, that pregnant ladies are not being advised against certain strokes when swimming. Especially when it's the exercise of choice for many pregnant ladies - understandably so when you feel weightless!
However, by carrying out half an hour of break stroke each week you could be leaving yourself wide open to a world of pelvic girdle pain.
What is PGP? It's an acronym for Pelvic Girdle Pain and it's the name given to pain, and increased movement or movement dysfunction in any of the 3 pelvic joints which can also lead to back, hip and in some cases abdominal pain. Your three hip joints are made up of your sacroiliac joints on either side, your pubic symphysis joint at the front (sometimes known as SPD) and your hips on either side.
Pelvic Girdle pain if diagnosed early can be managed better, but as with anything each person’s diagnosis is different, and the severity of it will depend on factors individual to you.
So what are the symptoms then?
This is not an exhaustive list and I would suggest you speak to your midwife or GP if you have any concerns.
These can be mild, moderate and in some cases severe;
- Lower back pain
- Pain in the bottom and gluteal area
- Groin pain
- Inner thigh pain
- Hip pain and discomfort
These symptoms can lead to problems when you walk: especially for long periods, can affect your sleep as it's uncomfortable to lay on your side, climbing stairs may give you issues, standing on 1 leg and many more everyday tasks that we take for granted.
So what causes it?
Again this isn't an exclusive list and there are more reasons, but these have been found to be the most common;
- Hormones during pregnancy, particularly Relaxin.
- Strength and length changes of your muscles during pregnancy as the baby grows.
- Posture, a bad one can impact on the pelvis a lot more.
- Baby's positioning can sometimes affect the pelvis causing problems
- Fall or an accident that has loaded your hips and pelvis area.
- Strenuous activity - either prolonged walking, standing, exercises.
So there are some things you can do to help yourself should you suffer with this;
- Don't separate your legs - trying and always keep them together whether you are standing up, sitting down, getting in and out of the car or bed.
- Try not to sit for prolonged periods of time, this can put a lot of pressure through the hip and pelvis region. So stand up and walk around regularly.
- Avoid going up and down the stairs as much as possible.
- Refrain from doing breast stroke whilst swimming, this puts a lot of pressure on the hips taking the legs apart....
- Try not to stand for prolonged periods too, try and perch on a stool if you can to take the pressure off.
- Join a Pilates class and tell the instructor you're suffering from PGP so they can make alterations to the class for you, but by strengthening the core and glutes gently this will help with recovery.
- Do your pelvic floor exercises and strengthen your core gently each day.
The good news is that on average 93% of ladies improve immediately after giving birth, but you need to give it time and allow everything to settle. Then when you're ready return to exercise slowly, again choosing a specialist postnatal Pilates class (like mine!) where we are qualified and educated to help you strengthen and build back up.