Fetal malpositions often begin with an imbalance in the mother’s pelvis. Often, so does pain in the hips, tailbone, pubic bone, round ligaments and SI joints. Treating the cause of the pain often solves the fetal malposition as well, since then baby can often slip into an improved, or even optimal, fetal position.
Over the years, women have contacted me about pain or significant discomfort somewhere in the pelvis and/or lower back. Some muscles being loose and other muscles being very tight puts the pelvis off balance. The relaxing effects of pregnancy hormones along with the added weight and shift in balance cause such an imbalance to flare up in mid or late pregnancy.
It’s not only painful for you, but sometimes this imbalance means baby can’t aim their head evenly into the pelvis. Babies get into the best position they can with the space they have. An imbalance reduces the amount of space available to the baby. Baby may tilt the head or aim it forward to fit. Baby may have a challenge lining up with a wobbly pelvis.
Pelvic Pain Solutions
Addressing pelvic pain may help comfort today and ease the upcoming birth. Some answers to pelvic pain can be addressed by a variety of modalities and exercises.
- Stand evenly on your feet
- Let your bottom free, “do not tuck your butt” as some recommend.
- Let your belly relax and take fuller, “belly breaths”
- When you turn, turn with small, baby steps. Don’t swing your leg out.
- When you sit and stand, use your feet and knees as one, knees and feet hip-width apart. Then stand or sit down. Pivot on your buttocks to get your feet into the car. Pivot to get out.
Simple exercises will begin to help the problem:
- Wear a pregnancy belt
- Wear a pregnancy belt when you walk
- Balance your calcium magnesium levels (but not with antacids)
- Sit up on the front of your sitz bones (tuberosities)
- Sit on a firm exercise ball that keeps your hips level or higher than your knees, but not much higher
- Move in alignment
- Wear a small-heeled shoe
- Wear a bra a size too big around the rib cage (muscles in the back and your diaphragm affect your pelvis, too)
- Check out the resources lower down on this article
When sitting on a chair, put a small ball, big enough to just grip in your hand without dropping it, in between your knees. Squeeze and release the ball with your knees in rhythm with your breath. Inhale your knees are soft but the ball doesn’t fall. Exhale, squeeze the ball. Repeat 5-10 times.
Move the ball between your thighs and repeat the squeeze pattern. Make sure you are sitting on the front of your sitz bones, back lifted, shoulders open. Chin down a bit, back of your head high.
Repeat each meal time after eating or while waiting to be served (but not while actually eating). Don’t squeeze hard, just firm.
Walk in low heel shoes every day.
The Forward-leaning inversion, standing sacral release and Pelvic Floor (Sidelying) release learned from Carol Phillips, DC, have given amazing results and relief and even resolution from pain. These are good to combine with chiropractic work if desired or if one or the other modality isn’t “holding.”
Other Resources for Pelvic Pain Relief:
- Liz Koch’s psoas resolution information
- Cecile Röst and her book, Relieving Pelvic Pain During and After Pregnancy
- Katy Bowman at her website, Aligned and Well
- Carol Phillips, DC at her website, Dynamic Body Balancing
- And don’t forget our Daily Activities
I have had a history of SI joint pain before I was pregnant and it was under control up until recently. The pain is so intense at times I have trouble walking or moving positions while sitting or laying down. It seems to worsen when sedentary AND when I’m active (i.e. prenatal yoga, going for walks, swimming, etc.). Ice and massage, which in the past have helped, are not helping with this new intense pain. I have had some sporadic round ligament pain over the past month. I do suffer from almost a charley horse feeling in the pelvic bone/round ligament pain area sometimes at night. I’m not sure if this is related to the SI joint pain.
You may be right to seek professional help with your pelvic imbalance.
Pelvic pain may be a sign of a twist in your SI joints, tension in your psoas or piriformis muscles, or other origins of imbalance. This may or may not be a big deal in labor.
Pelvic instability issues flare up in pregnancy. Address this pain now with self-care and bodywork. It gets worse when you do activities and are sedentary because of being out of alignment and certain muscles being loose and certain muscles being very tight.
This doesn’t have to be your life. You can develop a happy memory around finding freedom from pain in pregnancy. Learning the causes and solutions for pain from imbalance will help you maintain good health and balance for a lifetime.
Pain is the teacher and balance is the A student who replaces the teacher with mobility, fuller range of motion and ease.