Lower back, hip and pubic pain?

Will yoga help or make it worse?

These have become so common that they seem normal. Having experienced all of these in my four pregnancies, it is most upsetting when clients tell me that they have been given the impression that they have to ‘put up with it.’ With yoga, physiotherapy and osteopathy you can manage – if not resolve- pain and dysfunction in the sacro-iliac joints, hips and groin, and pubis.

It is advisable to let your midwife know (she may refer you to a physiotherapist – this can take some weeks) and not to be fobbed off. You should receive practical, positive things to do and to avoid by your health professional. They may warn about certain yoga poses – that does not mean you cannot do most of the pregnancy yoga class with adaptions so you can stay active and manage your pain. You should be given modifications, rather than stopping the activities you enjoy. Total inactivity can exacerbate your pain and the asymmetry of the pelvis, making baby positioning and birth more difficult.

It is also vital that you let me know about your pain prior to joining a class. At the start of each class, ‘pregnancy niggles’ are discussed and you can remind me then, too. You will be amongst others with similar physical issues. During yoga, we can work through movements that are helpful and discuss modifications in day-to-day life to help you. You will learn to ease pain and strengthen the muscles you need most in pregnancy and childbirth.

I suffered considerably in my third pregnancy with advanced symphysis pubic dysfunction and followed incorrect advice, including stopping yoga! Needless to say, after a crippling pregnancy I had a very unpleasant and difficult delivery due to the asymmetry of pelvis. I then studied this condition in considerable depth for my post-graduate diploma with the British Wheel of Yoga. Since then, I have had a fourth pregnancy -managed with yoga and osteopathy- with no pain and no pelvic dysfunction. And, it has been my pleasure to help many, many pregnant mums achieve the same:

Thanks to Gabriel for your amazing classes, you have been a great help with the pain management during pregnancy and it all came in really handy during the labour! – Sharon

I feel super blessed to have been able to have such a great birth in my own home, and the pain wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be! Thank you so much for all your help and wisdom, what you do is a real gift for pregnant women, and I am so glad to have been able to come to your yoga classes. It really helped to nurture a positive pregnancy and birth for me. – Julie

Your yoga movements I learned  really helped in easing my pelvic pain. I must say it was more helpful than the physio exercise. -Casey

Gabriel, I really couldn’t have done this third pregnancy without your weekly yoga. Your knowledge and personal experience of my pelvic pain was so much more extensive than what I was given by the midwife. Thank you! -Tamsin

Initially I was very sceptical about going to pregnancy yoga. I thought I might get too bored with it and it might just be a bit of stretching. I am usually very active, rock climber, mountaineer, and mountain biker. 

Pregnancy came as a major shock to my body: at 14/16 weeks on top of nausea I had really bad symphysis pubis pain. Such that walking, standing, getting changed was terrible! ( I was also working lots 5-7 times a week plus some evenings and driving heaps) Unable to stay active – as swimming Pilates climbing walking biking were too painful – I decided to try pregnancy yoga. Yoga really helped my Pelvic pain. Firstly, it just gave me more awareness of my body, help me strengthen areas I could and gave me positions I could use on a daily basis to unwind/ rest if I was having a bad pain day.

Secondly, nobody really gave me detailed advice on how to manage it other than Gabriel. (When  I saw the physio at 28 weeks, I found I was already doing the stuff she suggested). Gabriel gave practical suggestions as what to do/ avoid for spd pain and classes even though we’re group based, I felt was very individualized and always with consideration of everyone’s pain and concerns. 

Lastly,  yoga helped my mood and energy and hence subsequently made my nausea less miserable. I would always head home after yoga feeling energized happier and less tired. Dr S Das, GP

I started getting symphysis pubis dysfunction at about 26 weeks.  Being a physio I was quite aware that this pelvic pain had the potential to intensify, and I was keen to avoid exacerbating the problem while still remaining active.  The advice and support I received from Gabriel on how to manage this was invaluable, I am sure that Gabriel’s input is largely responsible for why my pain didn’t worsen. I always left feeling as though I was stronger and with a freer degree of movement. 

Kat, Lead Clinical Physiotherapist

All these mums suffered from varying degrees of pelvic and lower back pain. Please get in touch if you want to know more.

My article in Natural Parent: