It’s hard to predict who will experience PGP and the causes are unclear, but you are more likely to get it if:

  • You have had a physically demanding job

  • You are having twins or more

  • You have a history or back or pelvic pain

  • You have had a previous injury to the pelvis

  • You have a high body mass index (BMI)

  • You have hypermobility

  • Discomfort rolling over and getting in and out of bed

Symptoms might include:

  • Discomfort in the lower back

  • Discomfort in the middle of your pelvis at the front

  • The feeling that your pelvic bones are pulling apart

  • Clicking or grinding in the pelvis

  • Discomfort in the inner thighs/between your legs

  • Discomfort that is worse when your legs are moved apart, or by standing on one leg

  • Discomfort that is worse in the night and when standing after sitting or lying for a long time

  • Discomfort rolling over and getting in and out of bed

Most women find that these symptoms can be self-managed. There are some things you can do during pregnancy which are often helpful.

You can improve your symptoms and abilities by some changes to the way that you move in every day activities

  • Move! Some movement and activities might aggravate your pain, but there will be some that do not, so focus on these

  • Wear flat shoes that offer lots of support

  • Keep gently mobile and take rest as you need to. It is better to pace your activities throughout the week and avoid ‘boom and bust’

  • Gently press your knees together when trying to roll over in bed, stand up or lie down. Or if you prefer, just avoid taking your knees apart

  • Swivel to get out of the car, rather than standing on one leg

  • Get dressed sitting down

  • Place a pillow between your legs when sleeping

  • When using stairs, go up backwards on your bum, or take one step at a time

  • Ask for help with chores, particularly vacuuming or emptying the washing machine

  • Sit down for chores like ironing and cooking where possible

  • More information can be found on the pelvic floor page.


  • Wearing heel high heels

  • Standing on one leg, or putting all your weight on one leg (e.g. when getting dressed, climbing stairs)

  • Don’t push things with your feet (e.g. doors, boxes etc.)

  • Lifting anything too heavy

  • Pushing anything too heavy, like a full shopping trolley

  • Carrying anything heavy in one hand/on one shoulder – a backpack will help spread the load

  • Sitting on the floor

  • Crossing your legs when sitting

  • Sitting in one position for too long

Backache, pelvic girdle pain and other musculoskeletal symptoms in pregnancy

You might find these videos helpful to watch about back and pelvic pain in pregnancy and posture and positioning in pregnancy.

We understand how aches and pains in your joints, muscles and bones can cause frustration and worry, impacting on your daily activities especially during pregnancy. In most cases, these can be treated by yourself, in your own home using guidance above.

More information on being active during pregnancy.

If you have symptoms that do not improve within a week or two, or interfere with your normal day-to-day life, you should ask for help from your midwife, GP, physiotherapist or other health carer.

The specialist women’s health physiotherapy team can treat antenatal and post natal back pain, pelvic pain, hand numbness/pins and needles, postnatal separation of the tummy muscles and pelvic floor problems. They can provide specific advice to pregnant women with pre-existing back pain. They also run regular ‘back care in pregnancy’ advice groups.