Pain during pregnancy

Pregnancy is associated with numerous postural and physical changes in the body and many women may present with musculoskeletal conditions such as groin pain, low back pain, pubic symphisis pain, round ligament pain and sciatica. Changes occur due to two hormones, progesterone and relaxin. Relaxin is released about 10-12 weeks into pregnancy and is responsible for pelvic girdle pain (PGP), sacro-iliac joint dysfucntion, symphisis pubis dysfunction (SPD) and joint dysfunctions in the spine. In addition to this, the pelvis also rotates forwards, which creates an increased curve in the low back, which adds strain on the spinal nerves and can lead to sciatica. Patients are often told that there may be no help for their symptoms, but a chiropractor may give you some relief. In fact 84% of women experienced relief from chiropractic care. This is achieved safely and gently.

What causes round ligament pain:

Round ligaments are located along the front side of the uterus and attach in the groin. Pain is caused by stretching of the ligaments as the uterus enlarges and it starts in the second trimester of pregnancy. This pain may be aggravated by an underlying alignment issue.


Patients may experience sharp, stabbing pain on sudden movements such as coughing, laughing, sneezing or changing positions quickly. This occurs predominantly on the right hand side. The pain needs to be checked out immediately by your medical practitioner to rule out any other serious medical conditions. Some women may however experience chronic, dull, aching abdominal pain.


  • Chiropractic care
  • Flexing hips before coughing or sneezing
  • Massage
  • No sudden movements – try move gently and slowly
  • Pelvic support aids
  • Pillows between knees and under belly for support whilst sleeping
  • Stretch – Cat stretch
  • Warm bath

What does the research say?

Low back pain is a very common presentation in pregnancy. One study found that as much as 76% of women experienced low back pain at some time (1). In a study done where women were diagnosed with sacro-iliac joint dysfunction 91% experienced relief after chiropractic care (2). Sacro-iliac joint dysfunction is very common in pregnant women and is related to low back pain, groin pain and leg pain. In another study it was found that 84% of women with low back pain experienced relief from chiropractic care (3).

(1)  Berg G. Hammar M. Möller-Nielsen J. Lindén U. Thorblad J. Low back pain during pregnancy. Obstetrics Gynecolology. 1988; 71(1); 71-5. 

(2) Daly JM, et al. Sacroiliac subluxation: a common, treatable cause of low-back pain in pregnancy.Family Practice Research Journal, 1991; 11(2) 149-159.

(3) Diakow PR. Gadsby TA. Gadsby JB, Gleddie JG. Leprich DJ. Scales AM.  Back pain during pregnancy and labor. Journal of Manipulative Physiol Therapeutics. 1991; 14 (2); 116-118.