Tips on pelvic pain, sneeze wee and sciatica during pregnancy
I came across a great post on Instagram by a fellow alignment nerd yesterday which I had to share in my client Facebook Group.
The photo showed a pregnant person in poor, lifted chest, “bump out in front of her” posture on the left, and then her again in perfect alignment on the right.
It’s fascinating to see how lifting your chest and standing with your pelvic weight forwards can apply pressure and more load than necessary to your lower back, so do go and check out the link below because sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words, huh?
Click here to see the image: https://www.instagram.com/p/BkyEmsLHZg1/
Having a chat to a few of my pregnant clients over the past fortnight, it’s apparent that some of you are suffering with pelvic pain, sneeze wee and sciatica.
So, I thought I share my thoughts on what to do when you feel either of these symptoms setting in.
Although common, it’s not normal to wet yourself when you sneeze.
This essentially means when your bladder has urine in it, your pelvic floor is not strong enough to withstand the downward forces produced by said sneeze.
You may be happy to tolerate it for now, thinking you only have a few months left of your pregnancy, so what’s the point doing much about it now?
Well, it tells me there is a problem, because, well – read paragraph one again, ok?
The “problem” won’t go away by itself and I take a full body approach to pelvic floor rehab if you hadn’t noticed, so doing a tonne of “squeeze and release” exercises to your vag may not make a lick of difference.
See my Your Pelvic Matters or pregnancy Pilates or Beginners Pilates classes for more info, or come and see me for postnatal personal training, where I can put an individualised program of exercises together specifically for you.
Pelvic Girdle Pain or PGP as it’s sometimes termed can include pain at the front, back or sides of the pelvis.
So, discomfort at the pubic bone, groin area, outer thighs, hip bones and/or lower back/gluteal pain all falls under the umbrella of “PGP”.
If PGP becomes really bad, you may be offered Physio by your local hospital, with the worst case scenario being, they’ll offer you a support belt an crutches if your symptoms get worse, rather than get better.
I’ve worked with a tonne of pregnant women with PGP one-on-one and in a group setting, and I can always find movements for them to do.
Mindset is huge with this one here, so if someone says a support belt is your best option, you’re going to think it is.
It may provide you a teeny bit of relief, but there’s more at stake here, because using a set of crutches and/or wearing a support belt are sort of “plastering” things.
What you need is pelvic stability back in your life, and I can certainly help you attain that.
I’ve had this and it’s pretty grim.
Although it was well over 10 years ago, I can still remember the torment of that shooting/tingling pain that starts in the butt, runs down the back of the leg, all the way underneath the foot to the big toe.
For me, sitting down aggravated it, so it’s important for you to work out what it is that’s causing more discomfort and do less of that for starters.
I generally advise against stretching out the gluteals if sciatica is present, because it can sometimes make symptoms worse.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I HAVE SNEEZE WEE, PELVIC PAIN AND/OR SCIATICA?
Well, I’m glad you asked!
In a nutshell, you need to:
- Sit better (if you must sit, or vary the way you sit eg floor sitting)
- Stand better (I teach you how to do this in every class setting on my timetable, so no excuses)
- Walk and move more (but you need to learn how to stand better for you to be able to move and walk better, so you can sort of see how these things are indeed connected)
- Strengthen your glutes (a huge role in relieving pelvic pain, sciatica and sneeze wee is building yourself a strong butt, which incidentally is linked to walking better – you see – I can find a tenuous link to everything!)
- Release your hamstrings (particularly if sneeze wee is something you suffer with – it tells me your pelvic floor is possibly too tight)
- Teach your core to switch on reflexively (which means you don’t “draw it in” all the time, or at all – you let it anticipate and adapt to the load you’re asking it to bear), and finally
- Learn to breathe better (because you can’t get a reflexive core, if you’re not breathing into your ribs, and breathing better can also help pelvic floor/core synergy too)
And, there you have it!
That’s quite an extensive list as you can see, but you’ll know that if you’ve ever asked me a question that goes along the lines of:
“What exercises are good for….?”
I rarely if ever answer it by listing my “go to” exercises.
This is because I look at the body as a whole unit.
And, just sending you away with 4 movements to do, in isolation, isn’t going to relieve your symptoms.
YOU have got to take some responsibility for your pain and actions going forwards too, you see?
If you’re concerned that any symptom you’re suffering with is not going away, it’s probably time to get in touch with me, don’t you think?
I run a host of classes where you can learn about how to stand, sit and move better.
Mummies and Buggies indoor postnatal buggy class is Wednesday at 11am.
My pelvic floor exercise class is 7:30pm on Wednesdays (but check the link for info on how to enrol).
Beginners Pilates is Tuesday at 8:30pm in West Bridgford.
And, if you want a fun, fat-burning, full-body workout that offers postnatal options, it’s my Little Black Dress Workout on a Monday at 8:30pm you’ll want to book on.