Most women who suffer pelvic instability will have mild symptoms which do not cause lasting problems. They may suffer mildly toward the end of the pregnancy and recover shortly after birth. Some women suffer a moderate amount of pelvic instability which is painful and requires a reduction of activities. They should seek assistance from a certified medical professional within 12 months of the delivery. In rarer cases, a woman suffers as soon as pregnancy starts with severe symptoms that may require intensive treatment and a variety of support services.
It is estimated that around 50,000 women suffer with some level of pelvic instability in Australia each year.
Pain or instability can occur at any of the three pelvic joints: pubic symphysis at the front of the pelvis and left and right sacroiliac joints at the back. The pain can make it difficult for women to walk or attend to activities of daily living.
Symptoms of pelvic instability can be mild, moderate or severe. Symptoms can improve, stay the same, or increase as the pregnancy progresses. It can start as early as the first trimester or sometimes not until after the baby is born. It can return in future pregnancies.
Women may experience some of its symptoms below:
- Pain in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttocks, thighs, hips or lower back
- Difficulty walking or a waddling gait
- Pain felt when standing on one leg, getting dressed, climbing stairs, getting in and out of the bath
- Pain felt when turning, twisting or bending, getting out of bed, out of the car, pushing a shopping trolley, and day to day activities
- Women may feel and/or hear a clicking, clunking, or grinding sensation in their pelvis
- Difficult to part their legs without severe pain
- Pain and difficulty during sexual intercourse
- Incontinence and/or bowel problems
Unfortunately, pelvic instability is sometimes misdiagnosed as ‘aches and pains of pregnancy’ and women can miss out on the help they need. If you think that you may have pelvic instability, and the symptoms don’t improve after a few days of rest, you should arrange an appointment with a qualified physician right away.