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Not Sciatica? Pelvic Girdle Pain Affects Pregnant Women

Sciatica or pelvic girdle pain, sciatica or pelvic girdle pain…which one is it? The uncertainty can be absolutely exhausting. All you want to know is what your pregnancy pain means! If doctors have already ruled out sciatica as your pregnant back pain, pelvic girdle pain may still be on the table. Let’s check out the symptoms and causes of PGP.

Sciatica or Pelvic Girdle Pain?

How can you be certain that you are  experiencing pelvic girdle pain and not sciatica? While there is no foul-proof test, you can normally tell the difference between the two types of pregnancy pain by located where you actually feel pain: the lower back, the buttocks, down one leg, around your belly? If it’s PGP, the answer to “where do you feel pain?” will be:

  • one or both sides of the lower back
  • belly
  • thigh (occassionally)

While sciatica is felt more in the back of the body–buttocks, lower back, and shooting down one leg–PGP may be felt in your growing tummy!

It is important to get any pain during your pregnancy checked out by a medical professional so he can tell you what is going on, but your doctor is going to need some help from you to diagnosis your pain correctly. There are ways you can help your doctor figure out which one it is, sciatica or pelvic girdle pain (or it might be neither!). The best way to prepare yourself for your appointment, however, is to familiarize yourself with the symptoms of pelvic girdle pain (see above).

What is to Blame This Time?

Curious as to the reason why PGP seems to wrap around your entire body? The unique location of pelvic girdle pain can be attributed to your growing belly! As you baby grows , you stomach gets bigger and bigger, putting more stress on the rest of your body (such a front-heavy load!) Those poor joints, bones and muscles in your back and pelvic region! Cue pelvic girdle pain!

When Should I Expect PGP to Strike?

Another clue that the pain you are experiencing is PGP is if it occurs in your final trimester of pregnancy. Because your belly will be biggest then, the most stress is being applied to your body as well.  It can, however, occur at any point in your pregnancy, often increasing in pain severity as you head toward your final trimester.

There’s Another Diagnosis I Might Hear?

You may be so ready for your doctor to give you a sciatica or PGP diagnosis that the words “symphysis pubic dysfunction” catch you by off guard. Surprise! Symphysis pubic dysfunction  is another medical condition (although sciatica is not really considered a medical condition itself) that strikes pregnant women in high numbers. Unlike both sciatica and PGP, which usually affect specific areas of the body, symphysis pubic dysfunction is characterized as a more general pain throughout the body. Symphysis pubic dysfunction also has another difference: it is not always causes by ligaments that loosen from the hormones of pregnancy.

This is why it is important to be knowledgeable about the different types of pregnancy pain: if you are, you can work with your doctor to figure out what is going on with your pregnant body, not just rely on their expertise to come to the right conclusion!

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