If you've ever been pregnant, there's a good chance you've experienced pelvic girdle pain. Hormonal changes affect joints in your pelvis as your body expands and prepares to give birth. Yoga poses can help decrease pelvic girdle pain.
Read more: Exercises for SPD After Birth
Pelvic Girdle Pain
Pelvic girdle pain refers to any musculoskeletal pain in the pelvis that might also spread to the hips or thighs. The exact cause of pelvic girdle pain is not always clear. However, the pregnancy hormone relaxin loosens the ligaments that hold your pelvic bones together which allows more movement between these bones, which can lead to pain.
Pregnant women with pelvic girdle pain also often have a history of low-back pain, prior trauma to the pelvis or frequently participate in strenuous physical activity. Pelvic girdle pain increases with movement of your legs, making it difficult to sit, stand or walk. You might also have difficulty sleeping.
Read more: Exercises that Relieve PSD in Pregnancy
Yoga & Pelvic Girdle Pain
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles located along the bottom of your pelvis, running between your legs to the bottom of your spine. These muscles support your internal pelvic organs and support the weight of the fetus during pregnancy. As your ligaments stretch, these muscles must work harder than usual. Pelvic floor muscles can also be tight. Each condition can lead to pelvic girdle pain.
Yoga poses can strengthen the pelvic floor. For example, the Great Seal, also known as Janu Sirsasana, is performed by sitting with one leg straight and the other heel pulled into the opposite inner thigh. In this position, bend forward at the hips and reach for your toes on the straight leg. As you hold this position for several breaths, your pelvic floor muscles are tightening.
Yoga poses also stretch tight pelvic muscles. For example, the Squat Pose, or Malasana, begins by standing with your feet slightly more than hip-width apart. Bend your knees and squat down as far as possible, bringing your hips lower than your knees. Bring your palms together in front of you and place your elbows on the insides of your knees. Gently push your knees further apart with your elbows. Your torso should remain upright throughout the movement.
Read more: Benefits of the Yoga Squat
If you are currently pregnant, check with your healthcare provider before performing yoga. Some poses might also be difficult or need to be modified to accommodate a growing belly.
Yoga during and after pregnancy has additional benefits. According to a study published by "Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice," yoga decreases stress hormones and improves mood.