There are many risk factors to pelvic pain during pregnancy and one of the most common is hypermobility.
If you have hypermobility it means that your joints are more flexible than other peoples (sometimes referred to as being ‘double jointed’).
Hormones and Hypermobility
During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is produced, with important effects in the female reproductive system, to allow your body to adapt to maintain the pregnancy. Later in pregnancy it helps the body prepare for childbirth and relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix.
So if you add relaxin to an already ‘over mobile’ joint the result can be pain, most often pelvic pain, as this is where your body is taking all of the additional pressure.
To find out if you are hypermobile you can test yourself with the Beighton Score (out of 9).
Calculate your score:
- One point if while standing forward bending you can place palms on the ground with legs straight
- One point for each elbow that bends backwards
- One point for each knee that bends backwards
- One point for each thumb that touches the forearm when bent backwards
- One point for each little finger that bends backwards beyond 90 degrees.
You do not have to score 9/9 to be deemed as hypermobile, it is a sliding scale so the higher the score the more hypermobile, it is suggested, you are.
Dealing with hypermobility.
Knowing if you are hypermobile can be hugely helpful during or pre-pregnancy. Anyone that is thought to be hypermobile should be vigilant, keeping their body strong to cope with the additional strains that pregnancy puts on them. It is best to avoid impact and very strenuous exercise but instead do activities which engage your core muscles (especially your pelvic floor as this helps to support your pelvis).
Pregnancy pilates and swimming are both usually safe exercises to continue throughout your pregnancy.
If you have any concerns, or are experiencing pelvic pain, please do not continue and ignore the pain, cut back from what you are doing to see if this helps and try to get to a specialist Physiotherapist as soon as possible.