Dealing with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction or Pelvic Girdle Pain as detailed in a past post is the separation of the symphysis pubis.

One of two things will happen if you experience this. You will want to stay in bed for the remainder of your pregnancy, everyday activities seeming too painful or you will want to carry on with some sort of activities least of all your day to day tasks.

First things first though make sure you see your doctor. In severe cases you will need to see a physiotherapist.

Either way management of the pain and knowledge of what will worsen or help the situation is always useful.

Exercises for someone with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (PGP).

I wish I could give a straight forward answer but I can’t. I can generally state that movements that would worsen the condition would include movements that mean the hips, legs are separated ie a wide squat, lunges. Or simply putting one foot in front of the other ie walking.

Saying that though this will vary from woman to woman. Ranges of movement and particular exercises will differ across the board.

Prescription needs to be specific to each woman. How do certain moves and ranges feel? If pain is experienced quite simply STOP

I have seen a client who struggles with wide squats but found regular squats with a shortened range fine. Or couldn’t do lateral lunges but reverse lunges and regular lunges are fine.

If you want to continue to train you need to be realistic that something like Crossfit at this point is probably going to be extremely scaled and or stopped altogether for a more gentler approach.

Remember ladies this is fine!

Your symphysis pubis will return to normal after your baby is born.

It is Ok during pregnancy to take the tempo down. It is a small amount of time in the grand scheme of life.

Believe me you won’t have time to slow down when your baby arrives!!

In all cases focus on the core stabilising muscles of the pelvis is vital.

Working on transverse abdominal activation, pelvic floor recruitment will all make this condition far more manageable. And would be prescribed for any degree of PGP.

(Please note -Always seek help and advise from a trained professional)

Approaching day to day tasks you will need to think about how you move.

Here is an everyday example to help get in and out of bed.

Keeping your legs together. Hips and knees square, rolling onto your side and pushing yourself up to seated using your arms. Swing your legs gently, allowing your legs to dangle off bed/sofa, keeping them firmly together throughout the movement.

Remember the golden rule – if it hurts or gives you pain STOP

(A small minority will experience extreme pain, during pregnancy you are not able to use pain relief in the same way as before. Please consult your doctor or midwife for advice on pain relief and ways to deal with it.)

I hope this gives you a good starting point for PGP management. You can reach me through email for further advice on specific areas and questions.


Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Coach at Bethnal Green

4 thoughts on “Dealing with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)”

  1. Hey Sally,
    I’ve been skimming through your blog and its great!
    You might want to try an osteopath for that public symph prob if its still bothering you..
    Loved your class last night and look forward to another!

  2. Hey!

    I came across your blog whilst trying to find out what exercises I can do with some front pelvis pain- which hurts more if I go out for a 2 mile walk than 30 minutes on the cross trainer. I’m finding the advice from clinical professionals on exercise dyer!

    I want to be able to carry on with my lower body free weight routine of static lunges and squats with 3kg either side weights (I’m 24 weeks pregnant)… Do you have any recommendations or research I can read about pelvic girdle pain and exercise? I’m concerned I could make it worse. However, I don’t feel any pain when using weights or using the cross trainer.

    I understand if you can’t offer advice due to legal reason.

    Thanks! Laura x

    1. Hey Laura, I have sent you an email which I hope is helpful. Please email me if you have further questions.

Leave a Reply