Exercise during pregnancy can be extremely beneficial in managing pelvic pain. However certain exercises could actually be worsening your pain.

Pelvic pain is common during pregnancy, with reports as high as 30% of all pregnant women suffering with pain.

Why is pelvic pain so common?

As you gain weight and your belly grows forward, your abdominals become stretched and weakened. Many pregnant women also tend to change their posture to compensate for their growing belly. Combine this with hormonal changes which are softening your pelvic ligaments to allow the birth canal to widen… and wah-la!

You have a weakened pelvis trying to cope with the added weight and pressure put upon it. This can cause inflammation in the pelvic joints which then results in pain. Most women report pain in the front of the pelvis or groin, or in the bottom or lower back.

Now… no woman in her right mind would do exercise that deliberately worsens her pain.. but often women are accidentally doing exercises that they don’t realise are aggravating these pain spots.

What exercises make pelvic pain worse?

The pelvis is already overloaded, so placing asymmetrical, uneven forces on it will make it quite grumpy.

I’d advise you to avoid the following exercises if you want your grumpy pelvis to be happy again!

-Any exercise that requires you to stand on one leg
-Exercises that require you to split the legs wide
-Any jumping or dynamic exercise

Let’s flesh this out and understand it more…

Exercises standing on one leg.

Asymmetrical loading on an already inflamed pelvis can cause further aggravation and pain. Exercises to avoid include single leg squats, single leg standing hip raises or arabesques.

Exercises requiring you to split the legs wide.

The pelvis is already feeling stretched and sore, if we stretch it even further it will continue to be aggravated and cause pain. Exercises to avoid include lunges, wide leg squats, star jumps or pigeon pose.

Jumping or dynamic exercise

The increased load placed on the pelvic joints with the added weight of a “jump” can really set your pain off. Many jumping or dynamic exercises also require the legs to split apart (ie. running, step class) which further aggravates pelvic pain. Exercises to avoid include running, skipping and burpees.

As a general rule

-Keep the exercises static (ie. don’t jump)
-Keep your knees no further than hip width apart
-Do only double leg exercises

My favourite exercises to do during pregnancy include:

-Stationary cycling
-Swimming or pregnancy water classes
-Pregnancy pilates
-Pregnancy yoga
-Light strength training

Now look after that wonderful pelvis of yours and stay active in the right way!


  • Kay Turnbull

    Hi. I’m curious as you’ve recommended prenatal yoga. However it still does 1 leg balancing, and warrior poses(wide legs) and stretching with legs wide etc.. so is yoga ok? Cause I am having pelvic pain so just wondering wether to continue yoga

    • Cecilia Tripp

      Laura would be the best person to reach out to for this question. You can find her contact information on her site, http://physiolaura.com/ !! Best of luck to you with your pelvic pain!