075: Yoga for Pelvic Girdle Pain with Dr. Sinead Dufour

Shannon is pleased to have Dr. Sinead Dufour as her first returning guest to discuss pelvic girdle pain. Sinead has been a practicing physiotherapist for about 15 years, with a Ph.D. in Primary Health Care. Her extensive studies also include training in obstetrics and urogynecology. She is a professor in the Health and Science department at McMaster University and is the Director of Pelvic Health at The Womb.  

Pelvic girdle pain develops in pregnancy or postnatally. It’s pain that develops below the rib line and travels below the gluteal fold. 75% of women have pelvic girdle pain in their second pregnancy and 20% have continuous pelvic girdle pain postnatal.

Shannon and Dr. Sinead Dufour discuss how our understanding of pelvic girdle pain has evolved, the misconceptions that make treating the pain difficult, and what yoga teachers can do to help their students experiencing pelvic pain. Dr. Sinead discusses how important it is for women to trust their pelvis by recognizing its strength and directing signals of safety, reassurance, and resilience to help prevent the pain and reduce fear of giving birth.

[9:35] What is pelvic girdle pain?

[14:45] What do we now know about the effect of pregnancy hormones in causing laxity of the pelvis and how that understanding has evolved; central mechanism versus mechanical factors

[20:15] How we can talk to our yoga students about their pelvic girdle pain; pelvic sensitivity does not mean lack of strength of the pelvic region, the effect of asymmetrical movement, misconceptions and outdated information

[22:25] The problem with misconceptions around pelvic health in pregnancy; creates increased fear around giving birth, can actually cause more pain if the woman feels compelled to clench her pelvis believing it to be weak

[26:45] How new research has informed the way Dr. Sinead Dufour treats her patients with pelvic girdle pain and how it can inform the way yoga teachers can help students

[29:40] Previous pregnancy as a risk factor but not a determining factor, higher risk if there’s been a trauma in the first pregnancy

[32:05] Understanding that the mechanics aren’t the driver of the pain but it is relevant, and the mechanics are something they can have control over- don’t be afraid of movement, be mindful, some movement is good to avoid

[33:15] Movements for those with pelvic girdle pain (and those to avoid)

[38:10] Study of the effect of high cortisol and the importance of education around these findings and the application to yoga

[40:00] Importance of language around pelvic girdle pain using “sensitive pelvis” instead of “falling apart” or “dysfunctional” and the misconception of engaging the pelvis to remedy the pain

[42:50] Incidents of long-term pelvic girdle pain (20% of women) indicates the current approach needs to incorporate new research and deconstruct long-held beliefs

[46:25] Hypertonic pelvis and taking care around doing exercises such as kegels

[48:50] The importance of referring students to a pelvic floor physiotherapist- even before pregnancy to “reset” the pelvis, build trust in the body, empowerment in knowledge

[53:40] Do men experience pelvic girdle pain?

[56:15] The benefit of therapy in pregnancy and postnatally- is it appropriate to refer a student to a therapist?

[58:40] Dr. Sinead’s preference for the term “motor control exercises” instead of “stability exercises”

[1:02:44] How to reach Dr. Sinead Dufour

[1:03:15] Shannon’s wrap-up and key takeaways


Email Dr. Sinead Dufour: dr.sinead@thewomb.ca

Website: The Womb

Find a Canadian Pelvic Health Specialist

PDF: Dr. Sinead Dufour’s Postpartum Movement Tips

PDF: Dr. Sinead Dufour’s Study: Association between lumbopelvic pain and pelvic floor dysfunction in women: A cross-sectional study.  

Pelvic Symmetry Sequence by Shannon Crow

Relevant TCYT Episodes:

007: Breath and Pelvic Health with Trisha Zinn

008: Core Breath and Pelvic Health with Kim Vopni

009: Kegals, Mula Banda and Pelvic Health with Shelly Prosko

033: A New Perspective on Diastasis Recti with Dr. Sinead Dufour

The Connected Yoga Teacher Facebook Group

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