A few months into my pregnancy I was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction. At the time I had never ever heard of this condition before, and was did not even know where to start or how to handle the news. In the beginning of my pregnancy I endured a lot of pain in my pelvic area, but thought it was probably due to the pregnancy, and hoped that it would gradually go away. I never experienced any kind of pain like this before. With Hudson I developed Carpel Tunnel Syndrome, but no pain in my pelvic area. After posting about my condition a lot of you reached out to me whom have been through and are currently experiencing this condition. I hope that by reading this post, it will make you feel less a lone and that you will also have a better understanding of what this condition is.
What is SPD?
The pelvic girdle is a ring of bones right at the bottom of the spine. It is connected at the back by your sacroiliac joints and in front by your symphysis pubis joint.
Pain and discomfort can be experienced at the symphysis pubis and the sacroiliac joints. SPD can affect 1 in 5 women. Women who have had previous back pain, injury to the pelvic area or who are hypermobile are more likely to get it. SPD is caused when the pelvic girdle becomes unstable due to your growing baby, weight gain and changes in your posture.
Pain in your lower back, hips, groin, thighs, knees and pubic area. Clicking or grinding of the pelvic girdle. Difficulty turning in bed. Walking, especially on uneven surfaces or long distance become a difficult task. Climbing stairs. Moving knees apart, such as climbing out of a car. Rolling over in bed becomes difficult and painful. Sexual intercourse becomes painful.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. It is recommended to consult with your gynecologist, who will refer you to a physiotherapist. The physiotherapist will look at your posture and assess your hips and thighs to rule out other causes of pelvic pain. You will also be prescribed a pelvic belt to help ease the pain.
How can symptoms be eased
The pain I have is constant, but I have been doing the following to help ease the pain to a point where it is bearable:
I am currently using crutches at work. I try to change position and not sit for longer than 30 minutes at my desk. Sit while getting dressed ad undressed. At the moment its a bit of a struggle to get my underwear and pants on. Do not get me started on boots. Luckily my husband is assisting in that. Try to put equal weight on both legs. At the moment though, I can feel that me left leg is growing weaker by the day, but I try to put weight on both legs. Always try to keep legs together, especially getting in and out of the car. Lie on the less painful side with a pillow between your legs. Avoid heavy lifting. Avoid bending and carrying a toddler on your one hip. This been very difficult to do, because Hudson is very clingy at the moment. I pick him up and put him on the kitchen counter and chat with him and give lots hugs and kisses when he gets clingy. Avoid crossing legs when sitting.
Questions that I frequently get about this condition
Will SPD affect the baby?
No, it does not. It is very painful for me, but the baby will not be harmed.
Will you still be able to have a VBAC?
I have always left this decision in the hands of my gynecologists. I trust his opinion and advice. Most women with SPD are able to have a VBAC.
Do you need to have a C-Section?
Again this is a decision I will make based on the advice and recommendation of my doctor. But there is no evidence that a c-section helps women with SPD.
Will it happen in your next pregnancy?
We are not planning a third pregnancy, but to answer the question, yes, if you have had it previously it is most likely to occur in a follow up pregnancy. You could do some strengthening exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor and abdominal muscles to prevent it in future pregnancies.
Does it go away after giving birth?
In some cases, yes and in others no. My physiotherapist told me that she had a patient that had it 6 months after giving birth,
I find it so frustrating not being able to do the things I want to do around the house. I get tired very easily. Walking the malls, is a definite no-no for me. I have physio sessions twice a week, which really helps. My gynecologist has also prescribed some pain meds, and I only take it when I really can not bear the pain anymore. I hope that the above has given you all some insight into the condition, but most importantly you are not alone.