pelvic pain is common during pregnancy. We will help you understand what it is and how you can ease the pain!
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is one type of pelvic girdle pain (PGP) and it occurs when your ligaments that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned become too relaxed and stretchy. When delivery is near, your pelvic area is supposed to do that but if you have SPD it happens premature. When pregnant your body produces the hormone relaxin which softens your ligaments and prepares for your baby to pass through your pelvis.
So what are the symptoms associated with SPD? You experience wrenching pain when walking or climbing stairs. Getting in and out of the car and turning over in bed might also be painful. Most women experience pain that is concentrated to the pelvic area but for some women it radiates to the upper thigh, and back. You are more likely to develop SPD if you have had pelvic girdle pain in a previous pregnancy; you have experienced pelvic girdle pain before pregnancy; you have a high BMI and were overweight before pregnancy or if you´ve had a previous injury to your pelvis. Studies show that women with SPD experience a lower quality of life and I therefore always take the time to really listen to what you are experiencing and what I can do to help.
There are a few things that I recommend you try to ease the discomfort.
- · Use a pelvic support belt which helps to keep your pelvic bones in place.
- · Avoid triggers such as heavy lifting.
- · See a physiotherapist who can teach you relaxation exercises and how to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and relieve your pain.
- · Use a pillow to support your lower back when you are sitting.
- · Lie on your side instead of your back, this puts pressure on your belly instead of your pelvis. Put a maternity pillow between your knees and lie with your legs bent.
- · Rest regularly and sit down for activities you would normally do standing such as getting dressed or ironing.
- · When climbing stairs, take one step at a time and step up onto one step and then bring your other leg to meet it.
- · My final advice is not to be too hard on yourself! Listen to your body, do everything in your pace and forget about those heels for a while.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction almost always disappears after the baby is born and relaxin production ceases. If you get pregnant again it will be more likely that you will experience SPD, if that is the case my advice is to start seeing a physiotherapist early on.
Stendal Robinson, P., Prasad Balasundaram, A., Kopke Vollestad, N., Stendal Robinson, H. (2018) The association between pregnancy, pelvic girdle pain and health-related quality of life – a comparison of two instruments. Journal of patient-reported outcome, 45, 209-15.
Lindgren, H., Christensson, K., Dykes, A-K. (2016).Reproductive health- a midwife´s area of expertise.Lund: Student literature
Hagberg, H. Marsal, K. Westergren, M. (2014). Obstetrics.Lund: Student literature