I’ve been suffering from SPD since around week 19 of my pregnancy. It started off pretty mild but every week when giving my weekly updates I’ve found myself talking about how much worse it has gotten.
Unfortunately with SPD there isn’t any ‘one size fits all’ cure; in fact it’s more about avoiding and relieving rather than actually getting rid of it.
With every case of SPD varying in severity, some people find a few simple lifestyle changes enough whereas others with not so mild forms of SPD may require quite a mixture of treatments and products to be relieved – it really does depend on the persons body and lifestyle.
For me personally, my SPD started very mild and I do have days where I simply need to adjust the way I position myself to feel okay; other days however, I need to adapt how I walk, carry things and get out of bed; as well as needing to introduce exercises and products just to feel comfortable.
Here are 21 ways you can relieve SPD, some of which I swear by and others I’m yet to need to use:
Pregnancy pillow – As my SPD is mainly painful at night time and when I first wake up, I find making my sleep position more comfortable really beneficial. Sleeping on your side with your top leg elevated gives your hip the optimum angle. You don’t need to go out and buy a pregnancy specific pillow, you can simply pop a normal pillow or rolled up towel between your legs; but I do find my pregnancy pillow super comfortable, especially as I can wrap it around my whole body, supporting my upper back, lower back and neck at the same time!
Posture – Keep an eye on that posture; something we should drill into ourselves regardless of whether we suffer from SPD. Straighten up, lengthen the spine and ease that pain! Make it a habit to be conscious of it and it’ll soon become routine.
Even your weight distribution –I don’t mean shift a few pounds from one hip to the left; I simply mean make sure you’re sitting straight, not with one leg under the other. Don’t stand leaning to one side resting on your hip, keep an even balance. Also when carrying things like small children and shopping bags, either pop them on your back, shoulders, use a carrier or try to switch sides regularly to avoid constantly bending one way.
No hoovering – Okay this may be a little extreme but try to limit your repetitive movements and yes that does include hoovering! If you can, opt for a cleaner or designate chores around the house. This goes for mopping too, oh and dusting (can we get away with that one?).
Take a load off – Limit the weight of what you’re carrying. Check your bag to make sure you’re not carrying around unnecessary items (no you don’t need three different perfumes and two drinks bottles for one day). If you’re going shopping then think about using a trolley even just for a mini food shop ( this will help with evening that weight distribution too); and try to encourage your little one to walk as much as they can – this will also wear them out for bed time – result!
Don’t sit for too long – If you work at a desk try to take regular breaks to stretch out have a little stroll. If you do feel more comfortable sitting simply try to shift your weight and re-adjust yourself into an optimum position; regularly checking for slouching or uneven weight distribution
Release your inner yogi – I swear by this! Don’t go crazy heading straight into Bikram heat yoga at 20 weeks pregnant, start with a prenatal class or even find a pregnancy specific video online. Listen to your body and your instructor and take the best bits to practise at home. Not only will you find ways to stretch and ease your pains but you’ll be able to relax, breathe into a calm state and really bond with your baby.
Physio – this has been recommended to me but so far I haven’t needed to use it. I’m one of those ‘won’t take tablets till i need to’ kind of gals so I like to find ways to help myself first. However this is widely recommended; find a professional (you can see someone for free on the NHS), have a proper assessment finding out your exact needs and learn some exercises and tips to practise at home. Whether you need 10 sessions or just the one to get the ‘homework’ to take away with you, it’s definitely worth looking into!
Support belt – A product widely recommended to me by a lot of SPD sufferers. It’s a support belt made from tough material with minimal stretchable qualities, which means you get maximum compression and bone stability, while still allowing a range of movements. You can get some that go above and below the bump, others that go between your legs and some that simply cover the bump – all depending on your needs, so it’s worth having a browse.
Get silky – Wearing silky pyjamas and having silky sheets can make it so much easier to slide in and out of bed, eliminating the need for that ten point turn! I’ve also been recommended the snoozle, a silky on the inside and soft on the outside tube that covers only your half of the bed (ideal for partners that don’t fancy silky sheets). You lay inside of it and simply slide to turn over rather than using painful muscles unnecessarily.
Keep those legs closed – holding your legs together to get out of bed and the car helps you to avoid pain of movement. It also allows you to squeeze your knees together rather than down and into the seat/bed which often hurts more.
Sit down for certain activities – Getting dressed, putting on your shoes, shaving your legs – try to sit down if possible to do these. It’ll avoid you lifting your legs up too far which can not only cause pain but sometimes result in a popping sensation – yes I thought I’d dislocated my hip in the shower – ouch!
Practise those pelvic floor exercises – This is such an important one for all women whether suffering from SPD or not; even if you’re not pregnant. Practise it while driving, cooking, eating … anytime. You can’t do it too much and it’ll help to strengthen those muscles and avoid worsening or developing SPD. P.s. did you know men should also practise pelvic floor exercises – yep, ladies tell your men!
Magnesium – Magnesium deficiency is one of the major causes of muscle and physical pains during pregnancy. Drinking Milk of Magnesia or bathing in Epsom Salts can help to raise magnesium levels; which also helps to relieve morning sickness – result!
Crutches – If walking becomes too painful, you may be recommended to use crutches. Don’t take it upon yourself to just start using them though as without proper guidance you may cause yourself more harm then good. If you feel like walking is too painful then make an appointment to see your doctor or physio and see what they recommend. They’ll let you know if you need crutches, as well as how and when to use them.
Flat shoes – I’m sorry ladies, I know heels are our kryptonite but they really do no good for SPD and should be avoided when you’re suffering. Try to stick to comfortable flats that are easy to walk in – you’ll thank me later I promise
Hot water bottle – Using a hot water bottle or heat pad can help to relieve your pain, just make sure that it’s not too hot for your skin! If you want something a little more flexible that you can wrap around yourself or between your legs I’d really recommend you try a Wheat Bag. They heat up quickly in the microwave, smell delicious, can be wrapped around you and are super cosy for cold nights! These are also fab for upper back pain, lower back pain and even neck pains!
Swimming – If like me you’re a water baby, being submerged can give you a wonderful weightless feeling; taking away the pressure and often giving a really instant natural pain relief. It is wonderful to simply float in the water or hold on to the side gently kicking your legs however if you’re looking to burn a few calories and want to swim my only advice would be to try to avoid breaststroke as this can be very painful compared to other strokes.
Shower vs Bath – It is recommended to shower so as to avoid laying on a hard surface and having to get in and out of the bath. I do agree to an extent as even though I feel weightless and more comfortable in the bath, it does hit me when I have to get out and suddenly feel my weight, and the pressure. But if you’re able to manoeuvre in and out with ease, and have a towel or bath pillow you could lay on, I’d personally recommend sticking to a relaxing bath!
Tens Machine – This isn’t just for labour. If you’re feeling the pain, and paracetamol just isn’t cutting it, you can use a Tens machine to ease your SPD. This’ll also prep you for being a pro at using it during labour!
Water birth – If you’re still suffering from SPD at the time of labour then why not opt for a water birth – Al of the benefits of being in water can really ease your pain and make SPD one less thing to contend with while pushing out that tiny human!
Well I hope you found these tips useful. These are just the ones I’ve found have worked for myself so far, or that I’ve compiled from hours of internet searches. If you have any other tips please do add them in the comments below; or if you’ve tried any of these and have advice on particular products to go for or avoid I’d love to know! It’s also great for other readers to know as I’m sure there are so many more out there than I’ve included.
If you’d like to know more about my experience with SPD, and a little on what causes it and it’s symptoms then please do check out my previous post – SPD – My experience so far.
Thanks for reading guys!