Those of you that have been following my pregnancy updates so far will know that I’ve been suffering with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) since around week 19. It’s not something that I had with my first pregnancy, although I did get the occasional bout of Sciatica and PGP (Pelvic Girdle Pain); so it’s something I’ve been really researching and learning a lot about.
Here’s what you need to know about SPD:
‘SPD is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis, either anterior or lateral, as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis.’
This basically means that your Symphysis Pubis (the joint at which your pubic bones meet at the front of your pelvis) has become less stable. The joint connection is made of a dense network of strong tissues called a ligament, and it’s very common during pregnancy for pain and swelling to cause this joint to become less stable, causing SPD.
You may have heard of it being called by PGP and that’s because doctors and physiotherapists group any kind of pelvic pain including Diastasis Symphysis Pubis (DSP) together as Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). There is a distinction between the two though, DSP is where the gap in the joint widens too far and is much rarer than SPD.
During pregnancy your body produces a hormone called relaxin which naturally softens your ligaments ready for birth, to make it easier for your little one to pass through your pelvis. This extra flexibility doesn’t normally cause SPD as our nerves and muscles should naturally adapt. However SPD can be triggered by a number of factors such as the joints moving unevenly, changes in how your muscles work to support your joints and one pelvic joint not working properly causing a knock on effect to the other joints in the pelvis.
You’re more likely to suffer from it if you’ve had it with previous pregnancies, had an injury to your pelvis, have a high BMI or suffer from hypermobility. I don’t tick any of these boxes however it can also happen if you have your children quite close between. Jasper was around 19 months old when I fell pregnant this time around so my body hadn’t been given much of a chance to firm back up.
In terms of how it affects me, it pretty much just feels like I’ve been kicked right between the legs! Think an over-enthusiastic session on the abductor at the gym – or any other kind of thing that could cause that area to feel a bit sore if you know what I mean!
Occasionally my pelvis will be a bit creaky and stiff but for the most part it just feels really sore and achey.
I’m most affected by this at night time and in the morning. At night I think it’s because I’ve been so busy and rushing around on my feet all day that when I take the time to lay down my whole body kind of over-relaxes and getting back up off the bed to go for a wee or brush my teeth is pretty tough. That’s why if I’m planning on doing work in bed before I sleep I make sure I take my water, phone, and everything I’ll need with me and make sure to take off my make up, brush my teeth and have a wee before I lay down to avoid needing to get back up.
During the night, rolling over or even just shifting in the bed is pretty painful and the mornings are I’d say the worst – needing about a 10 point turn just to get to sitting. It then takes a while to ‘walk it off’ and straighten up.
I do get bouts of the pains during the day. If I’ve been driving for a while or sitting down to play with Jasper or with a friend for a cuppa it hits me when I then get moving again; but this is on and off; its the night and morning times that are consistently painful.
I’d definitely say for me sitting or laying for too long makes it worse (not great when sleeping and working at a desk involved just that). Another thing that makes it worse is uneven weight bearing. I always carry Jasper on my right hip, I think because I’m left handed so it allows me to use my left arm for opening doors and doing pretty much everything else.
I also have terrible posture, always leaning over like a question mark and rarely straightening up. This also causes lower and upper back ache – it’s a pretty lousy combination!
As it’s hit me pretty hard this pregnancy, I’ve set aside so much time to finding the best solutions. If you’d like to know the best ways to relieve SPD and which methods I’m trying then check out my follow up post – SPD tips and tricks!
Have you had any experience with SPD or other forms of PGP?
Thanks for reading!