SPD in pregnancy

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.

Causes

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.

My experience

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!

Jess x

20 Comments

  • […] 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. […]

  • Rachelswirl
    7th May 2016 at 10:16 pm Reply

    I remember being around 21 weeks pregnant with my first child. My
    Husband and I went to an antenatal day together, whilst there we saw this lady on crutches. I commented on what a bad time it must be to have an injury, she explained it was SPD. Later in the car my husband and I spoke about how bloody lucky we were that we had avoided that… Two weeks later I was in severe pain and could barely walk. I could no longer roll over in bed and when I did move you could physically hear cracking from my pelvis. I was told to stop working immediately and was given crutches to use AT ALL TIMES. I didn’t really take it seriously and went shopping with my mother…
    One hour in and my mum had to get the car to the shop door to collect me. I was in agony. I was then warned how bloody serious it can be and to start resting. The words “permanent” and “disabled” were mentioned and I tried to take it easy from there on…
    By the time I had my son (at 42 weeks!?) I was unable to walk hardly at all as it was so bad. As soon as I’d had him though it disappeared (thank god).

    Fast forward four years and I fell pregnant again. I was worried about SPD and hoped it might all be different, It was… Rather than 21 weeks onwards I was only 12 weeks when SPD struck. I was put onto crutches and signed up for physio. Physio helped slightly but he even told me it was no use the damage was done.
    I used a pregnancy pillow each night and literally cried myself to sleep in pain at times.
    The creaking and cracking was even worse this time around and I knew then … No more children.
    After having our second I expected the SPD to go… It didn’t!
    I was in pain for a long time in my joints of my pelvis and even now nearly three years later occasionally find that my pelvis and legs feel weak and I have to sit down.

    I am luckier than some, a friend of a friend is in a wheelchair for life because of SPD. At least I only suffer mildly these days. My point is though, this is a serious condition that needs to be taken as such xxx

    Rest rest rest!!!!

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:38 pm Reply

      Oh god you really had it awful didn’t you Rachel; that sounds horrendous! The creaking for me was really minor and made me cringe so much so I can’t imagine having it to that extend and having to be on crutches! Your poor friend in the wheelchair too; it really shows how much strain pregnancy puts on our bodies doesn’t it?

      Mines eased up a lot but I’m still really mindful of carrying Jasper as little as possible and when I do he goes on my shoulders instead of on one side of me. I’m also taking it so easy with how I sit and sleep and just going for gentle walks as I actually find being less active makes me cease up a bit and it feels worse.

  • Ness
    8th May 2016 at 7:59 am Reply

    I had never heard of this condition until my second pregnancy and was so thankfully I never suffered from it. Pregnancy and looking after other children is hard enough anyway!

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:29 pm Reply

      It certainly is enough without all the nasty symptoms on the side. You’re really lucky you never suffered from it; to be fair mine is easing off now; I’ve been practising what I preach which helps 🙂

  • Otilia - @goldsprinkless
    8th May 2016 at 3:58 pm Reply

    Yes. I suffered from it in my first pregnancy and it was awful. Great advice here!

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:30 pm Reply

      Thanks my love; it’s horrible isn’t it?! That’s good you only had it in your first pregnancy as it’s more common in your next

  • Jen Walshaw
    8th May 2016 at 10:11 pm Reply

    I am so lucky that I never suffered this. I had hyperemesis instead!

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:28 pm Reply

      oh god I don’t envy you at all, I’d much rather SPD, I’m the worst at being sick, I’m so loud and swear I wretch so hard I pull muscles in my stomach, you poor thing!

  • Hannah Budding Smiles
    9th May 2016 at 3:01 am Reply

    SPD sucks! I really suffered in Martha’s pregnancy, to the point I sometimes needed crutches and I felt like such a bad mum to Toby. The Good thing was as soon as Martha started to engage, the pain quite miraculously disappeared! I hope yours eases for you xx

  • Kara Guppy
    9th May 2016 at 8:44 am Reply

    I am really lucky I never suffered with this but I did have the girdle pain you describe and oh, my back was awful. Hope you don’t suffer too badly as baby gets bigger xx

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:34 pm Reply

      It’s actually really eased of Kara which is great! I think a combination of yoga, my pregnancy pillow and being more mindful of how I carry Jasper. Baby boy has probably moved positions slightly too which has helped 🙂

      Ahh PGP is a pain! Hope you didn’t suffer too badly from it!

  • Michelle Twin Mum
    9th May 2016 at 8:55 pm Reply

    I’m so glad this was one pregnancy ailment that I didn’t suffer with. I had a number of friend swho did though and it looked torture. Mich x

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:32 pm Reply

      Ahh yes it’ lucky you didn’t; did you suffer from many other symptoms Michelle? This has been my most prominent one thankfully, I just had the odd bit of feeling sick and being overly thirsty as well but those are much easier to handle haha

  • Karen Langridge
    10th May 2016 at 12:28 pm Reply

    Sounds really uncomfortable and painful, I think I must have been very lucky as both my pregnancies were quite uncomplicated, so didn’t experience anything like that x

    • Jessica
      10th May 2016 at 1:34 pm Reply

      Ahh that is lucky! My first pregnancy was a breeze compared to this one but I guess its bound to be harder with a 2 year old to run after as well haha

  • Cass Bailey
    12th May 2016 at 7:24 am Reply

    I had two very easy pregnancies and even then I wasn’t a fan of actually being pregnant if you know what I mean. I can’t imagine how hard it must be when it’s not straightforward x

    • Jessica
      3rd June 2016 at 8:18 pm Reply

      I go through phases, at the moment I’m loving this pregnancy but I think it’s because it’ll probably be my last

  • Lilypod and Sweetpea | Mum fitness
    4th June 2016 at 11:00 pm Reply

    […] also been fab for my SPD and back pains and to help strengthen the right muscles for […]

  • […] the most part, stuck around! If you’re not familiar with what SPD is or want to know more on my experience with it then click here; and if you’re all up to date or simply want to know how it’s affected me postpartum […]

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Hi I’m Jess, Single Mum, Accredited Life Coach, NLP Practitioner and Beauty Business owner.

I chat about all thing female empowerment, spirituality and positivity

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