About 32% of pregnant women suffer with a specific pelvic pain called Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). Are you one of them? Doesn’t everything ache and hurt ‘down there’ already?
Here’s how to tell and what you can do about it for better symphysis pubis dysfunction relief.
What Causes Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
On the front of your pelvis is your pubic bone. It’s where the two halves come together and there’s normally a tiny gap between them.
But during pregnancy that gap naturally increases just a smidgen, creating more room for your baby to grow and ultimately pass through when born.
However, some women’s pubic bones separate too far or unevenly, causing the pain and inability to function easily doing certain activities.
Too high of levels of relaxin, or too much made too soon during pregnancy (before 14 weeks), results in such dysfunction.
This is usually caused from another one of your great hormones: relaxin. Often too high of levels of relaxin or too much made too soon during pregnancy (before 14 weeks), results in such dysfunction. Unfortunately, there’s not much that can be done about this.
What Increases Your Risk
You’re probably wondering, “Why the heck do I have it in the first place? Why me?!”
Here are a few reasons why. You don’t have to have any of these apply to you in order for you to still develop SPD either, bummer. But it will make you feel better if you can point at a reason that’s out of your control. 🙂
- excessive body weight during pregnancy
- starting your period before age 11
- having a large baby or twins
- poor posture
- strenuous activities
- history of trauma to the pelvis
Hopefully something here will have applied to you the you can have a little sanity relief knowing the cause. But if not … sorry. Now let’s move forward in helping you figure out how to relieve this pain.
Your Essentials For SPD Relief
- Get a comfortable Leachco Maternity Pillow immediately for better sleep at night. I recommend the Back ‘N Belly or Snoogle pillows.
- Sit at your desk better with Balance Ball Chairs you can adjust more easily.
- Sit and Sigh pillows for sitting, in the bath tub, or on the go.
- Use a foam roller to get the extra kinks out of your spine and hips.
- Wearing pregnancy support belts to lift the pressure off your pubic bone.
Your Symptoms Of SPD
Clearly there’s the pubic pain and anything in the abdomen around your pelvis that hurts. That’s easy. But there are other more distinguishable pains and difficulties that are clear signs of SPD, or that you may not have considered.
1. Increased Pain When Lifting Your Legs
Say you’re trying to get in your car, or are just walking up the stairs, and your public bone feels like someone is trying to drive a wedge through it as you lift a leg.
What’s happening is that your pelvis and other leg are taking all of the weight and shifting your balance to the side. Well, when one side of your pubic bone is pulled one direction and the other side isn’t, it’s going to scream at you.
2. Hard Time Moving Your Lower Body To Get Out Of Bed
Same reason as before: you’re not in a position where you can easily balance your weight evenly on your legs or butt, resulting in the completely desire to just lay there to avoid the pain.
3. Worsening Pain When Rolling Over
Again, same reason. BUT, even if you DON’T have SPD, rolling over can always be difficult during pregnancy. Moving that mountain of a belly takes a ton of effort even without the discomfort.
This is a fancy word for nerve pain that starts at your pelvis and runs on the inside and down the back of your upper legs. There’s a HUGE bundle of nerves that run through there from the spine. And when it’s squished from something being off, it gives you even more bothersome pain to deal with.
5. Clicking Sound Near Your Pelvis
Like your knuckles, or any joint for that matter, gas and fluids can build up causing clicking sounds when the pressure is released from certain movements. It’s like when people crack their knuckles all the time.
My knees do it every time I go down the stairs or when I squat. There’s usually no pain associated with this symptom. But I guess if you’re ‘cracking’ loud enough in public, it can be embarrassing.
Still not sure if you have SPD? Your doctor or midwife can order an ultrasound where they can get images your pubic bone and measure the gap to see if your spacing is normal or not. But I think most women clearly know they have SPD by just going through their day and noting when the pain is worst.
Now For Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Relief
Your doctor will say, “Get some rest.” Yah, like you didn’t know that would already help, just like EVERY other symptom you’re dealing with.
But the NICE thing is that you can do A LOT of things to help you feel better and even strengthen your pelvic area to reduce or possibly eliminate the symptoms.
|lay on your side instead of your back||It puts the pressure onto your belly instead of your pelvis and back–and trust me, your belly can take much more than you think. Use a maternity pillow for better support.|
|hold your knees together when moving certain ways||So when you’re getting into the car, turn and sit down, then rotate both legs together into the car–instead of entering with one leg first. Keeping your legs closer together when muscles are working reduces the pressure and strain on the pubic bone.
This ONLY applies to when you’re moving.**I don’t recommend that you do this when you’re just sitting down. You should STILL sit tailor-style as often as possible when sitting because it also takes pressure off your painful areas.
|use pillows to support your lower back when sitting||As I sit at my desk right now, on my Balance Ball Chair, I have a pillow behind me. After awhile, your lower back just needs a break when sitting, even when you’re sitting the right way.
Some fantastic support pillows designed for SPD are made by Sit and Sigh that you can get for added support and and comfortable relief while sitting:
|forget heels||You need to hide these in your closet when you’re pregnant. Don’t even THINK about putting them on, even if they’re still comfortable for you.
Your body was NOT designed to walk in heels. So it doesn’t have the time or effort capable to deal with the added strain all the way up your body if you choose to wear them.
|never cross one leg over the other when sitting||Back to my point about properly sitting….|
|don’t ride a bike||What bones are taking the brunt when you ride a bike? Sure, let’s add to the pain level from not seeing that pothole in front our wheel.|
|avoid jumping or jarring activities||You don’t want to do these anyway during pregnancy. (There are other activities you shouldn’t participate in you should know about too.)|
|roll over the right way||Instead of using your back, abs and legs to try and roll over in your sleep, do it the way I describe in this pregnancy roll-over post.|
|ice pack it||This reduces the inflammation pain surrounding all those tissues and junctures. Don’t leave it on for more than 15 minutes or so at a time, but doing so multiple times a day can really help.|
|chiropractic care & acupuncture||Your chiropractor will ensure that every bone in your body is where is should be, to the best of his ability. When things get a little push into the right place, relief can happen instantly.|
|proper posture||Use a foam roller on your back to help loosen the strain on your spine.|
|pelvic support belts||These can provide instant relief and you can often wear them at night too. However, it’s not always a win-win with these. Some mothers report that these do not help. But it’s worth a shot for any relief.|
|strengthening the pelvic floor muscles||**This is the KEY to helping your SPD best. When your muscles are holding all your parts together correctly because they’re strong enough to do so (it’s what they’re made for, honestly), it can greatly reduce or eliminate your pain continually.|
How To Strengthen The Pelvic Floor
This is SO important for any pregnant mommy no matter what her situation. I FOCUS on my pelvic floor when I exercise because I know the value of it.
You need to do these things to keep your pelvic floor strong:
- Pelvic Tilts/Hip Thrusters
All of these are explained in this post. Do these DAILY and your butt, back, belly and bones will thank you.
Will Your Pain and SPD Ever Go Away?
YES!! After your baby is born, your body stops producing such high levels of relaxin and your pubic bone (as well as everything else) can shrink back down to normal. You can do things to assist with that too, such as exercise.
I hope your SPD doesn’t escalate and doesn’t come back with your next pregnancy either. But an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Will you be able to have your natural baby birth with SPD?
YES!! Don’t let it deter you. It is not a factor of risk when it comes to have your baby naturally or not. It’s just really a huge inconvenience why you’re pregnant. Just note that while you’re in labor, you’ll likely be most comfortable laboring on your side or on all fours.
Let me know how you’re feeling and what works for you in order to keep functioning. What have you done to help your pubis be happy? Please let us know because you’re not the only one going through this alone. And your tips just may help another mother. 🙂
- Natural Pregnancy Essentials
- Pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction management and postpartum rehabilitation: two case reports, The Journal Of Canadian Chiropractic Association
- 25 Pain Relief Tips For SPD, PGP, Pelvic & Sciatic Nerve Pain in Pregnancy, Trimester Talk
- Pelvic Pain In Pregnancy (SPD), Baby Centre
- How To Relax During Childbirth: 3 Simple Ways To Ease Tension & Enhance Joy