We all know to expect some pain and aches during pregnancy, it comes part and parcel with growing and carrying a baby inside your body, but there are some unfortunate souls like myself who get to endure a little more pain than the norm.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) entered my life at 20 weeks pregnant and did not exit until after my baby’s birth.
I thankfully had a healthy pregnancy, but the pain and discomfort brought by this condition did leave me drained, tired, unmotivated and of course in pain.
The symptoms for me were back, hip and ass pain and severe stiffness. It is caused by a hormone called relaxin which softens your ligaments to help your baby pass through the pelvis - I obviously had too much of it and my pelvic relaxed and moved too far apart, causing inflammation.
When in pain, you should rest - right? Wrong!
Sitting or lying down in the one position for over 20 minutes, resulted in me looking like a 90 year old - a very stiff 90 year old. (My granny is almost 90 and would jump over you, she is so fit!) Trying to get in or out of bed, get off the seat, or out of the car was near impossible. The joints stiffened and any sudden movement brought intense pain.
Thankfully my doctor recognised the symptoms right away and recommended physiotherapy, I know some doctors can dismiss it, but if you are in pain, do persevere. My doctor had a lot of sympathy for me and told me to follow the physio's instructions to prevent me having to go on to crutches or be put on bed rest in the third trimester.
The physio found that my pelvis was off centre and my left hip had moved out of place. She did several therapies, which hurt at the time, but did ease the pain in general. She also gave some do's and don'ts. I have added to this list some of my own advice and tips.
Most importantly she told me not to push through the pain, which I had been doing and to avoid sitting on couches and to sit on a hardback chair.
Housework left me in agony and driving over an hour a day for work didn’t help either. Pregnancy yoga helped me relax, but some of the stretches did put me in pain.
As I could not go for walks or do any exercise, I put on a stone in weight by the end of the second trimester.
What eases the pain:
- A mixture of rest and exercise. I was told not to sit for more than 20 minutes at a time and to try and walk for 15 minutes.
- Stretches. Some of the yoga stretches and others I saw on YouTube or my physio told me about did help to ease some pain in the evenings
- Physiotherapy. I attended a physio in the hospital about once a fortnight. Although the therapies did hurt during the session, the pain was lessened for a few days after
- Reflexology. I am scared of needles so didn't try acupuncture. I am not sure that reflexology helped to eradicate the pain, but it did help to calm and loosen me up. A calm mind helps everything!
The good news is that after baby was born, my pelvis returned to normal and the pain was gone. Bad news is that I can most likely expect it again if I do get pregnant in the future!
Did you suffer from SPD? And if so what helped you along the way?
Also check out:
Maternity Wear Essentials
Learning a life lesson with pregnancy yoga
The honeymoon of pregnancy: The second trimester