Symphysis pubic dysfunction also known as pelvic girdle pain can be one of the most uncomfortable complications during pregnancy.
You may have problems walking, sitting, sleeping, crouching, bending, squatting or practically do anything without your pelvis feeling like its going to give way. I found SPD to be so painful! Its not known if it does occur again in other pregnancies but there are a lot of ladies that have had it in all of their pregnancies.
SPD effects 1 in 4 pregnant ladies. It apparently occurs in late pregnancy but I was diagnosed at 20 weeks, I knew something was not quite right at 16 weeks pregnant.
My symptoms were extreme and the pain was horrific. My symptoms started off with pain through the night. I was unable to sleep lying down. I had dead legs and pain in the hip area. I would wake up screaming if I was to lie down flat, I found it easier to sleep sitting up.
Every time I mentioned to the midwife I thought something was wrong she said it was aches and pains of pregnancy. I felt there was no support for me and I had to go away and deal with it on my own. The other symptoms I had were pain in the pubic area, lower back, hips and thighs. When diagnosed I was told I had SPD due to conceiving so soon after having a miscarriage (6 weeks, so I did wait until a period then started trying again). Maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. I don't know if it had anything to do with the relaxin hormone as still now suffer from SPD when on my period and my son is 3 years old.
The Relaxin's Job is to open up the joint at the front of the pelvis, enough to allow your baby to be born. I was told that my gap had opened up too far and that was why I was suffering from extremely painful symptoms of SPD. The next symptoms I developed were pain when walking and excruciating pain when doing anything requiring standing on one leg, such as walking up the stairs. I was advised by the hospital to avoid standing on one leg at all cost, for example to sit down to get dressed and to go up and down stairs on my bum.
I was on crutches from 28 weeks and was given a tubigrip from the hospital to help support my pelvis and take some pressure off but I found this didn’t really help. I also tried all of the belts on the market but because I was so big nothing helped to take the pressure off the pelvis.
Having suffered from severe SPD through the majority of my pregnancy I was eventually bed ridden by 35 weeks, I was unable to move without help from somebody. I was eventually induced at 39 weeks after numerous appointments to see the consultant. It took me to write down 4 A4 Pages of notes on why they should induce me. I don’t think the doctor had ever seen anything like it before. I like to be heard and certainly will stand up for what I believe is right.
The labour went well, I was induced on the Monday morning at 10.30am but nothing happened, no twinges or signs of labour then all of a sudden at 3:00am the next morning my waters broke. I waited until I was uncomfortable before calling a nurse which was at 5:30am. The nurse did an internal and told me I was 4cm dilated. I called my husband and was sent down to delivery. I was suffering more with my hips and SPD. I tried to give birth on my left side with an instrument holding my right leg high enough to see what was going on. The baby started showing signs of distress and I was told to turn onto my right side. The pain was worse in my hips and therefore was put on my back which was what I was trying to avoid as I knew this would be the worst position for my SPD. I eventually gave birth to my little boy at 11:00am. I can honestly say I would rather go through childbirth than SPD ever again. Unless you have gone through SPD yourself I don't think you can ever understand how bad it is.
I thought the SPD had gone straight away after giving birth to my son as I managed to walk to the bathroom by myself. I wasn't free from SPD at all as I had the 2 weeks of pain not even being able to walk. If I had to walk in the house I had to turn my body from side to side and very slowly and would do this in tears. I couldn't move my legs as in step by step. Then one day, 4 weeks after having my baby I went to bed one night and woke up the next day 50% better! Why? I really don’t know why. I was told the SPD would stay around longer because I was breast feeding. I breast fed now for 6 months and still have the soreness in the pubic area at that time of the month. I have the joint pain in my hips probably a week out of a month.
If you think you may be suffering from SPD you should talk to your midwife or GP as soon as possible. While there is no treatment, maybe a physio will offer you a tubigrip or maternity belt, a lot can be done to minimise any pain you may have.
If you think you may have SPD or you just want some help and support please contact me below.