Symphisis Pubis Dysfunction , PSD, pelvic girdle pain, pelvic pain during pregnancy, hip pain in pregnancy

Surviving Pregnancy with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), or whatever you call it – are not the words you want to hear in pregnancy. It can range anywhere from mild discomfort to crippling pain. When I say crippling I’m talking on crutches crippling.

I remember being asked at a prenatal check-up how I had been, when I explained the symptoms, I was sent to the hospital physio. I happily limped down the corridor full of hope that this man would surely be able to help me. Nope! I was handed crutches and an uncomfortable looking belt and then told there was nothing they could do. Wonderful! Planning my VBAC and having done the GentleBirth Workshop I had my heart set on moving around a lot during labor. If I couldn’t roll over in bed at night, how the hell was I going to get through labor??? I needed help getting into and out of the car, had to wake my other half to help me out of the bed so I could go to the bathroom, and walked with such a limp I’m sure everyone thought the baby was already half out. Thankfully the mindfulness I had learned through GentleBirth helped me refocus my energy from the dread of how I would cope in labor to finding ways to ease this monster.

Here are some things you can do  to help ease the pain of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD):

  • Pillows – Get a good, thick pillow and keep it between your knees while sleeping on your side.
  • Heat – A heat pack that you can throw in the microwave or uncooked rice in a tube sock then heated in the microwave works wonders. I found heat on my lower back felt like heaven. If you can find a wearable heating pad, that’s even better.
  • Rest – If I felt the pain creeping in, I made myself listen to my body and sit down for a bit (which for someone used to never sitting still was a challenge).
  • Position – Pay close attention to the positions you are sitting in. It’s easy to slump on the couch but it can make the pain worse. When possible, sit on a birth ball.
  • Acupuncture – This was the turning point for me. I found an amazing acupuncturist who really knew his stuff. In fact, the tips I’ve written above came from him. In just 3 weeks, I was good as new. I continued to be careful not to aggravate the symphysis pubis dysfunction again and did another couple of acupuncture sessions to be sure.

If you develop SPD, don’t try to wait it out, be proactive and focus on what you do have control over. There are lots of pregnancy forums and mom groups online. Utilize these for encouragement and support. The women in these groups may also have additional tips or ideas to try to ease the pain.

For more information on Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction check out the websites below:

About the Author

Lisa Dowling

Lisa Dowling is the owner and Managing Director of the Positive Birth Agency based in Central Florida. Lisa is the only certified GentleBirth Instructor in the State of Florida. Lisa has two young children, the first of which was a planned homebirth that took the turn of a 32 hour hospital induction and cesarean. She and her partner attended a GentleBirth Workshop with Tracy Donegan-the founder of the program. They came away from the workshop feeling empowered and confident. Lisa went on to have a very positive hospital VBAC with the support of her partner.

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