Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)
When I was round 20 weeks pregnant with my third baby, the niggle in my pelvis that was leading to some sciatica and that stopped around 25weeks with my previous pregnancies, suddenly escalated.
The pain became unbearable and I remember sobbing into my husbands arms as I thought “how can I carry on in this much pain”, I still had 4 months to go!!
I was very aware of things I ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be doing, but when you have other small children that need lifting for the toilet or helping up the stairs, some of those ‘should not’s’ become a necessity. Plus with all the will in the world, sometimes you just can’t stop these things from happening.
There were many exercises that helped tremendously, but it became apparent I needed more than the exercises to get me through the rest of the pregnancy. I saw a wonderful osteopath who specialises in treating women during and after their pregnancies and she enabled me to continue my pregnancy in much less pain and ‘fixed’ me!
So what is Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD)?
PGP is essentially due to the hormone Relaxin stretching your ligaments to make room for your growing uterus. Much of the time the pain eases and does not cause too much of a severe issue if it is managed well. It is not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around. Symptoms will vary and PGP is worse for some women than others.
Symptoms can include:
• pain over the pubic bone at the front in the centre
• pain across one or both sides of your lower back
• pain in the area between your vagina and anus (perineum)
• pain can also radiate to your thighs, and some women feel or hear a clicking or grinding in the pelvic area
The pain can be most noticeable when you are:
• walking or going upstairs
• standing on one leg (for example, when you’re getting dressed or going upstairs
• turning over in bed
• It can also be difficult to move your legs apart – for example, when you get out of a car
What can I do to prevent / ease the pain?
· Do everything in neutral
· Don’t cross your legs
· Wear sensible footwear
· Keep your legs together when getting in and out the car / bed
· Try to not slouch on the sofa / sitting in the car
· Do gentle stretches and strengthening exercises of the hip joint and core to support the pelvis
If it becomes extremely uncomfortable then I would recommend seeing an Osteopath, whom, alongside your Pilates exercises, should help alleviate most of the pain.
Whatever you do, don't suffer in silence! You should never be written off to a wheelchair or crutches….it should NEVER have to reach that point. Get seen too and get help.