Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), sometimes called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) is unfortunately quite common in pregnancy to varying degrees. It occurs in pregnancy due to the release of a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments. This remarkable hormone enables your pelvis to open up so that your baby can be delivered. Unfortunately, it sometimes causes the pelvic joints to move around, separate too much and become inflamed, which can be very painful. Some women have mild SPD, but in many cases it will be very painful. Your exercise programme will depend on how bad your SPD is and I would suggest in the first instance to talk to your GP or midwife to see if they can give you an idea of how active you can safely be.
If your SPD is relatively mild and you are able to continue with an exercise programme, here are some tips to help manage it and some ideas about what to do and what to avoid:
- Keep up regular pelvic floor and core exercises (PF squeezes and ab squeezes – instructions posted!)
- A pelvic support band may help
- Do not push through pain, stop if anything hurts
- Exercise little and often, not for long periods. Try walking and light resistance training
- Avoid breast stroke if you go swimming
- Sit on a birth ball whenever you can as it will keep your pelvis in a nice neutral position
- Avoid heavy lifting and pulling
- Avoid too much twisting of the body
- Avoid standing on one leg or any unbalanced movements
- Avoid activities with a wide-leg stance. Keep you feet together and weight balanced whenever possible
- Pilates may help after the birth
- It can help to wear a supportive top – the FittaMamma Sports Support top has a really firm band at the bottom that fits snugly round your hips and pelvis and lifts the weight of the baby onto your back and shoulders.
In summary, if your SPD is severe you should exercise with extreme caution. Whatever degree you suffer try and keep up those all important daily pelvic floor and core stability moves and stay as active as you can in daily life. This will hopefully prevent leaving you with any long-lasting effects after you have had your baby and you can get back to full strength and happy exercising nice and quickly!