SPD and Pelvic Girdle Pain in pregnancy – what you can do

SPD and pelvic girdle pain are both common in pregnancy and can be excruciatingly painful. I say this not to be negative, but because I want to acknowledge how freaking painful this type of pain can be. For some women, SPD makes even walking unbearable.

If this is currently you, here are some things that you can do to manage SPD and stay on top of it during your pregnancy.

What is SPD or pelvic girdle pain?

SPD (symphysis pubis disfunction) or pelvic girdle pain is an instability in the pelvic joints that is often felt as a dull ache or shooting pain in the vagina, the front of the pelvis, across the belly or down the inside of the thighs.

This condition is very common during pregnancy as the ligaments that hold the pelvic bones together relax to allow a widening for the baby to grow and space for the baby to pass through during birth.

How do I know if I’ve got SPD or pelvic girdle pain?

+ you experience pain in any of these areas: the pubic bone, groin, hips, inside the thighs, across the belly, in one or both buttocks

+ it feels worse when you first take a step after sitting for long periods of time

+ rolling over in bed aggravates the pain

+ you feel like you’re waddling when you walk

+ you may (or may not) hear a clicking or grinding noise when you move your hips

What can you do to reduce SPD or pelvic girdle pain?

+ See a physio who can accurately diagnose this condition and give you specific exercise recommendations for your body

+ Wear a support belt – when SPD pain flares up a support belt can help to keep your pelvis supported and reduce pain.

+ Don’t take your legs wider than your shoulders – avoid taking your legs wide as this can make your pelvis even more unstable. Try to roll over in bed with the legs together and avoid any exercises that require wide legs.

SPD pelvic girdle pain

+ Strengthen the pelvic floor – the pelvic floor muscles work to support the pelvis so strengthening them can help to improve stability.

+ Use pillows for support – try sleeping on your side with a pillow between the knees and under the belly. Using a small pillow behind the back when you’re sitting in the car or on the couch can also help to keep the pelvis in a good position and reduce pain.

+ Avoid wearing heels – seriously, just no. I really hope that if you’re pregnant and experiencing SPD you’re not still putting yourself through the torture that is heels, but just in case you are, it’s time to put them away.

+ Avoid crossing your legs – try to keep your pelvis in line and straight whenever possible.

+ Avoid any heavy lifting or exercise that puts strain on the pelvis – this might be hard to avoid if you’ve got other children who still ask to be carried, but where possible try not to lift anything where you feel yourself bracing to lift.

When will SPD heal completely?

Many women find that after birth the pain of SPD decreases or stops entirely. Some women will need to continue strengthening the muscles around the pelvis to completely heal SPD. In this case working with a physio is best to ensure you are doing the right exercises for you.

Unfortunately for many women who experience SPD during pregnancy, they will also suffer from it during in following pregnancies as well.

However, if you’re away of your pelvic instability and continue working with the right exercises to support the pelvis during pregnancy you can avoid the painful flare ups.

If you’re experiencing SPD check out the two videos below. The first explains more about what SPD is and what do avoid when you’ve got it. The second are some yoga exercises to help reduce pain and strengthen the muscles that support the pelvis.

Want to learn more about practicing yoga safely throughout the three trimesters? Download my free guide here.

Want more yoga for pregnancy and birth? Start your free 30 day trial of my Online Yoga Circle membership here.

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