SPD in pregnancy can be painful but here are some pregnancy workouts with easy exercises that can help with the pain
What is SPD?
What does SPD stand for? If you had to guess you’d probably go for Severe Pelvic Discomfort but it actually stands for symphysis pubis dysfunction – so not surprising that it is more commonly known by its initials! It’s sometimes referred to as pelvic girdle pain.
So what is it?
The symphysis pubis is the joint that connects the two halves of your pelvis, which is strengthened by a network of tough ligaments. To help your baby pass through your pelvis during birth your body produces a hormone during pregnancy called relaxin which softens the ligaments and allows the joints to move. The average gap between the bones is around 4-5mm but this increases during pregnancy by 2 or 3mm although it isn’t the size of the gap that causes the pain.
It’s generally thought that SPD in pregnancy is caused by a combination of the hormone softening your ligaments and the way your body moves. If one side of your pelvis moves differently to the other the area around the symphysis pubis can become painful.
What are the symptoms of SPD?
A lot of women simply experience what can be described as‘pelvis pain’ with varying levels of discomfort around the pubic and groin area. The pain can radiate from your pubic bone to your lower back and thighs and can be especially noticeable when you’re walking, climbing stairs, or even simply turning over in bed.
Common symptoms of SPD include:
Pain down the inside of your thighs or in between your legs
Pain at night which can affect your sleep
Back ache or pain in your hips
Clicking, grinding or popping of the lower back and hip joints
Is there anything to help alleviate SPD?
- Make sure you keep up regular pelvic floor exercises
- Maintain yourcore abdominal exercises
- Do not push through pain, stop if anything hurts
- Exercise little and often, not for long periods, trywalkingandlight resistance training
- Sit on a birth ball whenever you can as it will keep your pelvis in a nice neutral position
- Be aware that twisting your body or any movement where your legs move out sideways can exacerbate the condition, even getting out of a car or climbing up and down stairs
- Avoid standing on one leg or any unbalanced movements
- Avoid activities with a wide-leg stance. Keep your feet together and weight balanced whenever possible
- Avoid heavy lifting and pulling
- Pregnancy yoga or Pilates can help, but make sure you tell your instructor that you have SPD
- Swimming can make you feel good but take extra care to make sure you don’t kick your legs out sideways. If youprefer to do breast stroke with your arms, kick your legs in a ‘front crawl’ movement.
- Wear supportive activewear
- The FittaMamma High Support top has a 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. For maximum support team with FittaMamma leggings or Capris which will support your lower back as well.
Make sure you let your midwife or doctor knows the extent of your symptoms, not just to help you manage your SPD during pregnancy but also as it can affect your labour.
Your exercise programme will depend on the level of pain or extent of your SPD. Listen to your body and be aware of the movements that cause you pain and discuss your exercise routines with your GP or midwife.
Pregnancy exercise: what to wear
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