Lyndsay Hirst, Chartered Physiotherapist, Your Pilates Physio
As time, medicine, and technology have advanced, so has the social perception of pregnancy. Pregnant women are no longer considered sick, frail, or hysterical.
Most pregnant women enjoy healthy, active lifestyles right up until delivery. They are encouraged to continue their careers and participate in exercise programs.
Unfortunately, not all women experience this ideal pregnancy. Thousands of women suffer discomforts and conditions that affect their daily lifestyle.
What Is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction?
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a problem that occurs during pregnancy when swelling and pain make the symphysis pubis joint less stable. Doctors and physiotherapists classify this type of pain, and any type of pelvic pain during pregnancy, as pelvic girdle pain (PGP). SPD is one type of pelvic girdle pain that is experienced during pregnancy.
These problems are not as well understood as they should be. One of the least researched and understood pregnancy complications is SPD. This crippling condition has only recently become recognized by American physicians. Its cause is attributed to the softening and loosening of the cartilage and ligaments that normally support the pelvic girdle. The result is moderate to severe pain that can severely hinder a pregnant woman's movements.
Unfortunately, many women go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed for this condition. Even more unforgivable, these women often have their concerns brushed aside by clueless doctors who may think their patient is merely overreacting to the normal aches and pains of pregnancy.
What Are the Symptoms of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction?
The most common symptoms of SPD include:
- Pain or tenderness in the groin
- Painful sensation near pubic bone
- Clicking or popping sensation with movement
- Unusual manner of walking (shuffling or waddling to prevent hip pain)
- Ripping and/or grinding sensation when moving in any manner that separates your legs (walking, climbing stairs, stepping out of a car)
- Pain running down the insides of the thighs
- Sensation that your hip is out of place
What Is the Frequency and the Effects of SPD Symptoms?
For both conditions, the pain is usually worse at night and first thing in the morning. Pain at night is usually more intense after an active day.
Increased pain in the morning may be from unintentionally jerking the legs during sleep, or from holding too still to avoid moving the joints. Soreness in the morning could also be a result of the previous day's activities.
It doesn't sound too bad, does it? The personal descriptions of the symptoms gleaned from conversations with women who have had SPD or PGP are much more accurate.
One of the most common descriptions used by women to explain SPD is: "Feeling like a wishbone."
Like a Wishbone? What Does That Mean?
It means that anytime you roll over in bed, try to stand, walk up stairs, bend to lift something, try to toe off your shoes, or get out of a car you feel like you are being pulled apart like a wishbone.
For myself, this description was entirely accurate. The ripping pain was accompanied by a sharp stabbing pain down the inner legs.
For some women, this is a mild discomfort, and for others, it becomes impossible to lift one leg independently of the other (even if it's just a few inches). By the time I was 29 weeks along, I could no longer move my foot from the gas to the brake pedal without lifting my leg with my hand.
The joints simply wouldn't work anymore. It wasn't just an issue of pain, the ligaments were so lax that they could no longer function properly.
How Might This Affect Me?
Like most other symptoms and discomforts in pregnancy, SPD symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some women find relief in exercise, while others find that movement exacerbates the condition, or is impossible due to the hips being too "floppy." Some women are able to continue their daily activities, others are limited, and still others will have to use crutches or wheelchairs by the end of their pregnancy.
Even a woman with moderate SPD may find it difficult to walk normally. The loosened pelvic bones will create a waddling gait, and the instinctive tendency to keep the knees as close together as possible can lead to imbalance and the appearance of clumsiness. This grows more noticeable as the weight of the baby increases.
When and Where Will You Notice Symptoms?
- Going up or down stairs
- Trying to rise from a chair or the floor
- Rolling over in bed
- Getting out of bed
- Getting into or out of a vehicle
- Trying to push an object with your foot
- Lifting one leg to step into pants
- Bending over from the waist
- Sitting for too long
- Standing for too long
- When lifting something heavy
- Walking quickly, or if your steps are too far apart
- Pushing or pulling something heavy
- When attempting intimacy
What Are Some Coping Techniques for Pelvic Dysfunction Pain?
Even though there are not many treatment options for a sufferer of SPD, there are some daily coping techniques that can ease the discomfort. These may include:
- Using Kegel exercises to tone the pelvic muscles
- Practicing good posture to distribute weight properly on the pelvis
- Use of a maternity belt or band
- Avoiding heaving lifting
- Avoiding straddling motions
- Avoiding any scissor-like motions of the legs
- Using a step or support to get in and out of the tub
- Climbing stairs by placing both feet on one step before proceeding to the next step
- Warm showers or baths
- Sitting on a yoga or birthing ball rather than a chair
- Gentle exercises or pilates
- Not crossing the legs when sitting
- Sleeping on the side with a pillow between the knees. Applying heat to localized pain
- Avoiding bending or twisting from the waist
- Avoiding pushing or pulling anything heavy (such as the vacuum)
- Wearing supportive athletic shoes (avoid shoes such as heels or flip-flops that can cause stumbling)
- Dressing in a seated position to avoid standing on one leg
- Being careful using your legs or feet to push or move objects
- Finding a support group or forum
- Asking a partner, family, or friends to help with heavy tasks, or tasks requiring painful movements
- Trying to avoid standing for long periods of times
Maternity belts help by lifting some of the weight from your pelvis. It helps to wear one for 6-12 weeks postpartum while your body is returning to normal and needs some extra stabilization.
Useful Products for Managing SPD
|Product||How It's Useful||Price|
GABRIALLA Elastic Maternity Belt
Recommended by doctors as an excellent abdominal support to reduce lower back pain by providing compression and support to weakened hip area. Ease your aching joints.
Atlas A-Band Combo
Supports pregnant belly, which reduces physical trauma of the third trimester. It also lessens back pain, fatigue, swelling, and stretch marks.
V2 Supporter by Prenatal Cradle
Recommended by doctors and nurses for compression therapy for vulvar varicosities and to reduce swelling related to pubic and perineal edema.
Motherhood Maternity Support Belt
Relieves pain in the back, legs, and abdomen. Provides gentle, firm support.
What Causes Pelvic Dysfunction?
Before I became pregnant, I had read very little information about SPD. From the brief mention it earned in pregnancy books, I was led to believe that SPD was a ''discomfort'' that pregnant women rarely suffered. Before my pregnancy was over, it would become my biggest nightmare.
In a nutshell, SPD is thought to be caused when your body produces the hormone relaxin, which is supposed to loosen the pelvis in preparation for baby's passage. It is theorized that too much relaxin can cause the ligaments to loosen too fast, which creates an instability. This means that pelvic bones can shift independently of each other with every movement.
It can also lead to diastasis symphysis pubis (DSP), which is a wide gap where the pubic bones meet. This is rare, but not an indication of pain level. Even a woman without a noticeably larger gap can feel excruciating pain and tenderness. Sometimes the pubic bone can be tender to the touch, other times it is only painful with certain movements.
As I said above, SPD is also referred to as Pelvic Girdle Pain in some texts. However, they are not always one and the same. Pelvic Girdle Pain is a term applied to pain occurring at the back of the pelvis, localized around the sacroiliac joint.
Even though the two terms are used interchangeably, I am going to use the term SPD for this article, because I am focusing more on the frontal discomfort associated with the pubic joint.
There are times when a woman can experience both issues at the same time. For instance, I experienced the PGP symptoms often, but infrequently during pregnancy. However, I endured SPD from my twentieth week of pregnancy until my daughter was a year old.
How Do They Diagnose and Treat SPD?
Most SPD is diagnosed simply based on patient symptoms. X-rays and MRI scans have been used to try to determine the amount of separation, but can be inaccurate, as sometimes there is no visible cause for the pain. Tests that are harmful to the baby have to be performed after delivery and, by this time, the pelvis may look normal on scans. There may be examinations to rule out other causes such as sciatica and premature labor as well.
Treatments for the pain are limited. Your care provider may suggest you wear a maternity belt to help lift the weight from the pelvis. They may also suggest physical therapy, exercise programs, OTC painkillers such as Tylenol, hydrotherapy, massage, chiropractic treatment, yoga, and water aerobics. These options may or may not fully alleviate the symptoms, but they can offer some welcome relief for many women.
Explanation of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
Are There More Symptoms Associated With This Dysfunction?
Along with symptoms associated with SPD, a woman may also experience these symptoms:
- One-sided pain centered in the buttock or lower back area
- Shooting pains that travel down the legs or through the pelvis and abdomen
- Hip pain
- Weakness in the legs
- Grinding or popping of joints
Birthing positions are the main problem with SPD during labor. Staying in a position with both legs abducted can cause further problems with the symphysis pubis. I recommend women consider alternative birthing positions such as kneeling to avoid undue strain on the pubic bone.
— Lyndsay Hirst, Chartered Physiotherapist
Can You Manage SPD During Labor and Delivery?
What should you expect from SPD when it is time to deliver your baby? Again, this varies from woman to woman.
The mother may wish to opt for an elective c-section, or an early induction to gain relief. Unless she chooses otherwise, or there is a valid medical concern, natural birth is highly possible.
Things to Take Into Consideration for a Vaginal Birth
- The caregivers and birth team should be aware of the mother's condition. Positions that force unnatural abduction of the hips should be avoided as they can place stress on the joints. Therefore the use of stirrups and un-natural birthing positions are highly contraindicated.
- The use of epidurals is debated in cases of SPD. One of the concerns is that the lack of pain response can lead to further damage of the pelvis or even a rupture of the pubic junction if there is mismanagement of the pushing phase.
If the birth team is aware of the SPD and takes care to support rather than aggravate the joints, there should be no reason for a mother not to receive anesthesia. On the other hand, a diagnosis of SPD should not discourage a woman from an un-medicated delivery if that is her desire.
For some women, myself included, the extreme relaxation of the pelvic outlet can be beneficial during birth, leading to a quick delivery. Sometimes assisted delivery (such as forceps) can cause pelvic trauma if the legs aren't positioned carefully beforehand. Be sure to vocalize any discomforts or concerns before and during labor.
What Emotional Impact Does Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Have?
In a society where we are all expected to be super-moms breezing through pregnancy while balancing a job, family, household and social life; the crippling effects of SPD can cause emotional chaos.
Hormonal changes are already creating an overwhelming and unpredictable range of feelings in the pregnant woman. Add to that turmoil the realization that she is slowly losing parts of her independence, and she can quickly become overwhelmed.
She may need help now with her household chores. She may no longer be able to exercise, which can lead to self-consciousness about her pregnancy body. She may not be able to care for or play with other children she may have, and she may have to take time off from work, which can put a financial strain on the family.
If she can no longer drive, she may feel trapped and isolated, which can lead to resentment for the pregnancy. Severe SPD has been linked to depression both during and after pregnancy.
During this time, the woman needs the support of family and friends, as well as an understanding caregiver. She may be frightened too. Not being able to move your legs to climb a step or get out of the shower can leave you feeling paralyzed and vulnerable. Adequate support during this trying time is crucial to her health and well-being.
Frequently Asked Questions About Symphysis Pubis Disorder
Remember, it's important to ask questions. You're not whining or complaining, you're seeking the help that you deserve. No one should have to suffer from such pain when you're already doing so much work. Below are some answers to the most frequently asked questions about SPD.
Will SPD Make Labor and Delivery More Painful or Difficult?
During labour, being active and choosing the positions that feels best for you are wonderful ways to relieve pain and achieve a natural birth. Not surprisingly, women with symphysis pubic dysfunction are often concerned that SPD pain will affect their ability to labour naturally, and might even cause lasting damage to the symphysis pubic. Listening to your body during labour, and finding a position that feels right to you, can prevent SPD from having too much impact on your labour and causing any long-term damage.
The amount of pain caused by SPD during labour is dependent on the individual and the scale to which that person is suffering from SPD. Many women say that they did not experience extra pain due to SPD during labor, while other women have chosen to have cesarean sections in order to avoid having long-term damage. If you are diagnosed with SPD, it's best to consult doctors and midwives with questions about the potential damage it could cause. Your midwife should be able to refer you to a physiotherapist who has experience treating pelvic joint pain. In fact, many women are able to get improvement or relief with chiropractic treatment or osteopathic manipulation. It is not something that you “just have to live with.”
NOTE: I had a c-section with my second (twin) pregnancy. The recovery from SPD was about the same with both natural and c-section delivery, and within a few months I had regained my previous flexibility. It can still flare up or "pull" when doing any sort of weighted leg movements, or exercises such as deep squats/lunges. This is temporary.
What Position Can I Give Birth in to Reduce the Pain?
The front part of your pelvis is called your pubic symphysis. During Labor, the pubic symphysis naturally. You probably won’t have any problems as a result of this, but if you have SPD, you can try these positions to stay comfortable during labor:
- Kneel or stand, with support, to prevent strain on your pelvis.
- Lean on your partner, over a pile of pillows, a tilted bed end or a birthing ball.
- Position yourself on all fours, so the weight is on your hands and knees. This may also help your labour to progress.
- If you are tired, lie on your side, with your midwife or partner supporting your upper leg.
Did I Do Something to Cause SPD?
These pelvic problems mean that your pelvis is not as stable as it should be. However, that doesn't mean that you are to blame. In fact, there many reasons women develop SPD, including:
- having had pelvic girdle pain or pelvic joint pain before you became pregnant
- having had a previous injury to your pelvis
- having had pelvic girdle pain in a previous pregnancy
- having had a high BMI and were overweight before you became pregnant
- having hypermobility in all your joints
Most women do not have SPD as a result of any conscious decision. Unfortunately, most women who suffer from it do not have any obvious reason to suspect they'd have it prior to experiencing it.
Will Pelvic Pain Go Away After the Baby Is Born?
Recovery time varies from person to person. It can go away almost immediately, it can take a few days, a few weeks, or up to 2-3 months. If it's really bad, you should be seeing your physiotherapist after birth.
Can I Take Anything to Help With This Pelvic Pain?
Regular analgesia in the form of paracetamol and codeine-based preparations may be prescribed during pregnancy, with close monitoring of effectiveness and side effects. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) should only be used after delivery.
A specialist obstetric physiotherapy review should be arranged. The physiotherapist can advise on back care and strategies to avoid activities that put undue strain on the pelvis. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, ice, external heat or massage may also be of value.
Good News and Bad News About Pelvic Pain
The good news about SPD is that it usually goes away or lessens dramatically in the hours following the birth of the baby. It will still take weeks for the pelvic bones and ligaments to return to their pre-pregnancy condition, but this is the case even without SPD.
For some women, the first few weeks postpartum may feel as uncomfortable as during pregnancy. The pain may begin to lessen gradually.
The bad news is that sometimes it may take up to a year or more for the discomfort caused from SPD to disappear. Some women have reported that it lasted longer if they breastfed.
Other women who did not experience symptoms of SPD/PGP may develop it after delivery. The reason for this is unclear, but thought to be a result of trauma due to pressure exerted on the joints by the baby during labor.
The worst news for SPD sufferers is that the chance of developing it again with subsequent pregnancies is increased. The pain can also be experienced sooner and more severely with each pregnancy, sometimes to the point of being crippling. Needless to say, this can be disheartening for many women wishing to expand their families.
Remember, You Are Not Weak
Since little is known about SPD and its causes, it is important that women speak up about any pain or discomfort they may experience during pregnancy. Everyone has different thresholds for pain tolerance, but if your daily lifestyle is severely disrupted your complaints should not be ignored. The more women who speak up, the more likely SPD is to be seriously and thoroughly researched.
Never allow your caregiver, your family, your partner, or your employer to brush off your concerns lightly. You are not "weak."
Don't be afraid to be aggressive in demanding better care. If don't feel you are getting the medical attention you need, seek out a more sympathetic care provider who is willing to work with your individual needs to create a more comfortable pregnancy and birth.
Being confrontational from the beginning may prevent needless suffering and irreparable damage in the long run. Every woman deserves a joyful birth experience.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
Hayley on October 04, 2018:
Thank you for this review of SPD. I experienced crippling pain and severe depression as a result of SPD during my first pregnancy 8yrs ago. Unfortunately I either had care providers that lacked a good understanding of this condition and whom I feel really downplayed my symptoms chalking it up to normal pregnancy “discomfort”. (I could barely stand and walk by 23weeks).
Since that time I have desperately wanted to have another child but have feared it would happen again and I haven’t felt strong enough mentally to cope with it. I’m running out of time to have another baby and I am currently doing research on preventative measures for SPD. I’m not finding many preventative options, but I’ve learned from this article and others, that there are things I could have done differently to manage the pain of SPD. More importantly, this article really validated the intensity discomfort that I experienced 8 years ago, and helped me see that it is a real legitimate condition that, excuse my language, that f&#$@ hurts!! And I was not just a sensitive first time Mom and that I shouldn’t have had to tolerate that pain without any comfort options.
After reading this, I feel empowered to potentially consider taking this journey again, and to have the knowledge to get supports in place before the condition gets worse. Thank you so much for writing on this topic. We need for people to hear our stories.
Nancy on September 05, 2018:
As for me here, it is a bit different. At two weeks of pregnancy the pain is usually pushing me to the corner. My body swells so much so that at three months I do look six months pregnant. The challenges this particular ordeal comes with are countless for sure. You know, I am healing especially emotionally after losing two pregnancies due to SPD. The fear of experiencing that pain, loneliness, torture and trauma makes me fear carrying another pregnancy for the third time. No God's creation deserves this crippling condition.
Victoria L on August 03, 2018:
Thanks for writing this article! I have been searching for an explanation over a long long time. You have helped me to describe and name the symptoms that I am experiencing right now. I am 28 week in my second pregnancy. I felt these symptoms ever since my first one was born. The symptoms have lessen as time has passed but I have been feeling like a wishbone and have realised I would never be the same. My OB doesn't seem to have any knowledge of it. I knew that pelvic floor exercise and therapy would help but I couldn't locate any service providers until recently.
I am seeking help from a chiropractor. I hope it will help my second delivery. I will try physiotherapy for my post natal this time. I hope other mothers experiencing SPD would be able to find the help they need.
Cherie on May 30, 2018:
I’m glad to see that this condition is finally being recognized. I was pregnant with my son in 2006 and at about 2 or 3 months into my pregnancy I was walking with crutches due to the excruciating pain and jelly like pelvis and legs. My OBGYN also put me on bed rest and recommended I see a chiropractor (which didn’t help at all). My son was born a month early, a 6lbs 15oz perfect little angel. It took about 2 months after I had my son for me to be back to normal.
Since then I have learned that it usually get worse with each pregnancy (I don’t see how that could be possible). 36 hours of labor was nothing compared to the 7 months of torture on my body. But as most mothers would say, I would definitely do it all over again. My son is my saving grace.
Sarah G. on February 13, 2018:
I am 33 weeks and on my third pregnancy, and I was not aware of what SPD was until I started to really feel the pain start to worsen in my pelvic bone within the last two weeks. I had a little bit of this pain in my last pregnancy towards the end of pregnancy, so it didn’t really worry or think about it. Now I’m 6 weeks away and I’m worried on how I’m going to deal with this until I give birth. I work full time and have two boys to take care of and no family of my own in the area I moved to. So far my doctor has been offering some suggestions but the pain is so consistent that going to the grocery store is so hard, or getting anything done in my home is difficult. This is truely crippling and hope that more research is done on this and so more solutions can be offered . I think I am I pretty strong person when it comes to pain but this is really wearing on me and I wouldn’t normally consider being induced early but I might be induced early. I can’t be on bed rest and laying down is the only time im not in pain.
Newmommy2018 on December 07, 2017:
Hey... i am currently experiencing SPD & unfortunately for me it does not seem to be something doctors are familiar with ths side... i am at 34 weeks & my symptoms started showing at 33... its really hard convincing people tht i am sick even at work and i am nw even more afraid of the labour process... midwifes in our hospitals are mostly negligent... i wonder if i will survive the birthing process...
Patricia on September 27, 2017:
In 1979 I suffered from SPD. In my 8th month, I was put in traction to hold my hips and pelvic bones together until an amniocentesis showed my baby's lungs were mature. This is the most uncomfortable I've ever been. Now, at 64 years old, my hips are painful when I try to walk more than 6,000 steps. I'm in very good health and only 7 lbs overweight, so I wonder if the issues from 1979 are affecting me today. My grandchildren make me so very happy, so I don't let my hip pain get me down.
Sierra on May 26, 2017:
I am so glad I found this. All of the information on here is so helpful and I'm glad to find all of my symptoms in one place and other women that have been where I am. I have had SPD since about 20 weeks and was not diagnosed until 31 weeks. I was already in physical therapy and receiving medical massage for sciatic pain, severe round ligament pain, and continual hip displacement. Come to find out, those were all caused by the SPD. I felt like there was something more going on but thought I was being overly sensitive and overreacting. One of my midwives was completely dismissive, that was before I was diagnosed. I found that I had to advocate for myself very boldly and repeat my symptoms to multiple people before I was accurately diagnosed.
I am 35 weeks along now, I can barely even walk to the bathroom, I cannot drive a car or get down my stairs or any other movement that requires a shift of my pelvis, even riding in the car to my Dr appts is painful. I also have bursitis in my right hip from my hip continually popping out of place. This is the most pain I've ever been in in my entire life. I am so scared that the cartilage is going to tear during birth. Right now they have agreed to either induce me or I can have an elective C-section at 39 weeks. When my husband and I went in for a surgical consult doc said that a C-section will not lower the risk of the cartilage of tearing at all, so we have opted to be induced at 39 weeks.
A few things that I have found to help are to sleep in a reclined position. I just use an airplane pillow to keep my head propped up. I keep my knees together for all movements and be mindful to shift my pelvis as little as possible. I use a shower seat. I have crutches but use a wheelchair as often as possible. I get my groceries delivered. I try to do at least 200 kegels a day where I am also flexing my lower abdominal muscles. I also sit and scoot up and down the stairs, using my arms to move me from step to step instead of my legs.
I have been worried that the cartilage has already torn and I spoke of that worry to one of my providers a few days ago. She told me that with severe SPD, it is normal have fluctuations in mobility and severe pain because you are continually dislocating and relocating your pelvis. She said once the cartilage tears you won't have fluctuations but it will be severely painful with no mobility all of the time. Fortunately, I am not there yet. I am just hoping and praying that the cartilage does not tear.
I am so sorry for anyone that is experiencing this!
Jasmine on May 08, 2017:
Thank you so much for writing about this. Nobody ever knows what I'm talking about when I say I have spd. Even drs/physical therapists don't seem completely informed about it. It makes me feel very alone. This needs to be as prominent in pregnancy literature as round ligament pain, and the medical community needs to understand the difference
Zippee on November 29, 2016:
Thank you for writing this. I'm sooo tired of having my SPD dismissed as normal! When I told my ob about the excruciating pain I'm having in my groin and pelvic area, her response was, "Oh just wear your support belt" Gee thanks can I get a real diagnosis??
She at least was nice enough to write a note for light duty when I asked her. I'm a nurse so I work 12 hour shifts, mostly on my feet lifting and bending. At least I could continue to work but with less strain on my body right? Wrong! My boss told me they don't offer light duty even though I know they do. Apparently only for those who got injured on the job. So my boss told me my only option is to stop working until the baby is born! I can't afford to be off work for the next 2 months! Plus I need all my FMLA saved up for after the baby is born. So now I'm working 12 hour shifts hobbling around the unit doing the best I can to take care of my patients when I can barely walk myself. I'm so frustrated and feel so undervalued and like no one understands or cares how painful this is! Thank you to the author and the ladies who wrote comments. At least you understand.
What really pisses me off is I feel like if this was an issue that a man experienced, somebody would take it seriously and find a cure for it!
maryam on November 07, 2016:
I'm a first time mom and I'm going through this. It's hard when doctor says it's normal pain and all family judges and compares you to all active prego women and thinks you're being lazy. I use wheelchairs and scooters when I can but hope I don't have to. I'm second questioning the large family me and my husband had planned.
Leah12 on October 21, 2016:
Thank you so much for this space. I have read everyone's comments and am in tears. I have been feeling so alone and frustrated.
I'm 32 weeks with my second child and I have spd with my first but it was a minor discomfort in comparison to what i'm going through now, especially since I already have a painful chronic illness. I was just released from the hospital yesterday due to pneumonia and the SPD has gone from 8/10 to 20/10 i can't describe another way. I can't walk without excruciating pain. I've even been prescribed a commode and bath chair. What's most heartbreaking is that i can't play with my son, I can't even cook him dinner. I'm on strong painkillers that provide very little relief. I've been hospitalized almost once a month with my chronic condition since my fifth week of pregnancy and I handled it well, my spirits were up, I could still joke and laugh, I could leave the house once I got home and felt ip to company but this, this has taken what resolve I had from me. I'm depressed and have even had to battle thoughts of resentment towards my pregnancy, a pregnancy I am so thankful for.
And the doctors just say to rest, bed rest, basically tell me "yeah it sucks" then shrug. I have no idea how i'm going to make it through the next 2 months. I sit there watching my house get messier and crazier and it actually drives me to distraction to not be able to do anything about it. How will i nest? How will I prepare the way I need to for our baby. My husband is kind and understanding but I still feel very alone even somewhat closed off to him due to the constant pain and emotional hurt. I wish I knew what to do, I've almost been a fixer. I'm not one to just accept a bad situation but I'm honestly burnt out. I thank all of you for sharing your experiences. I'm truly thankful to not feel so alone. All the best to all of you :)
Liv Carradine from Los Angeles, CA on May 26, 2015:
I wrote a hub about my experience with this disorder. Your hub is much more informative and organized. Some poor woman will find this and thank God that her doctor is crazy and not her.
KimJo from Salt Lake City, Utah on March 10, 2014:
Thanks so much for your entry on SPD. This is my 3rd pregnancy and it has been a huge challenge since I hit the 23-24 week mark. I remember having some tenderness and discomfort in my pubic symphysis at the end of my second pregnancy and for a few months after the delivery it was sore if I moved in the wrong way but overall I was able to resume my normal activities and continue an active lifestyle. It has been more than 2 years since my second baby was born and this pregnancy has been quite a different ball game. Because my two previous pregnancies were delivered 4 and 3 weeks early of their respective due dates and my "advanced" age of 37 my midwife wanted me to do progesterone shots weekly to prevent preterm delivery. I had actually tried the progesterone during my second pregnancy for the same reason but I was having adverse/allergic reactions to the shots that my midwife at the time allowed me to discontinue after only 5 weeks (wk 16-20). My midwife this pregnancy has been much more convincing on the benefits of preventing preterm birth and so I've been enduring the uncomfortable progesterone shots and decided to be tougher this pregnancy. However, my joints in general have felt extremely loose and at around 23 weeks I was starting to have quite a bit of pain and discomfort in my groin and pubic symphysis. I originally attributed it to being older and it being my 3rd pregnancy so I was more apt to be looser (having already been stretched out a couple times before). But as the weeks went by my pain and discomfort increased dramatically. At about 28 weeks I finally expressed my concern to my midwife. She referred me to a PT specializing in the pelvis and pregnancy. It was a bit of a relief when I first met with my PT. She totally justified the pain I was having by explaining to me that my pubic symphysis had become misaligned and was shearing with the simple motion of walking and worse with more dramatic movements. She showed me that one of my legs was longer than the other due to the misalignment. She also expressed a concern about the progesterone shots as these could very easily be contributing to the looseness of my joints. I am starting my 3rd week of PT which includes pool therapy. Overall it has been beneficial. I am struggling however with the increase in pain through my pelvis. I still work full time which has been very challenging the last few weeks. I'm a nurse on my feet for long periods at a time and work in an area where we use fluoroscopy X-ray which requires me to wear an extra heavy lead apron made for pregnancy (add on another 25 pounds to my already large-with-child physique and it is tiring). I've started wearing a stabilizing belt which has started to help take a bit of the strain off my pelvis. I am very nervous about the upcoming delivery and worried about injuring my pelvis further. It is starting to take an emotional toll as the days count on. I am in constant pain ranging from a 6-10/10 daily. It's hard to not be irritable and unpleasant. I've started nesting and I'm scared I won't be ready for this new baby. I'm worried that because my gate has been greatly affected that I will trip and fall either at work or home and injure myself terribly worse. I do have a very supportive and understanding husband which has helped me from totally losing it. Thanks so much for creating this forum as I have needed an outlet for all my worries and also find a little comfort in knowing that my experience is not so unique. It's one thing to waddle when your 33 weeks pregnant but an entirely other thing to feel like an 80 year old frail woman. I just pray for the strength of both body and mind to get through the remaining weeks in one piece. I know there will be a wonderful baby boy eager to meet his family and this amazing world.
niquebud on October 16, 2013:
Wow, I am seriously the poster child for spd and I'm so disgusted how many American women are suffering with this and being dismissed. My daughter is 21 mos and I'm still in therapy for my spd, I see an osteopathic manipulative therapist which has helped tremendously over the past 5 months, my current therapist was my 5th try at trying to find the "cure" for my spd. I had never heard of OMM but suggest all you ladies give it a try. Someone in London told me about it and it has been the most relief I've ever gotten. My spd was so severe I was bedridden, my husband had to carry me just to use the bathroom and bathe me. I could not walk at all the last month and I had my daughter at 37 weeks on the day. Also my symptoms started at 10 weeks and by 20 weeks I was already depressed and wanted to commit suicide. This had been the hardest thing I've ever dealt with in my life. I was once a runner, running a minimum of 3 miles per day and in the best shape of my life. Now, just walking in the grocery store hurts. Had I been diagnosed before 33 weeks and treated, I wouldn't be typing this. I pray each of you find comfort and please try OMM if you haven't. I can step on my left leg by itself since having it. It really has changed me. I have much more work to go, but I'm hopeful. God bless you all
Cass on January 17, 2013:
Thanks for posting this. It's been a really difficult thing for me to go through. I love being active and so many ppl have said things to me like I'd love to have an excuse to be lazy! But the constant pain and not being able to do a lot of things I love has been very frustrating. My pain levels are much better now, just can't do anything too active yet. Slow short walks are ok, but that's all..
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on January 17, 2013:
@Cass--Any exercises that required scissor-like motion of the legs pretty much hurt for the first year. Mine continued until my daughter was weaned. Now I can do just about any exercise without pain, as long as it isn't weight bearing. For instance, giving my daughter "horsey" rides on my legs while they are crossed can still trigger some serious shooting pains.
Hope that helps, and that you are soon pain-free!
Cass on January 17, 2013:
Are you able to exercise now? I'm nine months post preg. I tried swimming yesterday and the pain still radiates down my legs... :(
Aloe Kim on October 13, 2012:
Pssshh... too petite or unfit my butt! Those people don't know what they're talking about! I've known a 5' 11" runner that had SPD....
I'm so sorry you're still dealing with it. I too hope they find a solution... hopefully before one of us gets preg again! lol.
Jayme Kinsey (author) from Oklahoma on October 13, 2012:
Thank you so much Mama Kim! I'm sorry you had to deal with this too. It does really suck. Its been almost two years and I still feel lingering twinges if I work or exercise too hard. One person told me I was just "petite" and that's why I hurt. Another that I wasn't fit enough before I got pregnant. That is so unfair to the moms.
Thanks for the comments and votes. Here's hoping they find a solution!
Aloe Kim on October 13, 2012:
Oh I had this with my second... it sucks! Luckily mine wasn't as bad as some cases I've read about.
Wonderful hub you've written full of great information and a great touch of personal experience. Voting this a bunch and sharing.