What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?
During my first pregnancy, I experienced all the common symptoms that any other pregnant woman goes through: cramps, morning sickness, fatigue, the list goes on. But when I was pregnant with Enzo, I heard a lot of women talk about experiencing pain at the pubic bone, and they would describe it as “being kicked in the groin”. I had heard about these symptoms, but never experienced them for myself - until recently. Now, in my second pregnancy, I’ve become all too familiar with the same symptoms! In this blog post, I want to shed some light on Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), because it affects so many women during pregnancy, yet no one seems to be talking about it! Below, I’ll share my experience and offer some guidance for treating the symptoms.
What is pubic symphysis? Pubic symphysis is the cartilaginous joint that is located in between the left and right pubic bones in front of the bladder. During pregnancy, there is a hormone called relaxin that loosens these ligaments in the pelvic area, and all over the body, which causes them to soften. As a result, these loose ligaments start to move which can cause pain in the groin area, and this is known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, or SPD.
Early on in my second pregnancy, at about 14 weeks, I started experiencing shooting pains from my groin area all the way down my inner thigh. I had spoken to my chiropractor about the issue, and we thought I should cut out my incline walking. That was difficult because I live on a hill, so I would have to pack up the stroller and Enzo into the car and drive our daily walks. It helped a little bit, but didn't make it go away. Soon after, I started doing a lot of research, and after talking to both my chiropractor and prenatal massage therapist, we all decided I was definitely experiencing SPD.
About a month ago I started physical therapy twice a week and I am feeling SO much better! Still no incline walking though. The physical exercises that I am am performing helps strengthen the pelvic bone and reduced the pain. If any of you are experiencing SPD, I highly suggest doing physical therapy. One thing I learned is, in order to have physical therapy covered under your insurance, you will need a script from your doctor. I just asked my OBGYN for a script that said “Ligament Laxity” and that covered it! SPD tends to get worse each pregnancy if not treated during and after the pregnancy. My pain is not gone, and it won’t go away until after I have the baby, but keeping it from getting worse and letting me take my daily 2 mile walks in my goal.
It’s important to stay on top of your health and well-being to make sure you have a safe birthing process. If you have any tips or exercises that you have found to be helpful with dealing with SPD, I would love for you to share in the comments below!