Pelvic Pain, SPD, Pelvic Girdle pain AKA the bane of my pregnancy! | Blog

If you've read my blog for a while then you will know that pregnancy wasn't enjoyable for me. Even though things were pretty straight forward in the first couple of months, at 16 weeks everything changed. PGP bulldozed into my life and pretty much ruined my first pregnancy for me. Pelvic girdle pain, SPD, Symphysis pubis dysfunction. Whatever you want to call it, it was horrendous and it was the reason I hated being pregnant.

The NHS description of pelvic pain in pregnancy is this:

‘some women develop pelvic pain in pregnancy. This is sometimes called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). PGP is a collection of uncomfortable symptoms caused by a stiffness of your pelvic joint or the joints moving unevenly at either the front or back of your pelvis.’

Basically what this translated to for me is that my pelvis split apart thanks to hormones and growing baby and things which, in turn, made it feel like I’d been kicked in the lady garden by a very strong and very angry horse. It made walking, sitting, sleeping, laying and general life practically impossible to deal with. It was agony and nothing I tried seemed to help. I went to a chiropractor, had physio, brought a band that was supposed to hold everything together, tried special exercises, took medication…basically nothing worked and eventually when I was about 6 months pregnant a doctor signed me off work and said that things wouldn’t get better until baby was here. 


That then lead to me pretty much house bound, mindless watching daytime TV or going swimming because in the water was the only time that I didn’t feel any pain. Swimming was my sanctuary and I would serious be in that pool until my skin started to sting for the chlorine and I started to resemble a very ripe and wrinkly prune. I laugh and joke about it all now but at the time, almost 5 years ago, it made me feel really down and emotional.

I questioned why this had happened. Was it because I was putting on too much weight? Was it because I was over weight when I fell pregnant? Had I not been doing enough exercise? I blamed myself for it because who else was there to blame? I hadn’t even had my baby and yet I felt like a bad mother. I couldn’t help to decorate the room or going shopping for baby bits as it was just too painful. I couldn’t go out and enjoy my last few months of it just being me and hubby because it hurt too much and at the time I felt so angry at myself and my body for letting me down like this. 

In reality SPD isn’t something that only happens to bigger women or to less active women. I’ve known tiny size 8 women that it’s happened to. I've known women who didn’t have it first time round but during their second or third pregnancy they were pretty much completely debilitated by it. In fact, SPD affects up to 1 in 5 women during pregnancy and is NEVER caused by lifestyle or anything that we can affect. SPD is caused by the hormones that are released when we are pregnant such as relaxin and they, in turn, can loosen the ligaments and muscles in our hips too much and cause the pain. For some women it is just mild discomfort that can be helped with physio and support bands. Other women, such as myself, may need more support with pain killers and rest. There are also times where women have been left unable to walk and on crutches or in wheelchairs due to the pain and the movement in their hips and pelvis. Most women make a full recovery once they’ve had their baby and the hormones calm down but in some very rare cases it can cause longer term problems.  It’s so different for every single woman and is something that we cannot affect or help so if you are struggling right now then please just know that this isn't your fault and you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it!  

If you are struggling with SPD then there a few places that you can go for help and support.

1. Speak to your GP and your midwife as they will be able to offer you support bands and refer yo for physio. 
2. Consider going to see a Chiropractor if things get really bad but be prepared for it to cost you as their treatment isn't cheap!
3. Have a look at exercises and support online. The Pelvic Partner website has loads of support and great advice. 
4. Find other women that are struggling like you to help you remember that you aren't on your own and that other women are gong through the same as you.  There are loads of supportive group on Facebook so have a search and join to chat to other women in your boat. 
5. Finally remember that his won't last forever and the old cliche of 'it will all be worth it in the end' is so true. Soon you will have your little baby snuggled in your arms and the pelvic girdle pain you felt before will all become a distant memory. Trust me, I forgot about mine, So much so I did it all over again with Smidge! 

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