SPD stands for symphysis pubis dysfunction, sometimes it is called: PGP - pelvic girdle pain. It happens when the ligaments that normally keep your pelvic bone aligned during pregnancy become too relaxed and stretchy too soon before birth (as delivery nears, things are supposed to start loosening up).
Is SPD common?
This is extremely common in pregnancy, and whilst it doesn’t cause any harm to your baby, the pain can worsen with simple exercises such as walking, cleaning, even sitting on the floor, etc.
It can feel moderate to severe, it is not possible to prevent SPD, studies have shown that if you have suffered a previous injury in that area before, then you are more likely to get it. After having your little one, usually, the symptoms will subside on their own. If the symptoms persist, you should contact your local GP, or doctor as you may have another underlying problem.
Common symptoms of pregnancy-related SPD
Pain, pain and more pain. Pain in your back, in your pelvis, hip. You may also experience a grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic region. Pain down the side of your thighs, legs. Pain that is made worse by walking, bending down, or even rolling over in bed.
My experience with pregnancy-related SPD
When I had SPD, even getting in, and out of bed to use the restroom when heavily pregnant was agony. Bending down in the shower to shave my legs was the most difficult of tasks. Being pregnant itself is difficult enough as it is, but with this condition just moving around makes it that much harder.
Whilst there isn't exactly treatment for the condition, these things below should help ease, and reduce your pain.
You can use a hot water bottle to provide some relief. You should however check that your hot water bottle has a safety standard mark on it – the current standard is British Standard BS 1970. Check your hot water bottle for any signs of splits, perishing rubber, or signs of wear and tear. If you see any issues with the hot water bottle at all, it should be replaced.
Plenty of rest
You should lay on your side instead of on your back to sleep. This will take some pressure off of your pelvis. Also, try to keep your knees together when doing things that cause pain. For example, getting in and out of the car. As well as getting plenty of rest, you should avoid activities that trigger SPD, and make sure you are not overdoing it.
A pelvic support belt is a tool that will help support your lower spine and hips to relieve pain, pressure, and stress caused by pelvic instability. Some hospitals or midwives may provide them but it will likely only be for rental. With that in mind and due to hygiene, we recommend having your own.
Try to remember that this is only temporary, and the pain will go away once you have had the baby. For the pain, you can also try pregnancy-safe paracetamol or homeopathy. There are plenty of herbal options in regards to treatment. However, this is not our field of expertise.
Make an appointment with a homeopath, they may be able to help you. I have heard of many success stories related to acupuncture, and people seem to recommend it. If you are currently suffering from it and are approaching your due date, make sure to speak to your midwife for what they recommend, and make sure you get your hospital bag ready.