Find out what causes the pregnancy-related condition symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD, and how it can be treated.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction, or SPD, is a fairly common pregnancy-related condition where the pelvic joints become unstable, causing mild to severe pain and mobility problems.
In pregnancy, the joints that hold your pelvic bones in place need to loosen so your baby can move through your pelvis during birth. A hormone called relaxin softens the ligaments of the joints to allow for movement.Sometimes, relaxin softens the ligaments too much and they may overstretch, causing the joints to become unstable and misaligned. This puts a strain on all the joints of the pelvis and prevents one of the joints, called the symphysis pubis, from properly supporting the pelvic bones during movement, causing pain.Carrying the growing weight of your unborn baby worsens the strain on the pelvic joints, this increase in your weight also affects your centre of gravity, adding to the problem.
You may need to be referred to an osteopath and be advised to keep your legs together when getting in and out of bed or the car, and to avoid activities such as swimming breaststroke.
Anne Richley, midwife
You need to get a diagnosis from your GP, obstetrician or midwife. Make sure that you give them a full list of your symptoms and don't play down the pain if you want to be helped.Once diagnosed, you should be referred to an obstetric physiotherapist to treat the SPD.
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