SPD & Pelvic Girdle Pain in Pregnancy & How to Relieve it

Credit: Anna Civolani via Unsplash

Pregnancy comes with a whole host of symptoms, from the much-talked-about ‘glow’ to morning sickness. One symptom which many women develop is SPD or pelvic girdle pain in pregnancy, which can be very painful. Here, we discuss everything you need to know about SPD in pregnancy and how you can help relieve it.

You may have heard the term SPD or pelvic girdle pain banded about in discussions with your GP, midwife, on social media or other new mums.

However, if you’re still none the wiser about what it actually is, fear not. Here’s your need-to-know guide on SPD and how you can relieve it.

What is SPD or Pelvic Girdle Pain?

Credit: Ignacio Campo via Unsplash

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) occurs in pregnancy when the pelvic joints become stiff or move unevenly. Also called pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PGP), it causes uncomfortable symptoms that can include back pain, a grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area, pain down the inside of your thighs and pain that’s made worse by parting your legs, walking or going up or down stairs.

It can occur both at the front and back of your pelvis and occurs as a result of hormonal changes. Around 16-25% of pregnant women experience SPD or pelvic girdle pain, which is likely to go away in the postpartum period.

We spoke to Michelle Baynham, the founder of pregnancy fitness programme Mother Fit, who discusses how you can relieve and help the pain that comes from SPD.

Exercises to Help SPD/Pelvic Girdle Pain

It’s important to do exercises to help ease pain and build up supporting muscles, including pelvic floor exercises (also known as kegels), or, in more serious cases, manual therapy by physiotherapists, osteopaths or chiropractors may be necessary, who can gently manipulate the joints back into position, so they move normally.

Michelle suggests the following exercises to help relieve SPD or pelvic girdle pain:

  • Introduce 360 breathing
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesHip thrust with ball / Test pullback motion
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesNarrow banded squats
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesHand & knee mid-back rotations
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesHands & knees cat-cow
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesHalf-knee position reverse fly with band
  • spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesLying angel wings

spd-pelvic-girdle-pain-exercisesMichelle’s Mother Fit Pregnancy Program includes resistance training, pilates, and yoga, which work towards strengthening all the muscles that help stabilise your pelvis and all exercises are mindful of SPD. She also suggests:

  • Decrease standing single-leg exercises at the first sign of discomfort or twinge
  • Maintain thoracic rotation and breathing strategies
  • Maintain abdominal and hip strength
  • Test adductors, pullback motion, hamstrings and glutes
  • Keep exercising in pregnancy for mobility and strength

Pelvic Floor Exercises for SPD

Doing your pelvic floor contractions will also help with SPD. A proper contraction involves three steps, which should be mastered before you progress:

  • Squeeze the pelvic floor muscles
  • Lift the pelvic floor muscles
  • Fully relax the pelvic floor muscles

Please remember that your body is individual. Modifications that work for one person might not work the same for you. In the worst case scenario, you should back off any exercise with the lower body completely and also think about wearing a support belt.

Visit motherfit.co.uk today to guide you safely through your pregnancy journey.

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