Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Exercises – Don’t Just Manage the Pain!

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Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) plagues thousands of pregnant women every year. It’s a nightmare to go through and most pregnant women seeking ways to treat it and get rid of it, are simply told how to manage it. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction ExercisesI remember going through it with my last son and 90% of the resources I found told me how to manage the pain. I was already trying to do that and it wasn’t working.

There are actually symphysis pubis dysfunction exercises that can prevent the condition or help to minimize the pain. You shouldn’t just sit it out until your baby is born. That’s months of unnecessary pain. Before I go into these exercises I want to briefly discuss what symphysis pubis dysfunction is  and explain what causes it for those of you that might not know.

What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a very common condition that often occurs during pregnancy. It can be quite painful for those experiencing it.

During your pregnancy, your body produces hormones that allow the baby to grow properly. Other hormones are released to prepare your body for childbirth and one of those hormones is Relaxin.

This hormone serves to make your ligaments stretchy so you can easily deliver your baby, but when the ligaments that manage the alignment of your pelvic bone start becoming relaxed and stretchy, it can cause the pelvic joint to become unstable.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction Exercises

What are the Symptoms of Symphysis Pubis DysfunctionSymphysis Pubis Dysfunction Back Pain

  • Severe lower back pain that is often worse when you’re getting in/out of the car or bed.
  • A clicking sound/sensation in your pelvic area when you’re walking or when you move your legs.
  • Increased pain when changing your sleeping position at night, parting your legs, or when you’re going up/down a set of stairs.
  • Pain on the inside of your thighs or your buttocks
  • Feeling your pelvic bones shifting in and out of place when you walk
  • Pain generally increases anytime you move your legs apart.

What are Women Generally Told to do About It?

  • When getting in/out of the bed or car, move your legs together so you can lessen the pain.
  • Avoid staircases, squatting, standing for more than a couple minutes at a time
  • Avoid movements you know cause pain
  • As much as possible, keep your legs together
  • Use a pillow between your legs while you sleep to help with support
  • Walk sideways (yes, really), take smaller steps
  • Use a heating pad on your lower back and pubic region

What do you notice about every single one of the things listed above? Like I said above, all you’re doing is managing or avoiding the pain as much as possible. What good is that? It’s impossible to avoid it entirely, you end up being miserable and you feel helpless.


Another thing you should know, is that if all you do is avoid the pain, you can actually make the condition worse resulting in more pain.  If you don’t treat it by getting out and exerising, you’ll get weaker and the pain will increase.

Instead of Avoiding It, Let’s TREAT It!

I realized that I had Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction when I was about 7 and a half months pregnant. It was a relief to finally know the reason for the pain and to confirm to myself that yes, it wasn’t just a normal part of being pregnant.

However, as I started reading into it I was disheartened because everyone said there was nothing I could do other than try to avoid it as much as possible. I suffered through it and the last month of my pregnancy I just didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t do any more than I absolutely had to and I was always in a bad mood because the pain never stopped.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction ExercisesFinally, I had my baby and that night it was gone. As the months went by after I had my baby, I discovered I had Diastasis Recti. I thought to myself, what are the chances that my diastasis recti and symphysis pubis dysfunction were completely unrelated? Probably pretty small.

As I looked into both, I learned that each of them are related to the strength of your pelvic muscles. Weak pelvic muscles lead to weak inner abdominal muscles. This in turn, leads to diastasis recti because the inner abdominals are not strong enough to support the growing weight of your baby.

It’s the same case when you’re looking at SPD, weak pelvic muscles lead to your ligaments relaxing more, which leads to an unsturdy pelvic bone. Some sources I found stated that there are some cases in which your body will release too much of the pregnancy hormone Relaxin and this is the sole cause of SPD, however this isn’t true.

Your body knows what it’s doing, it’s built to know how to go through a pregnancy. Yes this hormone causes your ligaments to relax more so you’re prepared for childbirth; but the real reason behind Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction is weakened pelvic muscles and weakened inner abdominal muscles that aren’t exercised properly.

What is the Answer?

My answer was Wendy Powell’s MuTu System. She has a 12-week program that is designed for mothers to use during their pregnancy to keep their pelvic and inner abdominal muscles strong. It’s also for mothers to use postpartum to lose their mummy tummy and to get into a better shape overall.

Now for those of us who suffer from SPD, I wouldn’t recommend you go through the entire program. You should only use MuTu Focus which is the first two weeks of the 12-week program. MuTu Focus is solely focused on treating the causes of both Diastasis Recti and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.

You can purchase the whole thing and save the latter part for when you’re trying to get into shape once you’re baby is born, or you can simply purchase MuTu Focus if that’s the only part you think you’ll use. If you’re not quite sure if it’s what you’re looking for, I have a  thorough review of the MuTu System that explains exactly what it is, who it’s for, and anything else you might want to know about it.

Consider Buying a Maternity Support Belt to use During Your Pregnancy

Support Belt for Symphysis Pubis DysfunctionI know that this may look like just another way to manage SPD but, if you use it in conjunction with the Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction exercises from the MuTu Focus, it can actually help quite a bit. A maternity support belt helps to carry some of the weight of your growing baby, taking the pressure off of you.

I would recommend wearing one of these throughout the day and, especially use it, when you’re exercising. If you’re looking for some good options in a maternity belt I have a couple of my favorite ones here.

Lastly, WALK!

I know how walking sounds to you right now. I know what it’s like to have to shuffle down street and struggle to keep tears from coming to your eyes because of the pain. The worst thing you can do for SPD though is to do nothing at all. In simply trying to manage and avoid the pain as much as possible, you’re allowing Walking for Symphysis Pubis Dysfunctionyour muscles to get weaker and weaker. This will result in increased pain 🙁

Don’t go walking without your maternity belt, because it will take a lot of the pressure off of you.However, make sure you go walking as much as possible (Ideally 5 times a week). You may find that in the beginning you can only take small steps at a time, but as you keep using MuTu Focus you will get stronger.

Every week it will get easier. Make sure that as you walk, you’re having plenty of water and staying hydrated. Before you start, get in a light stretch (just a couple minutes). Stretch again once you’re finished.



I wish you all the best of luck! If you have any questions about anything please leave me a comment below. I do answer all of them 🙂

Best Wishes

-Jessica

Jessica Camden

Welcome to Your Post Baby Body! I'm Jessica and have been blessed with 3 beautiful little boys, Conner, Jackson, and Jayden. I've learned throughout each of my pregnancies that building your post baby body can be quite difficult. I've learned what works and what doesn't, where to start, and how to build up. My dream is help other moms get the post baby body they want through diet, exercise, and natural remedies!
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14 comments

  1. Jasmine says:

    Hello, i currently suffer from spd and camt sleep. i can only sit up or lay flat on my back to avoid the pain so sleeping has been out if the question. I have been suffering since 20 weeks and just turned 30 weeks today. i notice sitting makes the pain worse when i get up. Ive been doing pelvic exercises and haven’t noticed any pain relief ( just tighter down there). I would like to try MUTU and would like to know if it works for C-sections (this will be my 3rd) and what other advise you may have. thanks

    • I’m really sorry to hear that 🙁 I know what you’re going through and how hard it is. I’ve never felt more helpless than I did when I was suffering from spd during my third pregnancy.

      I noticed for me that sitting for long periods of time only made it worse. It hurt really really badly to walk and get around, bad enough to make me cry when I went anywhere, but it was worse if I didn’t. I know it may not feel like the exercises are helping but I would keep doing them and try to get outside and walk for at least 15-20 minutes a day if at all possible.

      I know it hurts and it’s extremely painful but it gets a lot worse without the exercise 🙁 There are some other things as well that you can do to help. I used a maternity belt during the day and it helped quite a bit to support my back and to carry the extra weight. Also, for me, one of the most painful things was getting out bed in the morning. There were times it was all I could do to walk across the room and I held on to the wall with every step. I ended up getting this cane to help me get around in the mornings and it helped so so much; I should have gotten it sooner!
      Another thing I did was got this pillow to sleep with at night. It supported my stomach, back. legs, and arms making so that when I woke up it didn’t hurt near as bad to get out of bed.

      Sorry for the long comment but I really hope it helps. In regards to your question about the MuTu system then yes I do think it would help quite a bit but while you’re still pregnant I would recommend you only do the Focus part of it. Once your baby is born, you can go through the whole program and it really does help so much!

      I wish you the best of luck hun and just hang in there. If you have any other questions please let me know
      -Jessica

  2. Meg says:

    I feel like this condition can be aggravated by tight pelvic floor muscles as well. I am a yoga & fitness instructor. I have a very strong core & have been walking several miles a day.
    I started getting SPD around 32 weeks with my son. It remained until he was about 6 months old then thankfully went away on its own (in guessing after all the preg hormones left my system the cartilage moved back together).
    Now I’m only 18 weeks pregnant with my second and have been in agonizing pain! My chiropractor/acupuncturist think it’s caused by tight muscles. Bc of my profession/lifestyle & the fact I don’t have other common weak muscle symptoms like leaking urine or peeing when I sneeze (but do have some pain w sex) she thinks it’s tight muscles. She gave me a band to wear around my hips that’s suppose to support me & close gal by pushing on either side of my hips. Nothing has given me any relief yet tho! Not exercising or adjustments:(( The more I walk & exercise the worse the pain gets. Trying acupuncture soon.

    • It is very possible that your SPD could be caused by tight pelvic floor muscles. Have you tried doing pelvic floor exercises to help loosen them up?
      When I suffered from SPD walking was so difficult and painful. I pretty much limped around everywhere I went and towards the end I considered getting a wheelchair because it was all too much. I noticed though that when I included pelvic floor exercises the pain was much less. It didn’t go away entirely but combining those with a maternity belt made a huge difference and gave me a lot of relief!
      -Jessica

  3. Julianne says:

    Loved this post. I’m in the first trimester with my third baby. SPD is the worst! I suffered through it like you with my first as I was trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with my. When my second came, I was much more prepared and had done a lot to try and strengthen my core before getting pregnant. This third one is a bit of a surprise and I’m not quite where I want to be… also my symptoms are starting SO much sooner (I’m only 6 weeks and can feel my pelvis loosening in that uncomfortable way). I actually have the MUTU system already, and am an avid pilates goer 3X a week. Here’s my question: are there any exercises you would suggest avoiding? I feel like the “lamp post pee” might be one as far as the MUTU system goes… but I’m also wondering if you’ve had any experience with pilates. Just wondering what to tell my instructor that I should be avoiding?

    • I agree SPD is awful 🙁 I was lucky in that I didn’t experience it at all until my third pregnancy. I’ve never felt more helpless than when I was going through that.

      Unfortunately, if you’ve had it once, you’re much more likely to have SPD in any future pregnancies and it’s very common for the symptoms to start earlier each time.

      I would recommend including exercises from the MuTu system, pelvic floor exercises, and walking several times a week to strengthen your pelvic muscles and your back.

      As far as exercises you should avoid, I’d recommend that as you do each exercise, pay attention to how it makes you feel. Does it make your SPD symptoms worse, does it cause your stomach to bulge outwards, or is it just uncomfortable? Any exercises that do fall into one of these categories are best avoided during your pregnancy.

      As you get further along, you should also avoid exercises that have you lying on your stomach or exercising your outer abdominals. Being pregnant puts a lot of pressure on your stomach and these types of exercises (crunches, situps, etc) cause your stomach to bulge out and can weaken it quite a bit making SPD symptoms worse.

      I wish you the best of luck hun and congratulations on your pregnancy! I know it’ll go great for you and now that you know what’s going on, you’ll be able to do much more to prevent the SPD from getting worse.
      -Jessica

  4. Tammy says:

    Great article and I was lucky not to have the problem but my girls are getting to the age they will be having kids and I will remember your article and tell them what to do for it. I never had a pregnancy belt and wish I had had one. Back in my day,( i am 48) there was no lotion or belts or real teaching on breast feeding. I survived and did fine having four kids, some grown now but I am glad you have this site for my girls to check out. Great job!

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I didn’t have it with my first two either and it was kind of a shock when I did with my third! It really is hard finding resources out there that allow you to address it but they’re there if you look hard enough 🙂 It’s amazing how many new resources are popping up every year to help mother’s postpartum! I hope this can add to it!

      Thank you for reading!

      -Jessica

  5. moynul says:

    Wow this was something new I learned today. I had heard of the pain that would be mothers went through during the pregnancy cycle, but never have I heard of symphysis pubis dysfunction. Now do I really appreciate the struggle that moms go through, so you and all the mothers out there rock! Really though this was a really informative post, not only do you explain what SPD is, but you also offer solutions and products which help to prevent these unnecessary pains. I have saved this page and will recommend it to any women I know who are pregnant.

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I’d never heard of it either until I had it myself and looked into it. I have a new appreciation for mothers going through pregnancy as well now that I know what it’s like! I’d like to help as many mothers going through this as possible to know there are things that can be done!

      I really appreciate you saying that and taking the time to read!

      -Jessica

  6. Laurie says:

    You have done a great service to pregnant women by covering this subject. My friend suffered with Symphysis Pubis during pregnancy, and was absolutely miserable. If doctors would recommend your suggestions of targeted exercise and a maternity support belt, so many women could be saved from this pain, and enjoy their pregnancy instead.

    • Jessica Camden says:

      I hope this post can help mom’s suffering from SPD. I know exactly what it’s like to go through it and I too was sooo miserable the last bit of my pregnancy. I read into it and everything I found told me there was nothing I could do but try to avoid the pain.

      It was so hard and if I can help anyone avoid that it’ll be worth it to me to have this post here! It’s infuriating that most resources tell you there’s nothing you can do. There really are things that can be done to prevent it instead of trying to avoid pain. These guidelines are the best place to start.

      I appreciate you reading hun!

      -Jessica

      • Kate says:

        Hi
        I had a terrible time with spd from 20 weeks and unfortunately 18 months on after birth I’m still suffering with deep hip pain, groin pain and issues with my back. I’ve been backwards and forwards for various scans, cortizone injections etc but nothing has worked. Theyve now reffered me to a specific hospital physio to strengthen the area. Really don’t think they know whats wrong me with me. Would love and appreciate any advice. Thanks, Kate

        • I’m sorry hun 🙁 I know how hard it is to have spd and how helpless it makes you feel. I too would recommend physical therapy and workouts targeted to strengthen your pelvic muscles and your back. I have a number of pages put together with exercises that target these parts of your body. I start with those and if any are too painful or uncomfortable I hold off until I’m strong enough for them.

          Even with these simple exercises, you can increase the intensity by using exercise bands/loops and workout balls. I start out without any extra equipment then work up to adding some.

          Here I have
          Pelvic Floor Exercises
          Exercises for Diastasis Recti (Split Abdominal Muscles)
          Exercise After a C-Section

          Along with these exercises, I’d recommend walking daily for at least half an hour.
          I hope this helps hun and I wish you the very best. Please let me know if you have further questions
          -Jessica