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. I 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.
What are the Symptoms of Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
- 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.
Finally, 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.
What is the Answer?
My answer was Wendy Powell’s MuTu System. The MuTu System is a 12-week program that was designed for mothers to use to get back into shape after a baby. The core videos that focus on strengthing your pelvic floor also have pregnancy modifications for mothers who are still pregnant.
For those mothers who suffer from SPD, I wouldn’t recommend you go through the entire program until after your baby is born. You should only use the core videos and leave the MuTu intensive ones for your postpartum recovery. The core videos are focused on treating the causes of both Diastasis Recti and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.
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
I 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 program, 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.
I know how walking sounds to you right now. I know what it’s like to have to shuffle down the 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 your 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 the MuTu System 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 🙂