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

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.

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

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 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.

Lastly, WALK!

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 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 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 🙂

Best Wishes


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  1. Valerie Maples says:

    I can NOT believe I stumbled on this site!! I am on the verge of tears as I type this. I have been dealing with this for YEARS 12 if you want to get technical. My pregnancy went great, but delivi was a total nightmare I’ll spare the details besides I was actually “pushing” for 3.5 hours in-between throwing up each time. I can still remember when the bone 1st popped but NO ONE WOULD BELIEVE ME!!!!!! Every doctor I have tried to talk to just tried to give me pain pills. I tell my husband ALL.THE.TIME. it feels like I’m being split in half some days just moving! Do you think those constriction belts would help me? Even after all these years? What about the excersises you did? Is this all something that helps new mom’s? I feel like I can FINALLY see light after all these years. Just to have a NAME to tell my doctor’s makes me cry!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!

    • I’m so so sorry you had to go through that 🙁 The pain is horrible. I only had to endure it for a couple months! I can’t imagine what it’d be like to have it go on for years. 🙁
      When I was trying to describe what I was feeling, it was so frustrating to not be able to put a name to it. A lot of people thought I was being overdramatic and complaining about something that all mothers experience during pregnancy. I was adamant that, NO what I was feeling was not normal. I hadn’t experienced it at all throughout my first two pregnancies!

      When I came across a website describing Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, I was so relieved. I finally had a name to put to the cause of my pain and a way to show others that what I was experiencing WAS NOT NORMAL! Most importantly, now that I knew what was wrong, I had some hope of fixing it.

      I do think that a constriction belt will help offer extra support and I’d recommend getting one. However, recognize it won’t fix the root of the problem. It’ll just help to alleviate the pain. The only thing that helped me was very consistent exercise. Exercise that focused on my pelvic area. When I was recovering, I found that if I ever missed more than three days in a row, I started to slide back and the pelvic pain started to get extreme again.

      The exercises I did that helped me get rid of the pain completely was brisk walks for at least 20 minutes a day 5 times a week. My pace was always 3-3.5 miles an hour. I found that anything slower didn’t seem to help much. As I started each of my walks, it was always quite painful, but as I got a couple of minutes into it, I could feel my bones shifting into place. I always felt ten times better when I finished. I also made sure to do pelvic exercises for 15-20 minutes 5 times a week.

      I have this set here of pelvic exercises I really like. I’d also highly recommend this program. I used it throughout my entire pregnancy on my last baby and didn’t develop SPD at all! I wondered when I’d have to pull my cane out to get around in the mornings, but, with my consistent walks and this program designed to help a mother rebuild her postpartum body or exercise safely during her pregnancy, I never had to use my cane.

      I hope that’s enough to get you started. If you have any other questions make sure to ask!
      I wish you the best of luck Valerie

  2. Aurora Verkamp says:

    MuTu no longer sells just the FOCUS portion of their system. Would you be interested in updating your article? I saw you linked general pelvic floor exercises too, but I was wondering if you’d still recommend doing them if they cause a lot of pain? It’s hard to decide which things to do and which to avoid! I had been doing some prenatal pilates, which incorporates many of the same exercises, but my SPD still progressed and now it really hurts to do them. Suggestions?

    Also, does the belt take some time getting used to? I tried one and it felt totally unhelpful; my pelvis still hurt and felt just as unstable. But maybe I need to wear it longer?

    • Hi Aurora,

      Sorry, it’s taken me a little bit to get to this. I appreciate you letting me know about the update to the MuTu program. It’s been a couple years since I bought it and when the purchase options changed this summer I thought I updated all my posts but I must have missed one. I will definitely get the article updated!

      If the pelvic floor exercises are causing a lot of pain I wouldn’t recommend you keep doing them. Do all of them cause pain or just some of the exercises? How far are you into your pregnancy? (I know SPD can be really hard towards the end)

      I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to try the MuTu system, but if you haven’t, I’d highly recommend it. It starts out with very light, pelvic exercises to help you strengthen your pelvic floor. There are also modifications to the exercises for mothers who are pregnant.

      As part of the program, it’s highly recommended that you get a good, daily walk in. (20-30 min). I know when my SPD was particularly rough, my walks got to be quite painful. However, after about 5-10 min of walking, my hips and everything else started moving back into place. I always felt better when I finished the walk then when I started.

      As for the support belt, it didn’t take me any time to get used to. I could tell it was helping from the first day I used it. I’ve found the different kinds offer different levels of support. Maybe it’d help to get one that gives more support? Have you tried this one or one like it?


  3. Aimee says:

    I have been looking for relief from SPD for 2 pregnancies now. I have been in PT for both of them, and mine started EARLY – around 20 weeks or so. What I didn’t realize until about 7 months into my second pregnancy is that I also have diastasis recti. I am in PT now and I believe the exercises I am doing are actually exacerbating my PT. I also suffer from incontinece and have since my first pregnancy.

    I have an autoimmune condition – Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – and I believe that the chronic inflammation is causing my connective tissue to be weaker, which is causing SPD and DR. I am gluten, soy, and dairy intolerant and I believe that these factors also play a role as my gut is inflamed. I don’t know for sure, as I am not a doctor, but it may be something for everyone here to look into. Sometimes we suffer from intestinal inflammation which truly affects everything about how our bodies function, especially when our gut is pushing our expanded uterus outward.

    Thank you so much for this article. I will be looking into this program ASAP!!

    • I think a lot of times diastasis recti and spd happen at the same time. I had neither my first two pregnancies then, on my third, they both hit me with no warning. I had no idea what was going on and it was very painful 🙁
      It is very possible that the exercises you’re doing are making the SPD and diastasis recti worse. The same happened to me and, it seemed that no matter what I did, nothing helped. When I finally found this program and started going through it, I understood what was going on with my body and it started to heal and get better

  4. Token says:

    I had SPD severe. Almost 18mm. I had my son in sept 2014 and the pain started around 32 weeks in pregnancy. During that time i couldn’t lay down to sleep or move my toes. Once my midwife told my doctor what she thought i had I got a belly band and walker to help with the pain and moving around the house. Once my son was born the pelvic pain wasn’t severe but I can tell it was there but I was having a new pain and weird sensation in my lower back, hips, right legs. Like I felt shifted and I still couldn’t lay down until march the next year. Its now 2017 and I still have hip pains when sleep and now back pain when laying down and sitting at times, little reminders that i’m not fully healed when i walk/stand for to long or period comes on(not all the time). But nothing like before. I’m working out but maybe not the right ones. Will these workouts still work for me after all this time I think have Diastasis REcti after reading your post. In ever thought i had that but now i have a small mothers apron as well and wondering is that what that could be from. Thankyou for this post.

    • It does sound like diastas recti to me. If you do have it, it’s not going to get better with exercise alone. You’ll want to use exercises that target your inner abdominals and help to strengthen and pull them back together. I do think these exercises and some of the others on my site will help quite a bit even though it’s been a couple years.


  5. Ann says:

    I suffered from such a severe PSD at week 38 if my pregnancy that I was left unable to move from the waist down. The pain was literally paralyzing and I was on my back for 3 solid days until the anti inflammatory and pain meds kicked in. After that I could barely lift my legs and could not twist at my hips or lay on my side until after my son was born. I was in a wheelchair, then a walker and after about 7 weeks I could finally walk up a flight of stairs again. I later learned that I also suffered a diastasis rectus. I exercised my entire pregnancy – walking, Zumba, yoga and swimming and have always been fit. My midwife told me that I had a very strong pelvic floor. Although I was on my back I was able to have a vaginal delivery to a robust 9 pound boy. I am 2 years postpardom and considering baby #2 but terrified of going through that again. I lost 35 of the 37 pounds of weight I gained within 6 months but even after I stopped breastfeeding, I still have incontinence issues and can’t get rid of the layer of fat around my tummy. What do you recommend doing to help with these problems and prepare for a second pregnancy?

    • I was in the same boat as you hun. After my son was born a couple years ago I wasn’t sure if another baby would even be possible. I didn’t know how I could go through all that pain again. I built up and put together an exercise plan that was targeted to help strengthen my pelvic floor and my inner abdominals. I always paid attention to my body and if certain exercises seemed to hurt more then help, I stopped doing them until I was ready.
      I did end up getting pregnant again and focused even more on making sure I did my exercises every day. I prayed that if I did those, it wouldn’t be as bad as it was last time. I ended up having my fourth son earlier this year. 🙂

      I wish I could say I didn’t have spd this time around but I did still have it and it was still pretty painful. However at the same time it wasn’t NEAR as bad as it was last time and I know it was because of my exercises that were targeted to help it. I kept waiting for it to get worse because I knew it could be but I never got to that point. I noticed that as long as I did my daily walking and my pelvic exercises, I actually seemed to get stronger and the instead of getting worse every week until my baby was born, it actually got better between weeks 36-40 and I felt pretty good.

      It was absolutely worth it and though I’ll probably wait a bit longer before trying for my next kid, I am looking forward to it instead of dreading it and worrying about the pain and whether or not I’ll even be able to get around.

      I hope that helps hun and if you have any further questions, please let me know!

    • Lex says:

      Was there any exercises or anything you did in order to be able to walk again after the 7weeks ?

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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!


  10. 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!


  11. 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!


      • Kate says:

        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