Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or pelvic pain is unfortunately quite common in pregnancy to varying degrees. It occurs due to the release of a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments- this remarkable hormone enables your pelvis to open up so that your baby can be delivered. Unfortunately, it sometimes causes the pelvic joints to move around, separate too much and become inflamed, which can be very painful.
Some women have mild SPD, but in many cases the resulting pelvic pain can be distressingly intense. Lots of women wish to continue to exercise in pregnancy despite their SPD but would like to know what to avoid and what to focus. We asked our pregnancy expert Lucie Brand for her advice!
Your exercise programme will depend on how bad your SPD is and I would suggest in the first instance to talk to your GP or midwife to see if they can give you an idea of how active you can safely be.
If your SPD is relatively mild and you are able to continue with an exercise programme, here are some tips to help manage it and some ideas about what to do and what to avoid:
Make sure you keep up regular pelvic floor exercises Maintain your core abdominal exercises Do not push through pain, stop if anything hurts Exercise little and often, not for long periods Try walking and light resistance training Sit on a birth ball whenever you can as it will keep your pelvis in a nice neutral position Avoid heavy lifting and pulling Avoid too much twisting of the body Avoid standing on one leg or any unbalanced movements Avoid activities with a wide-leg stance Keep your feet together and weight balanced whenever possible Pilates may be a useful for you post pregnancy It can really help to wear a supportive top - ideally one that has a firm band at the bottom that fits snugly round your hips and pelvis Swimming is generally a good all round pregnancy exercise but breast stroke is not good for SPD! It would be good to try a different stroke - but maybe combine the arm movements of breast stroke with the kicking movements of front crawl.
In summary, if your SPD is severe then exercise in pregnancy should be undertaken with extreme caution. But even if your pelvis pain is a real issue for you do try and keep up those all important daily pelvic floor and core stability moves and stay as active as you can in daily life.
Alexandra McCabe is a founder of https://www.fittamamma.com, the healthy pregnancy experts. FittaMamma is a free resource to help women enjoy an active pregnancy with pregnancy and post natal workout videos, recipes and step by step guides for pregnancy health. Exercise can help with issues like SPD through muscle strengthening: http://www.fittamamma.com/section.php/161/1/exercise_help_spd_
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