SPD is a very unfortunate symptom that occurs in approximately 1 in 35 pregnant women. Because I have had to battle SPD during this pregnancy, I have learned a lot more about what it is and the things that can help ease the pain.
What is SPD? In a nutshell, it is thought to be caused by the relaxin hormone that over relaxes the pubic/pelvic/ sacral joints. This extra relaxation or misalignment can cause severe pain in pregnancy and makes regular tasks more difficult. Anything that causes a woman to separate her legs much (such as walking up stairs, putting on pants, getting in and out of a vehicle, etc…) will be a dilemma. I especially hate trying to turn over in bed, because the SPD will cause a burning pain that almost immobilizes me at night. Everyone who experiences SPD may have it to a different degree and may feel the symptoms in various places in their body. It may be low back pain, low rectal pain, pubic pain, groin pain, or sciatic pain.
So what can be done about it? Well, unfortunately there is not a 100% fix for SPD, but there are some things that can help. One of which is chiropractic care. However, it should be a chiropractor who is trained in the Webster technique and who specializes in pre-natal patients. There is also massage therapy, acupressure, ice on the area, maternity belts, and positional therapy. Exercises and stretches can help, but generally keeping the pelvis and hips aligned is one of the best things that you can do.
One can develop SPD as early as 12 weeks in pregnancy or it may not show up until the third trimester. Most resources state that it will diminish after the baby is born as long as there has not been any concrete damage done during the birthing process. If you are diagnosed with SPD, it can make certain labor and birth positions uncomfortable. If possible avoid pushing in the supine/lying down position. If you are going to have an epidural, be sure that the distance that you can spread your legs comfortably is measured prior to the medication. Therefore, you will not unknowingly do permanent damage while the epidural is in place.
The SPD pain has made certain things a challenge for me, such as playing on the floor with my toddler. But, there are always ways to navigate challenges and so I continue to do what I can and I recognize that I will not always have this problem. My husband jokes that this is my last pregnancy, because it has been difficult to handle the SPD and I have to have his help with simple tasks such as lifting heavy laundry baskets, etc… but it doesn’t mean that I will have it in subsequent pregnancies. I like to take one step at a time and not look too far ahead. There are so many other pregnancy problems that could have happened and haven’t, so I don’t mind the discomfort so much. However, I do want pregnant women to be aware of what SPD is so that they will have some options if they develop this symptom.
Here are some web resources that have tips and information on SPD.