Many women experience discomfort during pregnancy, and one common condition that can arise is Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP), also known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). In this blog, we will delve into what PGP or SPD is, its causes, symptoms, treatment options, and helpful tips to manage the condition.
What is Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?
PGP or SPD refers to the pain and discomfort experienced in the pelvic region during pregnancy. It occurs due to an imbalance or instability in the pelvic joints, particularly the symphysis pubis joint located at the front of the pelvis. The condition can range from mild to severe and may greatly impact a woman's mobility and overall well-being during pregnancy.
Causes of PGP or SPD:
Several factors contribute to the development of PGP or SPD during pregnancy:
1. Hormonal changes: Hormones released during pregnancy, such as relaxin, soften the ligaments and joints in preparation for childbirth. However, this increased flexibility can lead to joint instability and pain.
2. Weight gain: The additional weight gained during pregnancy puts extra stress on the pelvic joints, potentially causing discomfort and pain.
3. Postural changes: As the baby grows, the center of gravity shifts forward, altering the pregnant woman's posture. This change can place strain on the pelvic joints and lead to pain.
Symptoms of PGP or SPD:
The symptoms of PGP or SPD can vary from woman to woman. Some common signs to look out for include:
1. Pain in the pelvic region, groin, lower back, hips, or thighs.
2. Difficulty in walking, climbing stairs, or turning in bed.
3. Clicking or grinding sensation in the pelvic area.
4. Increased pain after prolonged periods of standing or sitting.
5. Worsening pain during activities that involve spreading the legs, such as getting in and out of a car or bed.
While PGP or SPD can be challenging to manage, there are several treatment options available:
1. Physical therapy: A skilled physical therapist can provide exercises and techniques to stabilise and strengthen the pelvic joints, alleviate pain, and improve mobility.
2. Pain management: Applying ice or heat packs to the affected area, taking over-the-counter pain relievers (after consulting a healthcare provider), or using support devices like a pelvic belt may help manage pain.
3. Rest and position changes: Taking frequent breaks, avoiding activities that aggravate the pain, and finding comfortable positions, such as using a pregnancy pillow, can provide relief.
4. Supportive footwear: Wearing shoes with proper arch support and cushioning can help distribute weight evenly and reduce stress on the pelvic joints.
5. Complementary therapies: Techniques such as prenatal yoga, acupuncture, or chiropractic care may offer relief to some women, but it's crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before pursuing these options.
Tips for Managing PGP or SPD:
In addition to professional treatment, the following self-care tips can help manage PGP or SPD:
1. Maintain good posture: Practice good posture while sitting, standing, and walking to reduce strain on the pelvic joints.
2. Gentle exercises: Engage in low-impact exercises recommended by your healthcare provider, such as swimming or prenatal yoga, to strengthen the pelvic area and improve flexibility.
3. Avoid heavy lifting: Minimise activities that involve lifting heavy objects or straining the pelvic joints.
4. Seek support: Connect with other pregnant women or join support groups where you can share experiences, advice, and emotional support.
5. Communicate with your healthcare provider: Regularly update your healthcare provider about your symptoms, progress, and any concerns you may have. They can provide tailored guidance and monitor your condition closely.
Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) can be a challenging aspect of pregnancy, but with the right treatment, self-care, and support, it can be effectively managed. Remember to consult with your healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment plan. By taking care of your physical and emotional well-being, you can navigate through pregnancy with greater comfort and joy.
Are you worried about giving birth with PGP or SPD? Then book onto one of our Antenatal Courses today where we discuss this plus much much more.