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Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (Pelvic Girdle Pain)

I am currently 22 weeks pregnant and starting to feel some new aches/ pains, stretching in places I don’t want stretched, and (finally!) some baby movement (the only one movement I am excited about)! I have been able to exercise 5-6x/week which helps me boost my energy when I am feeling fatigued. Below is some information on increased instability during pregnancy and things that may help if you are experiencing symptoms of pelvic girdle pain.

Lately, I have had a handful of clients diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain. I myself do not think my symptoms are severe enough for it to be diagnosed, but I have noticed increased movement in my pelvic region especially with running and single leg activities.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD), also known as Pelvic Girdle Pain, affects 1 in 300 women during pregnancy and postpartum. In my experience, I think it probably affects more than this number but is not diagnosed. SPD/pelvic girdle pain means that the ligaments which normally keep your pelvic bones stable and aligned become over relaxed/stretched out during pregnancy, which can make the entire pelvis unstable.

Signs and symptoms include: instability in pelvis, pubic bone pain, perineal pain, upper leg pain, low back discomfort, clicking or grinding in pelvis, difficulty getting comfortable sleeping at night, pain during intercourse. The discomfort/pain can become worse with change in position, rolling side to side, single leg activities, stair climbing, and getting in and out of the car.

Causes: A hormone called RELAXIN (yes, that is the actual name of the hormone), causes laxity and stretching of the ligaments and connective tissue in your body over time so that your little baby can ease his/her way out! In general, if you had increased mobility (ever told you were “double jointed”) prior to pregnancy, more than likely, you will have extra mobility during pregnancy.

What can we do:

  • Keep active!

  • There are some good kinesiotaping techniques that help support the pelvis that can be found on youtube! There are also pelvic support belts that create a “corset” around the pelvic bones which can help stabilize the pelvis.

  • Stabilizing the pelvis through pelvic floor exercises, core exercises, and exercises for hips/pelvis (refer to blog posts on Functionize Facebook)

  • Avoid single leg activities, avoid heavy lifting, sit down to get dressed, engage proper musculature with stair climbing

  • Use a pregnancy pillow/body pillow to find a good sleeping position

  • Avoid crossing your legs at knees

Here is what I have been doing to stabilize my pelvis during my 2nd semester:

  • Orange Theory 2x/week (I have stopped running the entire time due to some lower pelvic/abdominal discomfort that I don’t want to push through. So instead I will break up running with incline power walking)

  • Elliptical/bike cardio 3x/week: I love the elliptical because I feel very stable on it and I can increase my speed and resistance without discomfort.

  • Interval/resistance training 1-2x/week: I have been choosing 3-4 exercises that focus on core and hip stability and doing 2-3 sets of them on my cardio days.

  • A few times I have tried taking my dog for a run/walk but I take it easy if I feel lower abdominal discomfort.

During pregnancy it is best to try and do some sort of exercise most days of the week. Even if that means going for a 30 minute walk, working on proper breathing, or getting in some good house cleaning! Movement is good!

If you are currently pregnant and experiencing any of the signs/symptoms listed above or want to learn proper exercise training during pregnancy, don’t hesitate to come see us at Functionize Health. The Functionize Team works with women during and after pregnancy to keep them feeling great!

Thanks for reading,

Merci Treaster PT, DPT



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