Distressed like a mum

Style-guru, Dress Like a Mum, has been on Instagram stories talking about Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) recently. We thought we’d share a few tips with anyone else who might be suffering.

A picture of Zoë de Pass (Dress Like a Mum) standing against a brick wall with a visible baby bump

Pregnancy blog, 09/01/2018

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) / Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) affects up to 1 in 5 pregnant women, and it sounds like Zoë de Pass (Dress Like a Mum) is unfortunately one of them.

What is SPD?

SPD is a common pregnancy condition that causes pelvic pain during pregnancy. It can range from a dull ache to severe pain, but the majority will only get it mildly.

The symptoms of SPD include:

  • pain in the pubic area
  • pain in the lower back, in some cases
  • grinding or clicking sensations in the pubic area.

These symptoms can sometimes be made worse by certain types of exercise, parting your legs widely or standing on one leg.

What can help ease SPD pain?

This is the main question Dress Like a Mum (DLAM) has been asking her Instagram followers. We have a few simple tips for her, and anyone else who might be struggling:

1. Wear flat supportive shoes

DLAM is living proof that flat shoes can be exciting. If you can, get to the January sales and grab a pair of comfy trainers. Or better yet…

2. Shop online

If your pain is bad, and too much walking and trolley-pushing makes it worse, then get your food and other shopping done online and delivered to your door. Most companies will take the food to your kitchen to save you the heavy lifting too.

3. Avoid activities that make your pain worse

It’s a good idea to avoid things that make you widen your legs too far. For example, try taking the stairs one leg at a time and roll out of bed.

Watch this video about preventing back and pelvic pain for other examples:

4. Find an exercise that works for you

Not being able to move as freely as you did before can be annoying. Some women find that cycling doesn’t cause them pain even if walking is really difficult, and others find that swimming works because the water can support you. If you do try swimming, avoid breaststroke.

Remember! Stop an activity if it is causing you pain.

Find out more about exercising with SPD and swimming in pregnancy

5. Ask to be referred to a physiotherapist

A physio can help you with exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor, stomach and other muscles, give you advice about your birth plan and labour, and suggest things for you to try like a support belt or crutches.

As soon as you think you might be suffering with SPD, talk to your midwife or doctor and ask for an early referral.

Find out more about treatment for SPD

Specialist SPD support

Visit the Pelvic Partnership website for more advice about dealing with SPD.

More on SPD

  • Woman holding her back in discomfort.


    Aches and pains

    Having suffered with back pain for about a year since I slipped a disc, I was worried that pregnancy may cause me increased problems. Sure enough it has!

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    Can I exercise with SPD/PGP?

    Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), also known as pelvic girdle pain (PGP), is a fairly common pregnancy condition. It is caused by the way pelvic joints move during pregnancy. It can make exercise more difficult but there are things you can do.

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    Pelvic pain in pregnancy (SPD)

    Pelvic pain is common in pregnancy and is known as Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) or Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). The pain is caused by stiffness or uneven movements of the pelvic joints in pregnancy, which affects up to 1 in 5 women.

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