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.

If you are referred to an obstetric physiotherapist for Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)/Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) they are likely to advise you on exercises that strengthen your pelvis, stomach and back. You may also get a pelvic support belt to give more support in this area.

If you’re having pain, you should talk to your doctor or midwife about this as soon as possible.

Aside from physiotherapy exercises, you should still continue to stay active in any way that is not painful. Your level of activity will depend on how severe your SPD is. It can be very frustrating if you used to exercise regularly and have to stop.

Exercise examples

It is important to remember that, although common, SPD/PGP affects women differently. So what works for one person might not work for another.

If you are able to, try different exercises until you find one that works for you.

Some women report that cycling causes no pain while walking is very uncomfortable, others say that swimming or aquanatal exercises are fine but certain yoga positions make their symptoms worse.

If swimming works for you, just avoid the breast stroke, as this is likely to cause you pain.

Remember

Stop any activity that causes pain.

Exercise classes and SPD/PGP

If you try yoga, Pilates or another group exercise class, go for a pregnancy-specific one, or make sure your instructor is used to teaching pregnant women. Tell them that you have SPD/PGP and they should be able to help you find out how to exercise as safely and comfortably as possible.

Read more about symphysis pubis dysfunction

More about exercise in pregnancy

Sources

  1. Macdonald S, et al. (2012). Mayes Midwifery, fourteenth edition. Balliere Tindall.
  2. NHS Choices. (2016). Pelvic pain in pregnancy. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pelvic-pain-pregnant-spd/. (Last review: 28/07/2016. Next review: 28/07/2019.)
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Last reviewed on July 31st, 2018. Next review date July 31st, 2021.

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