How Physiotherapy Can Help Pregnant Women With SPD

Leon Bowman

When you first become pregnant, you hear about -- or directly experience -- issues with pregnancy like morning sickness, heartburn or pressure on the bladder. Most women don't think about having serious trouble walking or moving around.

But an issue called symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD), where the ligaments that hold the pelvic bone in place become too stretchy, can cause those women who suffer from it to be unable to walk, turn over in bed or even sit without pain.

What Causes SPD?

During pregnancy, your body loosens up so that you can more easily get the baby out. A hormone called relaxin helps with this, gradually amping up in your body until it is time to deliver. In some women, though, your body produces too much of this hormone, too early.

As a result, the ligaments relax and your pelvic bone doesn't stay in place. When you walk, stand up or turn over, the entire pelvic joint can move around. That causes instability and, sometimes, serious pain.

What Can You Do To Minimize the Pain of SPD?

The amount of pain that a pregnant woman can feel from SPD varies tremendously. Some experience twinges of pain when doing a twisting movement, while others can be in chronic pain nearly all the time, to the point of being unable to support weight. No matter how much pain you are in, you can find relief through work with a physiotherapist. He or she can help you with the following:

  • Wear a support belt that is designed specifically for pregnancy. Your physiotherapist may have a recommendation for one that will best work in your situation.
  • Plan and perform regular exercises. Kegels and pelvic tilts can help the muscles in your pelvic area become more supportive.
  • Guide you through proper methods for getting dressed, putting shoes on, rolling over in bed, and other painful movements that are necessary for day-to-day living.

In some cases, your regular OBGYN can give you a referral to a physiotherapist who specializes in pregnancy and SPD. Some practitioners will play down the impact of SPD, however, and suggest you just get through the pain as part of pregnancy. 

Finally, some doctors will give the go-ahead to take some pain medications that are normally not recommended for pregnancy. For example, ibuprofen is generally not suggested for pregnancy because it can cause some issues near delivery, but some doctors will permit you to take it in the second trimester. If this is the case, follow your doctor's directions to the letter and depend on the strengthening exercises recommended by your physiotherapist to help you get through the third trimester.

To learn more, contact a company like Synergy Health Centre