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Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a common complaint among pregnant women. Otherwise known as pelvic girdle pain, it's a pain that develops in your pelvis and worsens as your pregnancy progresses. Naturally, any pregnancy-related pain feels concerning and so you'll want to do what you can to resolve it. Here's how physiotherapy can help reduce your SPD.
Strengthening Your Pelvic Floor
SPD is more painful when your pelvic floor muscles struggle to support your growing organs. The less support your pelvic floor muscles offer, the more likely your pelvic bones will shift. Your physiotherapist will guide you through the way pelvic floor exercises work and assess whether you're performing them correctly. From there, they'll advise on how often to perform them at home and tailor your plan as your pregnancy progresses. Alongside reducing SPD pain, pelvic floor exercises can make giving birth easier.
Your transverse abdominal muscles take a lot of strain during pregnancy. As your abdomen grows, they'll separate slightly. As these muscles play a role in supporting your pelvis, their weakening can result in worsening SPD pain. Exercises they may recommend include abdominal tilts while lying down and diaphragmatic breathing. The exercises they recommend are safe to perform during pregnancy. They become especially useful during the second and third trimesters, as stronger abdominal muscles support your back too. Your physio team will recommend exercises based on your capabilities and current physical state.
If you're experiencing SPD, your pelvis is less stable than when you're not pregnant. Your physio can offer advice on pelvic stability positions and exercises. Such exercises include sitting on a birthing ball and circling in one direction, then repeating the action in the opposite direction. Such exercises tilt your pelvis back into a balanced position and can reduce your pain during the day. They may also offer advice on sitting and sleeping in the right posture. This can include the use of pregnancy pillows.
Some women require supportive aids to reduce their SPD pain. You're more likely to need them towards the end of your second trimester and throughout the third. Aids can include support belts, which distribute the weight of your bump evenly. If your pain is particularly severe, you might also need crutches.
Most women find that their SPD pain disappears after giving birth. If your pain worsens during your pregnancy, continue to reach out to your physiotherapist and medical team for advice.Share