SPD stands for symphysis pubic dysfunction. It is a problem related to the pelvis and is commonly associated with childbirth and pregnancy.
The pelvis is formed of two bones which curve round to make a cradle shape and meet at the front of your pelvis at a firm joint called the symphysis pubis. The joint connection is made by a dense network of ligaments which makes it strong. During pregnancy, the joint becomes less stable due to pain and swelling.
During pregnancy, a hormone named relaxin is released in the body. It makes the ligaments of the joint soft and flexible for the smooth passage of the baby during parturition. The release of relaxin does not result in SPD always as the nerves and muscles adapt and compensate for the flexibility.
SPD occurs when the body is unable to adapt so well to the loose ligaments. SPD is triggered when the movement of the joints in the pelvis is uneven caused by changes in the working pattern of the muscles supporting the joints. When one pelvic joint does not work properly causing knock-on pain in the other joint.
Common symptoms of SPD
- Pain in the pubic area and groins
- Back pain or hip pain
- Pain along with grinding and clicking sensation
- Constant pain in thighs and between the legs
- Pain while parting the legs and moving around
Presence of any of the symptoms should not be ignored and a doctor should be consulted to avoid complications during labor.
During labor, the pubic symphysis separates naturally so it might not cause a problem. But prevention is better than cure. There are certain things one should not ignore during labor. They are listed below.
- Most doctors recommend induction or C section for women with SPD, but it is on you whether you want to do it naturally or want to go for a C section. If giving birth naturally is not possible, don’t do it forcibly.
- At the time of delivery, the most suitable position should be taken so that the joint receives less strain. Kneel or stand to prevent strain on the pelvis. Lean on your partner, over a pile of pillow or birthing ball to be comfortable.
- When you start feeling tired, rather than lying on your back, lie on your side, with your midwife or partner supporting the upper leg.
- Tell your doctor mow much you can part your legs comfortably, this is called the pain free gap. Make sure you do not widen your legs any more than your comfort zone.
- If your legs are placed on the stirrups, it will put a strain on your pelvis so you cannot hold onto this position for long.
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