The truth is, while your body was made for labor and delivery, it still has do go through some pretty significant changes to make room for baby. So depending on your body shape and bone structure, your bones, joints and ligaments will have to adjust to help you push the baby out.|
To help do that, your body produces an aptly named hormone called relaxin to allow the usually taut ligaments that connect the three bones of your pelvis to relax and make way for baby. While this added flexibility is quite useful during labor and delivery, it can cause pain during pregnancy, sometimes in the form of SPD, or Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, also called Pelvic Girdle Pain. The good news is that while up to 25% of women experience some form of SPD during pregnancy, only about 7% have symptoms after giving birth.
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction occurs most commonly as a result of the hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy. With SPD, there is increased front and/or side-to-side movement of the symphysis pubis joint, which connects the two halves of the front pelvis, and causes pain with movement.
Read on for more info about SPD and how to alleviate the pain associated with it.
Many women don't get an early diagnosis with this condition and suffer for months before seeing help. It's helpful to diagnose SPD as early as possible so appropriate treatment can be given. Many healthcare providers aren't aware of this condition or don't know that there are treatments, so it's important for women who suspect they may have this condition be proactive and ask for a referral to a physical therapist who is trained in treating SPD. Appropriate care should include a thorough exam to make sure that other conditions are not causing the symptoms.
Treatment for SPD can vary widely depending on a woman's degree of pain and disability. For some women, a pelvic support belt and pregnancy safe pain medication can decrease discomfort and enable them to continue with their daily activities. A course of physical therapy can provide exercises that can improve stability and therapy that reduces pain, and is strongly advised to help prevent increased disability and help speed postpartum recovery. Visit the American Physical Therapy Association website for information on physical therapists in your area who specialize in women's health.
Birthing Techniques for SPD
SPD sufferers aren't advised to have a cesarean section except in instances where the woman has extreme disability and restricted movement. In addition, caution should be used with pain medications during labor as the medications may mask the pain and allow a woman to strain the joint and increase the injury. It's important for women with SPD to make all caregivers in the birthing room aware of their condition and instruct them on safe birthing positions. Some literature recommends that women who have SPD birth in an upright position with knees slightly apart, not exceeding the degree where pain sets in. During labor, keep in mind:
What is SPD (or Pelvic Girdle Pain)?
All You Need to Know about Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
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