My experience with Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) in pregnancy.
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) has completely changed my life. In April, 2014 I had an amazing news that I was pregnant with my first daughter. When I was 5 month pregnant and was shopping with my husband, I suddenly felt a pain near my pelvis. Something just hit me under my stomach just above the pelvis and I could not make a step forward. I had to sit, but when I stood up and tried to walk again, the pain came back. It was the most horrible pain ever I have experienced in my life.
The pain was so bad after finally coming home that evening, I called my GP in the morning. Doctor told me that pelvic pain was normal for all pregnant women and that I should walk and exercise more. I was shocked, how was this pain ”normal”?. How could I exercise when I could not even make a step, I could not even stand still and move on my own…
The pain just became worse and worse day by day and nothing would help. As we all know pregnant women can not take any strong painkillers, so I was on the Paracetamol. I kept going to doctors every other day. My pain was getting even worse and less bearable as my pregnancy was moving towards the end and baby was heavier. On one of the hospital appointments doctor referred me to the Women’s Health Clinic in the Physiotherapy department. My Physiotherapy appointment took 5 weeks to come in the post so meanwhile I was just waiting. This time I am already 7 month pregnant and I scream from pelvic pains. I finally went to the Physiotherapy appointment and it did not help at all.
So I am stuck, confused, crying at home. Everyone thought I would continue my life in wheelchair. I have found private Physiotherapists who would come home to give me massages, they would charge me £100 per visit and I have taken about 5 of these visits, but they never helped either. My pain was just going worse and worse.
This was my first pregnancy so I was also worried how I was going to give birth, how the labour would be, I wanted to have more children, would I even be able to have more children again or not?.. All these questions came in my head and I had no answers. Doctors were against the C section. By this time I had already gained 45kgs extra, bear in mind that my normal weight was always 60kg before pregnancy and at the end of my pregnancy I was already 95kgs.
I felt so isolated, I was in my bed for two and a half month of the pregnancy. I could not even go to the toilet on my own. My husband would take me in his hands and give me shower himself. The last two months of pregnancy I was at the stage that I was doing everything in my bed. I felt so frustrated that I could not decorate my baby’s furniture, I could not prepare a room for her, my family members had to help with everything and I was just watching.. watching and could not even imagine what would be tomorrow, the day after, how my life would even continue.
Throughout the pregnancy, I clung on to the fact that once the baby arrived I would be ‘cured’. Numerous midwives and doctors all assured me of this and I had no reason to believe otherwise. Following a difficult delivery in which the forceps had to be used my first daughter Elizabeth was born. The labour lasted 18 hours and I was more than exhausted. Everything was fine with the baby and they let us go home the following morning.
Exactly 8 weeks after giving birth to my daughter, I still could not walk. I was taking very strong painkillers and could not breastfeed my baby. This was so dramatic because as soon as she was born she did breastfeed and I am sure it would go well, but I did not take a risk of giving her my breast because of the amount of painkillers I was taking. Also the strong medications has dried out my milk completely in 2 weeks time. I was so happy that my baby was born, at the same time I was so frustrated that I could not even hold my baby properly and move around in the house with her. My mum would bring her to me in the bed so I could play a little bit with her and would take her again.
What are the symptoms of SPD?
Pain in the pubic area and groin are the most common symptoms, though you may also notice:
- Back pain, pain at the back of your pelvis or hip pain.
- Grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area.
- Strong pain down the inside of your thighs or between your legs.
- Pain that’s made worse by parting your legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed.
- Pain that’s worse at night and stops you from sleeping well. Getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful.
After 8 weeks postnatal, my pains started to fade away. I was learning to walk again like a child who learns her first steps. By the time my daughter was 4 months old, I could walk properly again. I had also lost all 45kgs in 4 months and returned to my normal weight which was always 60kg.
The reason of me writing this post is to relate to some people who have been in a similar situation as me. The fact that doctors tell you, you will be fine, you will! it just takes all the time and all the energy in the world, but eventually you will get better. You are not alone, if I have done this and fought for it, you can do this too. My advise would be to keep a diet, do not let your body to gain a lot of weight and drink plenty of water (at least 2-3 litres a day). I blame this to myself, if I had taken a good care and have not eaten so much and drank water as required, I would not gain so much weight and maybe the SPD would not happen to me as well.
I have decided to include my photos in this post from that time. So sorry that you have to see this, but by doing this I am hoping that I can help people in the same situation. When I was researching the interned at that time, I could not find any information, but hopefully I can help someone. My main message is : Do not worry! You are not alone! This happens to some people and we had to be one of them unfortunately. Be strong and remember that everything will be fine very soon!
Lastly, please let me know if you find this post helpful and comment below with your stories or questions.
Thank you so much for reading!