SPD is a common condition during pregnancy (full name, Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, also known as PGP or Pelvic Girdle Pain) and coping without pain medication can be tricky. If you’ve been diagnosed, some of these tips might just help.
If you take nothing else from this post but this, please know what I’m about to share with you is the biggest secret known to SPD sufferers for pain relief… (IMO)
1. Get in the water!
Preferably one of those super-cosy, warm pools, because that’s another thing no one tells you (why are we all so hung up on pretending that pregnancy is so rosy?), warm water is your new best friend. From 6-9 months of pregnancy I had a bath, every.single.day. The water bill *just about* coped with the unwielding usage (I saw it as compensation for all the final moments of “me” time I was missing out on due to being in permanent and severe pain).
The hospital physio assessed me on a pain scale of 1-10. At each and every appointment I would say, sorrowfully, “9.5?” Because 10 just seemed like I was making a fuss, but in reality it was a 12 every time.
2. Lean on all of the support that you can
Family and friends are priceless in this scenario. Getting a lift to and from the endless list of hospital appointments, help with cooking or shopping (top tip – cash in on those first time, online shopping vouchers if you haven’t already. They are also useful post c-section or with sore stitches recovery from vaginal delivery).
3. Get a pregnancy pillow!
You know the one, long, fat, snakey-looking thing (I’m yet to relinquish mine *still* and I’m well out the other side of pregnancy. Hey, they’re damn comfy!) Although any position in bed was not conducive to long-lasting levels of pain alleviation it was supremely increased by pillow usage.
4. Get a car/ chair cushion
A great friend of mine (incidentally also gifted me the snake pillow- she’s defintely a keeper) rocked up to my house one day with this navy blue, moley, velvety, skinny-cheese-wedge looking thing, with a hole in the middle. To this day I have no concept of how or why it worked but it kept me driving throughout a highly immobile pregnancy and for that sense of independence and dignity I remain forever grateful.
5. Take pregnancy photos
Take at least one a month for the length of full gestation, to look back over as your body grades up in abdominal size exponentially. At the time my mental health was at an all-time low, genuinely believing walking (let alone the running I was gaily doing at 20 weeks – ha ha ha, that girl was a fool!) was an activity of the past and one I 100% took for granted. Each day I thought of the things I would be doing if I didn’t have SPD; walking my sheep dog, eating all this cake I’d heard about from other expectant mums, galloping around the country, catching trains to see far flung friends before I was forever bound to my home town.
I hate that the fear of experiencing this again is the biggest barrier we face to potentially having more babies. The guilt for the dog was bad but how do you deal with a busy toddler if you’re immobile? Would it be wrong to have another? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself regularly and I’m yet to find an answer which isn’t that I’m selfish for even considering it.
In the thick of those 40 weeks (and 4 days- oof, hours and minutes feel like a lifetime in those last few weeks don’t they?) the promise I made to my poor pelvis was, NEVER again! And yet, now… I’m not so sure.