Sarah Davies Therapies

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Pregnancy SPD / PGP Self-Help

Posted on 21 March, 2015 at 17:25

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) / Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Pelvic pain during pregnancy is common, but some women may experience extreme discomfort from as early as the first trimester.


Mild, moderate or severe pain in the pubic bone, hips, groin, lower abdomen, buttocks, lower back and inner thighs, on one side or both, that may be accompanied with a clicking sound or sensation.

Symptoms are aggravated by the increasing weight of the baby, changes in the body's centre of gravity and posture.

The condition is usually diagnosed by its symptoms, through assessments of the pelvic joints and spine and sometimes an ultrasound.

The cause

It is common during pregnancy due to the pregnancy hormone 'relaxin' that soften the ligaments of the body and allows the pelvis to open to make room for the baby during birth.

This condition is becoming more popular, possible due to changes in modern lifestyles. Women are spending more time sitting, through desk jobs or driving, so muscles are less toned and unable to support the pelvic girdle.

At the other end of the spectrum, women who have exercised excessively may already have a weakened pelvic structure.

Also, a slight displacement of the pelvis means there is already unequal stress prior to pregnancy.

Self Help

  • Sit with a straight, well supported back
  • keep the knees together when you stand up and turn over in bed
  • Wear flat, supporting shoes
  • Sit tall when driving - you may need to adjust the mirror each morning as your posture changes
  • Avoid bending, squatting, over stretching and taking the stairs whenever possible
  • Use pillows to support when sitting and sleeping. Keep your legs parallel to prevent your top leg twisting across your body
  • The yoga Cat Paws position on all fours can help release tension and help to strengthen the muscles
  • Tucking your 'tail bone' (coccyx) under will help to stretch out the lower back muscles. This might be easier to do while laying on your back
  • Massage can help to gently stretch, tone and strengthen the supporting muscles
  • Reflexology may help to ease pain when massage is not suitable
  • Find the position that is most comfortable for you - some may find that keeping the legs closed help to ease the discomfort, while others prefer the legs being apart slightly
  • Visit your GP if you are in severe or constant pain

These will not be able to cure the condition during pregnancy. As pregnancy progresses, the amount of relaxing increases and the baby gets heavier, creating even more of a strain on the pubis.


It is possible to have a vaginal birth, the best position would be on all fours.

Avoid stirrups if possible.

A water birth would help to support your joints, but extra care must be taken when entering and exiting the pool.


You may find after delivery the condition improves. You will still need to be careful to avoid excessive leg abduction movements for 4-6 weeks.

Gentle back, abdominal and pelvic floor exercises will help to strengthen the pelvis.

Massage or reflexology from a trained therapist in postnatal care can help support your recovery.




Categories: Pregnancy

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Reply Ellmots
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