7 Tips to Help with Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction Related Pain During Pregnancy

by Dr Miné Willemse

Some pregnant mommies experience something called Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction (SPD), also known as “lightning crotch”.

Pretty much any mum will agree that being pregnant was pure magic, but goodness can it push you to your limit. As your body grows through many changes, some aches and pains are just inescapable. Due to the evolving body weight distribution, forward shift of the center of gravity, ligamentous laxity and changes in gait patterns, some pregnant mommies experience something called Pubic Symphysis Dysfunction or in short SPD, which is also known as “lightning crotch”.

This is a feeling that almost a fifth of all pregnant women know all too well. It is that kind of pain that can leave a mama gasping for air when rolling over in bed when hubby is snoring or stop her mid-step on her afternoon walk.

During pregnancy the hormone relaxin causes ligamentous laxity and breaks down collagen in the pelvic joints – all to adapt for the growing baby and in preparation for birth. This can contribute to the pelvic joints moving unevenly which may result in a less stable pelvis. This explains why moving, walking and sitting can all be so very painful.

Other than visiting your chiropractor for your regular adjustments to realign the pelvic joints and reduce the inflammation in these joints, here are some helpful tips to help you through the remainder of your pregnancy until baba is born.

  1. Walking: Try walking with shorter steps. Avoid uneven loading of the pelvis by carrying heavy objects in a backpack or hold it close to your chest.
  2. Rolling over in bed: Bend your knees to 90 degrees, gently tense the belly for stability then roll with your knees, hips, and shoulders together like a log.
  3. Getting dressed: Avoid shifting your weight by standing on one leg to get dressed, rather sit down on the edge of the bed or on a chair.
  4. Getting in a car: Turn your back to the seat and aim your bum towards the seat. Once seated, keep your knees together and slowly turn forward. Getting out is the same process in reverse.
  5. Sleep: Use a pillow between the knees to avoid rotation of your pelvis.
  6. Taking the stairs: Face the railing and try going up the stairs sideways, taking one step at a time.
  7. Sitting: Avoid leaning to one side more than the other, sit as evenly as possible with equal weight on both sit bones. Avoid sitting cross-legged.

Mama, don’t panic.  For many, this pain may resolve in a few months after birth, once the hormones dial down. However, some moms may struggle a bit longer.  If this happens it is always a good idea to check in with your chiropractor. Do not suffer through dysfunction.