Tips for addressing pregnancy pain (symphysis pubis dysfunction)?
October 15, 2021 4:03 PM   Subscribe

Just diagnosed with symphysis pubis dysfunction and really struggling - was there anything that worked for you?

I'm just over 27 weeks with Baby Synesthesia #2 and for the last couple of weeks have been dealing with steadily escalating pain in my hips, lower back, buttocks, and legs. I am struggling to walk even short distances because every step is painful; have to take stairs one step at a time (i.e., lift up one foot, then the other, to the same step); and have found it agonizing to try to flip over in bed.

My doctor agrees that this all seems to fit the profile of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) and is extremely sympathetic but expects I won't get real relief (hopefully) until after the baby is born. In the meantime, she has suggested:

- physical therapy (I had my first session yesterday; now have some exercises to do daily but no immediate results, as expected)

- sports medicine examination (going next week)

- Tylenol as needed (trying to take only sparingly)

- wearing a maternity support belt (I've ordered a couple to try)

I've been lucky to have avoided chronic pain up until now and I'm finding it very difficult (physically and emotionally) to be in some degree of pain virtually every waking minute, and this is compounded by the guilt of not being able to be nearly as present for my extremely active two-year-old. (My husband has thankfully been great about picking up the slack, but I was so looking forward to these last few months of enjoying one-on-one time with our toddler and now I can't even go for a walk with him without worrying that I literally won't be able to get myself back home, let alone run after him if he darts away.)

If you've dealt with SPD or something similar, was there anything that helped you? I'm not expecting a cure but any degree of relief would be welcomed. (As would any tips about staying connected with my firstborn when our usual favorite activities like walks/park trips/farmers' market visits aren't going to be possible for the foreseeable future.)
posted by Synesthesia to Health & Fitness (12 answers total)
Best answer: I had very bad pain, including mild SPD and very severe sacroiliac dysfunction, in my pregnancy. I tried so many things and nothing gave perfect relief but here are some things to try:
A warm bath
More supportive shoes
Extra pillows in bed
Keeping knees together when rolling over in bed
Myofascial release in physical therapy
A support belt did not really help me but it could help you
Lots of ice packs
posted by mai at 4:45 PM on October 15, 2021

Sorry, and by extra pillow in bed, I meant one pillow for my head, one in front of my body, one behind my back, and one between my knees.
posted by mai at 4:50 PM on October 15, 2021

Best answer: I wore an ice pack in my underwear for several months of my second pregnancy. My heart goes out to you, it's hard!
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 5:23 PM on October 15, 2021

Best answer: Ugh, it sucks so much. If you're a person who like me tends to put all your weight on one side - stop that. Stay centered as much as you can. Also no more crossing your legs.

Belts helped me a little if you could get them tight.

It'll get better once the baby is out but for me it wasn't right away, it took 4-5 months to feel okay-ish and a year or so for my pubic bone to stop feeling fragile.

I recommend cuddling sessions in bed with illicit tractor/excavator youtubes, for firstborn.
posted by stray at 5:29 PM on October 15, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I bought some kind of foam orthopedic cushion for my desk chair at work and used it on the chairs at home as well. I feel like it helped a little, and at least raised me up so I didn’t have to boost myself to standing from quite so low. Pillows against my back helped too for similar reasons.

Ice packs on my groin, and I turned over in bed for a while by gripping the headboard and using my arms but it still sucked. If I had to do it again I’d probably try to rig up some kind of rope under the mattress or bed frame so I could pull myself one way or the other with mostly my arms.

Otherwise I tried to engineer my life as much as possible to avoid walking or stairs. My husband would drop me off at the entrance and then go park the car. I hired a cleaning person to scrub the house every so often. Slip on shoes or my husband put on my shoes for me. Long maxi dresses or skirts I could put on over my head instead of pants because it hurt to haul up one leg and then the other. It’s miserable but it does end and it was drastically better after I had the baby (not totally, but very noticeably improved).
posted by castlebravo at 6:52 PM on October 15, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I didn't have SPD, I'm sorry that sounds so terrible. I did have a lot of hip and uh, down there pain, from the weight. It helped me a lot to get into a pool - do you have access to one? I also got acupuncture and massage weekly - it helped tremendously.
posted by Toddles at 8:36 PM on October 15, 2021

Best answer: A u-shaped pregnancy pillow that I tucked between my knees while lying down; my PT recommended lying down as much as possible during the day, with feet elevated if possible; and a hot shower before bed. Nothing else really helped me. And the light at the end of the tunnel is that the pain literally disappeared the day I gave birth.
posted by popoosh at 9:18 PM on October 15, 2021

Best answer: MOMMASTRONG.COM! Godsend. (not a replacement for PT but a great program and excellent community)
posted by athirstforsalt at 11:48 PM on October 15, 2021

Best answer: I had it bad for 2/3 pregnancies. Putting an ice pack on my crotch helped tremendously. Also, the good news is that the pain goes away pretty much right after delivery.
posted by katypickle at 1:49 PM on October 16, 2021

Best answer: Physical therapy really helped me, along with a support belt that included a support strap that went under my crotch, not just one with support for my belly. It felt ridiculous putting it on and it got so sweaty and nasty (summer pregnancy) but honestly, I almost wasn't in pain wearing it. If you haven't ordered one yet memail me and I'll see if I can find the exact one I bought.
posted by potrzebie at 4:57 PM on October 16, 2021

Response by poster: Thank you all so very, very much - lots of good advice in here that I'll be putting to use. Induction date is on the calendar (being induced for other health reasons, not this) so that's hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel. (And stray, how could you have known how much firstborn loves tractors and excavators?? Will definitely be adding some of those videos into the mix!)
posted by Synesthesia at 10:26 AM on October 17, 2021

I had similar problems and found that I got most relief when floating in water and doing light exercise in the swimming pool. Learning to roll over properly, knees together, and pivoting on my butt vs stretching and twisting out of bed, car or chair was also important.

Belts helped too but worked best when strapped on while lying down.

It does disappear past birth and I wish I had known about momma strong earlier to use for post partum recovery
posted by pipstar at 9:36 AM on October 19, 2021

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