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We get a lot of questions coming in through our DM’s and this episode is a response to a request from one of those lovely listeners who was diagnosed with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) at week 15 of pregnancy.
What is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, you ask? Apart from being a mouthful to say, it can also be referred to as pelvic girdle pain and it’s something I struggled with during my third and fourth pregnancies. And let me tell you, it’s painful.
To help answer some questions surrounding pelvic girdle pain, what it is, why women get it and what can be done about it, I’m joined by Kath Baquie, a perinatal physiotherapist, mum of three young girls with plenty of personal and professional experience in the area.
Kath is the founder of FitNest Mama, an online membership providing support and inspiration for pregnant women and new mums. In this episode we talk about the different reasons why some women develop pelvic girdle pain, the common risk factors and different ways to help ease the pain and discomfort associated with it.
We talk about the importance of taking care of our bodies as they undergo such huge change throughout pregnancy and childbirth and Kath’s recommendation for all women to engage in a postnatal rehab plan.
If you’ve got a little niggle or perhaps battling severe discomfort, this episode will be really helpful for you. Don’t put up with pain if you don’t need to!
Where to find Kath:
Podcast: The FitNest Mama Podcast
[1:40]: A raving review of our podcast!
[3:40]: Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD). A very painful condition that used to be referred to as pelvic instability, which has negative connotations. Kath refers to it as pelvic girdle pain as it emcompasses pain in the front and back areas of the pelvis.
[5:45]: There are many reasons why you could be diagnosed with pelvic girdle pain including hormonal changes and postural changes during pregnancy
[7:45]: Baby positioning can also factor in and Kath has had some clients wake up without any more pain, convinced that their baby had turned overnight.
[8:15]: Kath struggled to walk with pelvic girdle pain during her second pregnancy but the symptoms range from very mild to severe pain in areas including the centre of the pelvis, bottom and thighs.
[10:50]: There isn’t a lot of solid data to determine who might be predisposed. Kath recommends finding ways to prevent lifting, which is difficult if you have a toddler.
[12:20]: Concentrate on the things you know that are causing stress. A lightweight set of steps for a toddler to climb up also helps to foster their independence. Doing this while pregnant helps prepare them for when the baby arrives.
[13:30]: Pelvic girdle pain affects at least 2 in 5 women, which is a very high rate. The common stage of diagnosis is in the second trimester. Being proactive when pain sets in will help.
[14:45]: Ways to prevent pelvic girdle pain:
[16:30]: There is an inflammatory component to pelvic girdle pain so horizontal rest combined with icing for 20 minutes every few hours can really help.
[17:50]: Water aerobics is a great alternative to regular walking and Kath has a range of pelvic girdle pain friendly workouts available in her online program
[19:20]: I’m still having pelvic pain even after 7 years after my youngest. It’s worth taking care of your body.
[19:55]: Pregnancy is an important time to modify your exercise because you’re at greater risk of injury. Pay particular attention to your pelvic floor and core and understand that rehab is a slow process.
[21:20]: Star jumps are one of the worst exercises postpartum because it puts the most downward pressure on the pelvic floor.
[22:30]: If you’re in pain, don’t put up with pain. If self management strategies aren’t working, seek help from a professional. You might benefit from a belt or short term crutch.
[24:00]: Brigid needed a belt during her fourth pregnancy, which really helped. Kath recommends not to buy one online because it might be the wrong size and not work for you. It should provide an immediate feeling of relief.
[25:50]: Tubigrip can also provide great relief as well as SRC shorts
[27:00]: Join our Online pregnancy program, Grow My Baby
[28:10]: A big concern for women is the impact on labour but on the whole, it doesn’t seem to be an issue. If it is, sitting on a fitball or kneeling can be helpful positions.
[30:30]: A TENS machine can also be helpful and provide a distraction for the pain. These are available to hire but make sure you can hire for a decent length and some machines can time your contractions
[33:00]: In the majority of cases, pelvic girdle pain isn’t a huge issue postnatal.
[34:30]: Kath recommends every woman gets started on a postnatal rehab plan, regardless of pelvic pain. Research shows that you reduce your chances of developing pain throughout subsequent pregnancies.
[36:20]: In the ideal world, every woman would have access to a postnatal physio check at the 6 week mark
[38:00]: Kath’s online membership is for women during pregnancy and postpartum and believes that women need to take things step by step and not launch straight back into life before babies.
[40:25]: There can be a lot of pressure to return to normal but, as a society we don’t honour the period of rest and rehab that women require after giving birth.
[43:30]: Take home message is don’t put up with pain. You can’t always fix it but you can stop it from getting worse. Once you’ve had your baby, give your body the love and attention it needs.
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Our expert tips to get the best out of your healthcare team to set you up for success
Our 4 step MAMA framework to help reduce the overwhelm
In this class you will learn:
We work and live on Wadawarrung land. We acknowledge the Elders, past present and emerging. We also acknowledge the rich birthing history of aboriginal women and the connection to country that this has been and always will be.
We have 15+ years of running a busy obstetric practice, helping more than 4000 babies to enter this big beautiful world. We live and breathe babies and we are here to help you become MAMA.