Wendy Powell

Causes And Risk Factors For Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) & Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) In Pregnancy

curved line

This is the third instalment on Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) / Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

We already looked at exercises to alleviate SPD and how to minimise discomfort during everyday activity. So now you’re hopefully a little more comfortable, we’ll go to part 3 of these posts, and have a look at causes and risk factors for symphysis pubis dysfunction and pelvic girdle pain.

The sacrum is at the base of your spine, above your coccyx, and fits between the two halves of the pelvis. These pelvic bones are called the iliac bones. This is where the sacroiliac joints are formed (the 2 dimples in the small of your back). These three bones of the pelvis -the sacrum and the two iliac bones – form a ring.

The iliac bones meet at the front of the pelvis, forming a joint called the symphysis pubis. This joint is extremely vulnerable during pregnancy. Both raised levels of the hormone relaxin and pressure from your baby cause the joint to become more elastic and to widen in preparation for birth. This makes the whole pelvic joint less stable. The pain of SPD is not necessarily related to the degree of separation but owes more to the instability of the whole pelvis.

Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, now known as Pelvic Girdle Pain refers to pregnancy-induced instability, pain and dysfunction of the symphysis pubis joint and/or the sacroiliac joint.

Some pain in the area is felt by 50-70% of pregnant women. 14-22% of women have serious PGP, with 5-8% having severe pain or disability.*

There are no clear causes or risk factors for SPD / PGP, however, the pain experienced is associated with a misalignment of the pelvis (at any of the joints) and maybe (less so) related to hormone levels.

If you have suffered from SPD / PGP in previous pregnancies; have been subject to pelvic injury or any misalignment to the spine or pelvis (including due to poor alignment, ergonomic working positions or heavy workloads); if your joints were particularly mobile pre-pregnancy or if you were very overweight – you may be more susceptible.

The MUTU System Program is safe and beneficial during a healthy, low-risk pregnancy. The 12 Week Program is safe for pregnant women. It focuses on alignment, muscle stretching and release, core and pelvic floor muscle connection and engagement, and includes low impact, more intensive workouts for you to progress to when you’re ready.

MUTU System programs are recommended and endorsed by specialist Physiotherapists and Industry experts.

Life-Changing Results for Moms

  • Thick
    Approved as safe + effective in Clinical trials
  • Thick
    Evidence based solution for fat loss, diastasis recti + pelvic floor
  • Thick
    Stream Pre + Postpartum workouts on-demand from any device
  • Thick
    Inclusive, expert-led support community
  • Thick
    Track your step by step progress in the MUTU Hub


Glen DanielsNovember 9, 2011

Indeed raising awareness about SPD and the difficulties women have with this often debilitating problem is very important.  I’ve been trying to promote the good work that Osteopaths can do to help women in pain with this condition.  We often have pregnant ladies turn up to our clinics that have been told by their GP’s and physiotherapist that nothing can be done.
This is simply incorrect and osteopaths have been successfully treated this conditon for many years.  My wife suffered from severe SPD during our last pregnancy, the symptoms carried on long after birth.  After just a single treatment with an osteopath 95% of this had gone (this is one of the reasons I chose osteopathy as my career).  There is really no need sit around In pain, give osteopathy a try and if/when it works, inform other of your success. 

Related Articles

Pregnancy Weight Gain. How Much Is Too Much?

Read More

Pregnancy Ab Workout | What You Need To Know

Read More

Pregnancy Diet | What To Eat and What To Avoid

Read More

Diastasis Recti During Pregnancy

Read More

Diastasis Recti In Pregnancy

Read More

Working Out During Pregnancy With MUTU System

Read More

Explore similar articles