SPD and PGP refer to instability, dysfunction, discomfort or pain n the the pelvic region, specifically the symphysis pubis joint and sacro-iliac joints. You need a copy of Gray’s Anatomy just to give a name to your sore joints and back ache once you’re pregnant!
Confused? You’re not alone. A few new clients lately have been feeling a little flummoxed by some of the terms being used for whatever it is they’re suffering from… sometimes midwives, antenatal teachers, doctors, personal trainers or your best friend, don’t use the same language.
So I’ve done a mini glossary of the ones you’re likely to come across or suffer from.
Diastasis Symphysis Pubis (DSP) is an actual separation of the Symphysis Pubis Joint This can only be confirmed by diagnostic imaging by a doctor or physiotherapist.
Whilst Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP) and Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) both refer to pregnancy-associated pain, instability and dysfunction of the Symphysis Pubis Joint and/or the Sacro-Iliac Joint.
Pain may be a minor discomfort, necessitating some modification of movement… right up the scale to severe pain and disability. Make sure you consult a physiotherapist or professional trainer who specialises in this area, and don’t go to just any generic exercise class or instructor.
The joints affected are the ones at the front and back of the pelvis. You may feel pain over the front of the pubic bone at the front, across your tummy, or across one or both sides of your lower back, or down your legs.
You may feel a clicking or grinding in your pelvis and have difficulty walking, especially up or down stairs. This ‘shearing’ movement (one leg in front of the other) or abduction (legs out to the sides) may also hurt, making getting in or out of a car, your bed, or any number of other everyday activities, painful.
Pregnancy-Related Pelvic Girdle Pain affects around 1 in 5 women, at varying degrees of severity. Around 7% of women continue to have problems postnatally.
You will be advised by your Midwife or doctor to avoid or adapt as many painful movements as possible. So avoid heavy lifting, go carefully and slowly up stairs; keep your knees together as mush as possible when getting on or out of the car; roll over onto your side to get out of bed…but many of these are part of life, and can’t realistically be avoided.
You can however help to alleviate pain with correctly prescribed core strengthening exercises.
The stability of your joints is affected by the pregnancy hormone, relaxin, but also by the strength of the muscles that hold them in place. Do NOT go to a generic class or instructor with PGP, they cannot be expected to accurately prescribe the correct exercises for you. But controlled, guided core strength and lower body resistance work will definitely help to strengthen and stabilise your joints, and reduce pain.
MUTU System Programs are safe and beneficial during a healthy, low risk pregnancy. The 12 Week Program contains low impact, intensive workouts. MUTU Focus is especially safe for pregnant women. It contains no intensive workouts, and focuses only on alignment, muscle stretching and release, core and pelvic floor muscle connection and engagement .
MUTU System programs are recommended and endorsed by specialist Physiotherapists and Industry experts.
FURTHER USEFUL LINKS
The Pelvic Partnership | Great resource for pelvic pain in pregnancy
Aligned and Well | Alignment resources and education products from renowned Biomechanist Katy Bowman
Please also see the MUTU System Medical Disclaimer here
IF YOU ARE SUFFERING WITH PELVIC, ABDOMINAL OR ANY OTHER PAIN DURING OR FOLLOWING PREGNANCY, PLEASE CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR AS A MATTER OF URGENCY. ALSO READ OUR GUIDELINES ON REFERRAL TO A SPECIALIST WOMEN’S HEALTH PHYSIOTHERAPIST.