Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a common condition in pregnancy. It affects about one in five pregnant women and can cause pain throughout the body.
It is usually caused by an increase in hormones during pregnancy, such as relaxin and progesterone. These hormones loosen the muscles, joints and ligaments around your pelvis.
These hormones are designed to make labor and delivery easier, but it may also result in some discomfort for you as they change the way your pelvis moves. The main problem that causes SPD is when the symphysis pubis joint becomes unstable due to swelling and pain, which can lead to pressure on other joints in your pelvis and lower back.
Your pelvis is formed of two curved bones, called your pubic bones. These join together at the front of your pelvis to create a cradle shape, called the symphysis pubis.
This joint is connected to your pubic bone by a dense network of tough tissues (ligaments). The symphysis pubis is the narrowest point of the pelvic bones and connects to the sacrum, the triangular bone that sits between your hip bones at the back of your pelvis.
When you walk, keep your knees close together so that the symphysis pubis doesn't feel pulled on. When carrying things, such as a baby, keep them close to your chest to avoid loading the symphysis pubis with more weight than usual.
The best thing to do if you have symphysis pubis dysfunction is to get the help you need. Ask your partner to help with household duties, let the massage therapists at your local chiropractic center do their magic, and take some time off. Eventually, you'll be able to enjoy the benefits of having a healthy baby--and a comfortable pelvis.