Having sailed through my pregnancy with my daughter I have been less lucky with this baby. While the anxiety has been much less I have instead developed a number of exciting developments such as much worse morning sickness (I think I had 2 weeks of it last time), what I can only describe as bone crippling exhaustion (always a joy with a toddler), the inability to look certain foodstuffs in the face (or the nose) and Pelvic Girdle Pain.
If you’ve had Pelvic Girdle Pain or SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction) you’ll know it’s horrible. If you haven’t, it’s horrible. Basically your joints get very stiff and move unevenly either in your back or the front. It is not helped by the body producing Relaxin, a hormone which helps your body to literally relax more and loosens your joints to help get that baby out. Some of us produce more than others and this can cause things to loosen up even more. If you, like me, have had a big baby with a large head, this can also have pushed the pelvic bones out a little.
Gradually the v shaped muscles and ligaments around the front of your pelvis (the ‘mankini muscles’ as I like to think of them as it gives you the basic idea of their shape), your lower back and the backs and fronts of your legs may start to feel the strain. Or burn like the fires of hell as mine are doing as I write this.
If, like me, you started to feel this early, it’s best to get to your GP as soon as possible. PGP and SPD can’t be cured but it can be controlled. And the sooner the better. Your GP will be able to refer you to physio. In Oxfordshire this is done through Healthshare and you can call them after you get your initial letter to see if you can swop to a nearer or closer appointment.
For PGP or SPD usually sessions take place in groups and last about 2 hours. I was quite surprised to find my appointment was actually a 1:1 with a lovely physio in Didcot. She went through why I was feeling pain, gave me some very useful exercises to do (I am now the proud owner of a wobble cushion which you can sit and literally wobble on, and some spikey balls which have inevitably been absorbed into the toddler play basket for stretching the muscles in your leg), I was given a large piece of tubigrip to wear when the pain gets bad around my bump (very Downton Abbey) and has explained that I can self-refer at any time during my pregnancy and for up to 12 weeks afterward (including pelvic floor which is very useful to know). You can find information on doing this here.
I have also independently been seeing a chiropractor who has recommended pregnancy massage (can also be done by your partner which my husband was delighted about) and icing my back whenever I can with an ice pack.
Hopefully things will flat line a bit although I’m obviously concerned it can get worse as the pregnancy progresses. Like everything however, we will have to wait and see.
Have you had PGP or SPD? How did you cope with it? We’d love to know. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below!