Pelvic pain in pregnancy
Pelvic pain in pregnancy is an unusual topic to address as a man. I’m not prone to pelvic pain and I’m never going to get pregnant.
I am, however, very familiar with pelvic pain during pregnancy, and believe it’s erroneously passed off as just another part of being pregnant that women need to cope with.
Twenty six weeks after conceiving baby number two, my wife is – for the second time in her life – struggling to cope with a debilitating condition commonly known as SPD.
My wife was lucky to be diagnosed when she was pregnant with Jack. She was able to get good advice, was prescribed pain killers and – during her third trimester – offered crutches when the pain and stress on her pelvis became too much.
Of course, not everyone who has pelvic pain has SPD, which is also known as pelvic girdle pain or symphysis pubis dysfunction. But I would encourage anyone who is suffering any of the symptoms to book an appointment with their doctor.
SPD occurs when the gap between the two halves of your pelvis joint gets too wide. While a widening pelvis is a natural and necessary part of carrying a child, too wide a gap causes pain and can be debilitating in the worst cases.
It took my wife over 12 months for her SPD symptoms to subside, during which time she had to cope with chronic pain, restricted movement and – as we’ve discovered – the lingering spectre of a relapse with subsequent pregnancies.
We’re slightly more prepared this time, but continue to struggle. Despite having been diagnosed the first time, it took several visits to the doctor before we actually started getting any help. Regardless, she’s still broadly left to her own devices and offered little support – physiotherapy etc - with coping.
The symptoms are also much worse the second time around. This makes looking after our toddler Jack particularly difficult, and has also resulted in her being signed off from work for the remainder of her pregnancy.
Sometimes, the pain is so bad she can’t walk upright properly, let alone do any chores. This makes her miserable for feeling useless, while the pain is near constant, leading to lack of sleep and little respite.
This is despite her following all the advice to minimise the pain. In fact, I dread to think how bad it would be for her if she wasn’t taking precautions to avoid aggravating the condition.
So if you’ve got pelvic pain, and you’re pregnant, I recommend going to your doctor. You may have SPD.