Here I am totally happy with my pregnancy and suddenly at 34 weeks, came this pain from the devil. It was a regular morning yesterday and I took a shower, put on my L’occitane Ultra Hydrating Cream for prevention of stretch marks and was pretty happy. I changed my clothes for the day and went downstairs for breakfast. Right after breakfast, I stood up and suddenly I had this abdominal muscle pain that started at the line of my bikini panties stretching down to where my thighs connect with my pelvis. It felt like you did too many squats the day before and you can’t pull your legs together and you’re in severe pain. I tried to take step to walk and found it hard to walk forward. It was as if my abdominal muscles disappeared or after a surgery in the lower pelvic area. The pain was unbearable.
What on earth happened?
The only explanation I can think of is my baby shifted positions and is pressing on some nerve. This “is” true but as well as a symptom of “Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction” also called “Symphysis Pubic Diastasis.” Either way, it’s called SPD.
You can get this anytime in the second to third trimesters and I feel sorry for women who has it earlier on! It’s when the hormone relaxin is released from your body to loosen up your pelvic ligaments to get ready for pregnancy. However, some women have it worse than others as your pelvis finds it harder to come together and gets split too far apart.
I immediately read up on it and found that one in four women have this from slight to worse conditions. Some women have it so bad they remain in a wheelchair for life. That scared me to death. Others may have it for the rest of their lifes only to see the pain flare up before periods. Either way, it’s a scary thing.
Not only that, my pubic bone was in pain when I am still and sitting or lying down. I started crying thinking my life is ending. Then I found out that subsequent babies also make situations worse. Can you imagine my misery?
At 34 weeks, I had NO IDEA how I was going to get through the next 6 weeks like this. It’s like ordering bed rest with pain during the entire period. As usual, I suck it up and try to deal with this. There are several things that you can do to make it better.
- Don’t stand for a long period of time.
- Don’t walk for a long time. Only walk distance that you “have” to. If you can get someone to get your groceries or even make dinner for you, ask!
- If you’re working, clarify with your employer that you cannot lift heavy items due to SPD (get the doctor to say you have SPD) and that you cannot stand for long periods of time, etc.
- Do not do anymore gym exercises and avoid going up and down the stairs unless if you have to. Try to plan out your day around how many times you have to go up and down the stairs.
- Wear the following “pelvic cradle” available on Amazon or on the web. Whichever is convenient. Costs about $35-$45.
- Do the following exercises (I pulled these from the Journal of American Physical Therapy Association). These help “TREMENDOUSLY.” I feel 50% of the pain already from doing these exercises last night and resting a whole day:
- Abdominal stabilization: Sitting with your feet resting on the floor, gently pull your lower abdominal muscles as if you are hugging your baby. Hold for 5 seconds. repeat 5 times, continuing to breathe normally.
- Pelvic floor (Kegels): Sitting tall, squeeze to close around your openings. life and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times. Breathe normally throughout.
- Gluteus maximus muscle: Sitting or standing, squeeze buttocks together. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
- Latissimus dorsi muscle: Sit on a chair in front of the table or a closed door. Grasp door handle or table with both hands and pull towards you. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
- Hip adductor muscles: Sitting down, put your fist or a rolled towel between your knees. Squeeze knees together. Hold for 5 seconds and repeat 5 times.
It made a world of difference to do these exercises. It’s definitely worth your time. Did I do these 5 times? You bet. I did them probably 30 times because I’m so fixated on the fact that I don’t want to be handicapped for life.
Women that’s suffering from this has to pay attention. Don’t try to fight it by trying to walk it out. You will get worse and it may make permanent damage. You must learn to protect yourselves. We’re talking about the next 30-50 years of your life! What is more important? Your health and your baby! You still need energy to take care of your baby. Don’t take this lightly as there are women who cannot have babies again or they may end up in a wheelchair “for life.” That’s the scary part.
If you take care of yourself, you can only hope that you go back to normal after a year after delivery. Most women think this goes away immediately after birth. It doesn’t. The hormone relaxin is still produced during breastfeeding as well as lingering on well after birth for about a year. You may not “feel” the effects as strong but it will be there. This means you still have to “watch” it for the next year until your body fully recovers.
This was traumatizing for me for the last two days and I hope that this notes find all women out there who are pregnant that’s suffering from pelvic pain. Do not ignore your pelvic pain. Go to your doctor and confirm it’s SPD and take actions to protect yourself.
Hope this helps.