I’ve been toying with wether to share this post it’s been sat in my drafts for a while, but I’ve noticed, since being pregnant that more and more mums are quietly hinting at the pain and discomfort which pregnancy can bring. I’ve always felt privileged and hugely lucky that I have been able to grow 3 healthy babies so try not to band on about the niggles that accompany this wonderful phase of your life (although my husband would probably say otherwise) and I don’t want to harp on too much about how rubbish I felt, but I’m in the mood for venting just how little help there is for sufferers so it’s time to share my experience of SPD (symphysis pubis dysfunction or PPGP (pregnancy -related pelvic girdle pain.
If you’ve clicked through wondering what on earth SPD is just imagine with each step; sharp, dagger like shooting pains shoot through your hip.That pretty much sums up how it was for me.
It was early April and I booked what was hopefully going to be our a relaxing few days in Cornwall and our last holiday as a family of 4. We were visiting our favourite spot on the north coast, I was 7 months pregnant and pretty huge and we’d be downgraded to a rusty old caravan after deciding to being the dog along too, the side effect of being a dog owner on holiday, but I was up beat. I needed these precious days away from work and to enjoy time with my boys before being wrapped up in sleep deprivation and new mum fog.
But as the week wore on I started to notice a twinge in my left hip each time I walked. Putting it down to over doing it on jaunts to the beach and sleeping on a pathetically thin caravan mattress. I carried on in the hope that it would disappear when we got home.
The pain however deepened. By day 4 I was wincing on every step, my pregnancy waddle was developing into a limp. We cut short our break and headed home, thinking now that something was really wrong, I called to make a doctor’s appointment on the journey back. By now I was barely able to walk and leaned on my husband while trying to take the weight off my hip and holding back tears of agony so as not to upset my sensitive tween.As I limped in the doctor’s room and slumped down in the chair, I explained my symptoms.
“You’re just pregnant dear, it’s your ligaments softening ready for labour. Try and rest and you’ll be fine.”
As I explained that I was due back at work on Monday, he replied “tell your employer to let you sit down for the day, just light duties from now on.” Mmmm, that wasn’t going to happen. I’d arranged an event that involved lots of walking with me at the helm.
As the weekend went on and I tried to rest, hoping to keep to my work commitments. I realised just how much I took for granted when mobility wasn’t an option. Frustrated at constantly having to ask for help from my husband and children. I planned every trip off the sofa, maximizing the opportunity to do as much as I could in one go, loo breaks, drinks, snacks, tidy ups, laundry, book. Everything gathered, accomplished and sorted in one step so I could sit down and resume my position on the sofa. There was no nipping up stairs, popping in the kitchen. I had to be organised and made sure I had everything I needed in one go.
As the pain got worse I eagerly awaited my midwife appointment, she’d know what was wrong & help me. As I explained my woes again, she offered a physio referral if it got any worse (I wasn’t sure by now it could get any worse!) and hinted that I may need a plan B to my planned home birth as my hip trouble could make labour more painful and difficult due to limiting the positions I could get into.
I was devastated and reluctantly booked a hospital birth. Then asked for the referral asap.
Hoping now that the physio would be the answer, I wobbled in and again explained the pain. “Ah yes, baby’s sitting on a nerve, you need to wriggle like this, take these crutches & here’s a support belt.”
The wiggling just hurt even more, the support belt made me want to pee all the time, the crutches made me self-conscious. And my hips still hurt.
It seemed no one could help with the pain and the general consensus was ‘you’re pregnant, what do you expect.’
In the meantime I tried to adhere to the advice, limiting movement and resting when possible. When no one was around I crawled on my hands and knees or shuffled on my bum. My whingeing and grumpiness put a strain on my marriage, my husband even bought me a grab stick in a vain attempt to help and shut me up at the same time.
This last pregnancy was turning into my worse as I wished it away wanting my movement and independence back.
In short, SPD sucks. I’ve since read there is a type of physio which can help, where the hips are treated and put back into a less painful position. I’m not sure whether I was unlucky or if that’s how it goes for everyone else but there’ll be no more babies for me and I’ll never take my freedom and pain-free movement for granted again.