What exactly is Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)?

  • Durning pregnancy or birth, about one in 35 women will experience intense pelvis pain and may find it difficult to walk, climb stairs, and other movements that involve the pelvice bones. This pain is a result of separation of the pubic symphysis which is a joint in the very front part of the pelvic bone structure. There is cartilage that fills the gap in the bones. During pregnancy, hormones such as relaxin soften this cartilage allowing the pelvic bones to be more flexible for delivery. Some women, however, have to much play in the pelvis causing a large gap between the bones. This makes the symphysis pubis area extreamely sensitive to touch.

When does separation of the symphysis pubis occur?

  • Some women will notice pain beginning as early as the first trimester of pregnancy while others expierence this separation during the birth or even a few days postpartum. Women who have experience SPD with previous pregnancies will not necessarily have the problem with subsequent pregnancies however, some will.

How do you know if you have SPD?

  • If you have SPD, you may notice pain in the front of the pelvis that hurts when touched. You may also feel pain in the lower abdomen, hips, inner thigh and groin areas. Marked increased pain with activities such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting your legs or any other large movements involving teh pelvis are key symptoms. You may even experience a positive response, particularly if the cause lies in pelvic misalignment. From the chiropractic point of view, it is always better for a woman with mild SPD to get treatment early on to prevent the problem from becoming more severe later or impeding the birth of you baby.