Newest Review: ... which may need immediate attention, so any pain in the groin, abdomen or lower back really should mean you seek medical help- even if ... more
The archaic NHS needs to open its eyes to this common condition!!!
Symphis Pubis Dysfunction
Member Name: RU5H1NG
Symphis Pubis Dysfunction
Advantages: None - I have even been put off having more children
Disadvantages: It takes over your whole pregnancy, puts pressure on your family, heath professionals know little
~~What is it?~~
It is a condition that occurs during pregnancy to some (unlucky) women - it is thought to be caused by too much of the hormone called 'relaxin' that is released around the body to loosen the pelvis in preparation for birth. It means that the hips and/or pelvis can start to or actually separate. It usually begins around the end of the 2nd trimester although it can start as early as day 1 of the pregnancy (this is thought to be proof of it not being caused by the weight of the baby).
~~What causes it?~~
Sadly, as with many women's health complaints - in such a male dominated industry, little funding has been given to research this very common and often debilatating condition (estimated at 1 in 3 women get this to some degree of severity). However, speculation suggests a few pointers:
# those who do a lot of manual labour - such as factory workers, nurses, carers, gymnasts, postal workers etc...
# a different father - it is believed that some men will give women more difficult pregnancies than others due to genetics
# having more kids - the more children you have, the more chance of having it at all or having it more severely
~~So, what is it like?~~
It can vary greatly in severity - from the common end of the spectrum of feeling a slight twinge on standing and walking, to the disabling more rare situation where you cannot walk or turn in bed.
It began in the 14th week of gestation. I noticed a sharp stabbing pain in my righthand side whilst fastening my shoes. It gradually got worse and would sometimes happen even when stationery. My partner and I agreed it would be a good idea to get it checked out by the GP as it had all the earmarks of appendicitus.
At the appointment, the GP was happy to confirm it was not anything dangerous but offered no further advice. It was only when I mentioned this increasingly unbearable pain to the midwife at 20 weeks that she explained to me about SPD (also known as pelvic girdle pain). She said that the only thing that can be done is to see a physiotherapist and that they cannot offer much help so not to bother.
By 22 weeks, the pain had spread to my left side and inside my pelvis - it felt very similar to having being kicked by a horse in the private regions, I felt constantly bruised and my mood was starting to get affected by it. I returned to the GPs many times only for them to prescribe me increasing strengths of co-codamol (a codeine and paracetamol mix) which made me lethargic most of the time. When I mentioned a support belt to one GP, he said they were just a placebo and would not do much for me (this later on turns out to be untrue).
Finally in desparation, I spoke to a suportive GP who agreed to send to the physio marked as urgent to get me up the waiting list. I first attended a group session where with a PowerPoint show they explain about good posture and how to minimise damage etc... It was quite helpful and they provided some crutches for me. I then attended an individual appointment where they said it was so bad that a caesarean section would be a better birth option for me - hearing this was a relief, I had been worrying about the birth for a long time and this took a weight off my mind. She insisted on me purchasing a belt that was necessary for me - these were not available on the NHS, they cost over £20.00.
My c-section was reluctantly agreed by a consultant for five days before the due date. I had a consultation with the surgery team who agreed to write in block capitals SPD all over my notes to ensure no separation of my legs during any examinations. They also promised a wheelchair into surgery. In the end, I was asked to hobble in on crutches in agony.
I will not mention other complications of the birth as I see it as irrelevant for this discussion. Although gentler on my pelvis than a natural birth, the surgery had exacerbated the SPD severely, so alongside feeling very raw and fragile, mobility was extremely tough and the ward was very understaffed and did not have disabled facilities.
~~10 months later.~~
It did gradually start to clear up, and I noticed a difference in just a fortnight after the delivery. I can go for a walk quite regularly and lift my baby boy from his cot without much difficulty. Occasionally my hips or back will make a loud clunk and shift around and I will need to rest for a couple of days but I am a fiercely independant woman and refuse to let it prevent me living a normal life.
If by 14/15 months, it has not cleared up completely, I will be visiting a private chiropractor - they are meant to be the best option for this condition however (yes, you've guessed it!) unavailable on the NHS.
~~General tips and hints.~~
I am not a GP or physio, and everyone is different but they do tend to advise the following:-
# take steps and stairs one at a time
# sleep with a pillow between your knees on your side
# get in and out of cars by using both feet together and swivelling
# avoid opening legs at all costs as much as possible
# get a medical support corset or belt A.S.A.P!!!
# discuss birth options with someone in detail - a caesarean is only a last resort, there are some great pain relief options, water births are supposed to take the weight off your hips, and laying on your side is a lot safer than the traditional lithotomy position that could result in permanently dislocated hips.
# try some alternative (qualified) practitioners - they may have some better pain relief and relaxation techniques that are safer for your unborn baby than codeine.
Please visit www.pelvicpartnership.org.uk for further information. They are a great charity that need more publicity.
Summary: The NHS is still obviously archaic and Victorian when it comes to women's health.
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