Pelvic Pain during Pregnancy: What is Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction?

by gaylehope | 83 Comments

Are you pregnant and having difficulty rolling in bed, getting in and out of your car, climbing stairs, or walking due to pelvic pain? You may be suffering from a common condition called symphysis pubis dysfunction. The pubic symphysis is located at the front of the pelvis where the two sides of the pelvis meet. This is typically a fairly stable joint, but changes in the hormones during pregnancy relax the ligaments and allow for increased movement, which can result in misalignment and more importantly pain. Pubic symphysis dysfunction is thought to affect up to 1 in 4 women during pregnancy. It can range in severity from mild discomfort during daily activities to inability to bear weight on the legs.

Pelvic Pain during Pregnancy: What is Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction?The main symptom of pubic symphysis dysfunction is pain at the front of the pelvic girdle, but many women also complain of lower back pain, leg pain, or lower abdominal pain. Women who are experiencing pain may also walk with a waddling gait and have pain with walking, lifting and carrying objects, rolling in bed, climbing stairs, getting in and out of the car, and standing. Any activity that requires asymmetrical movement of the legs is likely to cause pain due to shearing forces at the pubic symphysis.

Diagnosis can usually be made on symptoms alone as many imaging techniques are not recommended during pregnancy. Ultrasound may be used during pregnancy, and if symptoms persist after pregnancy, a pelvic x-ray or MRI may be indicated.

Physical Therapy as a Treatment Option
Many women suffering from symphysis pubis dysfunction during pregnancy respond favorably to physical therapy. Treatment may include soft tissue mobilization/massage, strengthening and stabilization exercises to improve support of the pelvic girdle, pelvic floor strengthening exercises, postural exercises, and education on body mechanics and strategies to minimize pain with activities of daily living. Anti-inflammatory medication is not recommended during pregnancy, but applying ice to the pubic symphysis regularly may help with pain and inflammation, and heating surrounding musculature may decrease muscle spasm and tightness to decrease pain. Bracing or external supports may also be beneficial in providing additional stability and decreasing pain with activity.

Discussing a birth plan with your doctor or midwife is important to minimize pain and further damage to the ligaments during labor and delivery and postpartum pain. Additionally, it is important to tell nurses and others assisting with your delivery that you have symphysis pubis dysfunction so that aggravating positions such as squatting and reclined sitting with the legs wide apart are minimized. Realize that if you have an epidural you will not be able to feel the pain during labor and delivery, which you may believe is good, but you may be causing further irritation/damage to the area that you will certainly feel once the anesthesia wears off. Alternative pushing positions such as hand and knees or side-lying may be utilized.

Tips to Manage Pain Associated with Everyday Activities:

  • Sit down to perform activities when possible.
  • Avoid periods of prolonged weight bearing.
  • Avoid deep squatting.
  • Avoid lifting and carrying heavy objects when possible.
  • Avoid stepping over objects.
  • Avoid stairs if possible.
  • When rolling in bed, place a pillow between the knees and keep the legs together as you roll.
  • When getting in bed, sit on the side of the bed with the legs close together, lie on your side first and then bring both legs up sideways.
  • When getting in to the car, sit down on the seat first and then bring the legs into the car.
  • When getting out of the car, bring both legs out of the car first and then stand up pushing equally with both legs.
  • Avoid twisting movements of the body.
  • Before performing activities that are painful, contract the pelvic floor muscles to give additional pelvic stability.

The good news is that if you can manage your symptoms during pregnancy, the majority of symphysis pubis dysfunction resolves after pregnancy as the hormones return to pre-pregnancy levels. If you believe that you have symphysis pubis dysfunction, discuss with your doctor or midwife.

For more information on Athletico’s services around pelvic pain and other women’s health therapy, please click here.

83 Comments

  1. Candice Reimholz

    Thanks for writing about this topic. I had never heard of it until I was pregnant and it happened to me. So my question: My baby is 8 mos. old now and I thought I was better. Now that I am starting a more vigorous work out routine, I’m realizing I still have pain. Especially when my weight is primarily on one leg or if I have to fire my adductors. Any exercises you recommend? I figure bridges with adduction, but anything else?

  2. Dee Smith

    I am pregnant and have this pain. I have had it since about week 12, I am now 21 weeks. It’s progressively getting worse. In addition to all the positions posted above when it can hurt, it also hurts when I sit certain ways. I’m very scared about how much worse it will get as my pregnancy continues and I get bigger. Also, I thought about the pain it will cause when in labor and delivery.

  3. Kelly Todd, PT, DPT, Women's Health Program Manager

    @Dee – If you have been experiencing the pain since week 12 and the pain is progressively increasing, it would be a good idea to speak to your doctor or midwife at this time. The pain may or may not continue to worsen as your pregnancy progresses, but it is important for you to be as comfortable as possible throughout your pregnancy. A referral to physical therapy may also be appropriate at this time to help reduce the pain. A physical therapist can also provide you with stretches, exercises, and positional techniques to help you manage the pain now and as you prepare for delivery. Also, a support belt may be warranted if the pain continues. Please contact one of our women’s health specialists for further information or questions as well. For a list of Athletico locations offering women’s health therapy, click here: http://www.athletico.com/services/womens-health-therapy/

  4. jess

    I had this with my first daughter, but it was nothing compared to being pregnant with twins right now. The pain showed up about 10 weeks and is so bad now it brings me to tears. Rolling in bed is out of the question, walking is excruciating, and forget sitting on anything resembling a floor. Also carrying anything is miserable. My doctor really is unimpressed with me telling him I’m in pain, so good luck to all of you. Oh and tylenol is a joke, it doesn’t even touch this pain.

  5. Becca

    I am 25 weeks into my 4th pregnancy and experienced this pain during my 2nd 3rd and this pregnancy. the dr.s thought i had a hernia with #2 and 3 pregnancies. It was so bad at the end that i could hardly manage anything and i loved labor cause I knew my agony would soon be over. when i found out i was pregnant again i sat down and cried cause i dont know if i can do this pain again; every minuet of every day for the last few months of pregnancy. The pain started this time around 12 weeks and is getting so bad I cant sleep. All our bedrooms are upstairs also. I see my OB in 2 weeks and I hope that now that I have a name for my pain he can help me. Im so scared of the next 15 weeks. If anyone has had favorable results talking to their OB that would help. Ive noticed that a lot of the time Drs just think we’re being whimpy. I could do labor pain anytime compared to this constant excruciating pain.

  6. Lauren

    I am so grateful to have come across this page and everyone’s comments. I am 38 weeks into my second pregnancy and the pain only started this evening, but it is so excruciating that I can’t even move. It is constant pain at the bottom of my pelvis, worsened when I merely attempt to move. I can’t even get out of bed to go to the toilet – it’s 1:00am and I am wondering if I should wake my husband to try and carry me to the bathroom. I am praying that the pain subsides in the morning because I have a 2 year old to take care of. I really feel for all of you out there that are experiencing this so much earlier in your pregnancy. With only 2 weeks (or less) to go, I am one of the lucky ones… though I don’t know how I am even going to get through the night.

  7. Kelly Todd

    @Becca-It is not uncommon to have joint pain and discomfort in subsequent pregnencies due to the ligamentous laxity. However, this type of pain may be able to be managed better with Physical Therapy. It is important to continue to verbalize your concerns about your pain and functional limitations to your Physician. You can always ask for a referral to Physical Therapy as well.

  8. Kelly Todd

    @Lauren-I am so sorry to hear about your recent pain. If this pain worsenes or does not subside, you should contact your OB. Try to find rest and relief positions as well. Good luck with you rlast two weeks!

  9. rachel

    I’m so relieved to have seen this site & everyone’s comments! I have 2 little girls (now 3 & 18mos) & my husband has started talking about having another soon. During my 1st pregnancy I felt great. I couldn’t wait to do it again! Boy was I in for a surprise… not only was I a miserable wretch the WHOLE TIME (can you say psycho, anyone?) But also, by 14 weeks the pubic bone pain started. Then it got worse. And worse & worse & worse. It was so bad that even the simplest tasks sometimes brought me to tears. But I still had a toddler to take care of-to run after. It was horrible. My pubic bone would literally grind & pop in & out of place sometimes when I was walking. When I would tell my doctors about it, they dismissed it every time. & those belts & girdles? Yeah right! They were as helpful as my doctor was. Tylenol? It was useless. In the end, between the time my water broke & my 2nd daughter was born was less than an hour & a half. I delivered naturally (& there was no time for an epidurral). During delivery I felt a hard pop & did even more damage furthur separating my pubic bone. Couldnt even get out of bed in the hospital to go to the bathroom afterwards & needed a walker for the next 6 weeks. Needless to say, I’m terrified to get pregnant & go through that again- & I already have a new obgyn

  10. Amanda

    I have been going through the same problems with my second pregnancy. I am at 30 weeks and have been in physical therapy for 1 month now. I am a pharmacist and would usually be on my feet for 13 hour shifts. But I have been off work since the end of June. I have been diagnosed with SPD, sacroiliac dysfunction and femoral nerve compression. I wear two types of belts plus kinesiology tape as well as Tylenol and ice around the clock. Nothing is helping! I cry every night trying to get to sleep. Does anyone suggest anything else? By the way, the OB office has dismissed the severity of my pain numerous times now.

  11. Kelly Todd

    @Rachel. Oh my goodness! I am so sorry to hear about how much pain you had during your second pregnancy! I hope that you are feeling better now. If you are planning on having a third baby, you may not have as much pain, discomfort or dysfunction that you had during your second. Since you have a new OB, it would be a good idea to speak with them about what you went through duirng you second pregnancy. It also may be helpful to do some core strengthening and stability exercises or see a Women’s Health PT to help make sure that your core and pelvic floor are strong prior to getting pregnant to help increase your overall pelvic stability to decrease the possiblity of pain.

  12. Kelly Todd

    @Amanda. Keep doing what you are doing, it will get better! Continue to be diligent about your PT and your home exercises. Try to find rest and relief positions and be off of your feet as much as you can. Walking with a walker may help as well. Hang in there!

  13. Michelle

    I’ve been having this pan since about week 25 (34 wks now). Such intense groin and pelvic pain and burning. My first pregnancy was so easy…the only difference this time is that I’m on Progesterone injections to prevent per term delivery. I’m guessing this could be the reason for this condition. I go to the gym regularly in an attempt to ease my pain. But I find bedtime is the worst for me, especially changing positions. I’m looking forward to this pregnancy being over!!! I wish everyone else all the best….and forget about the OBGYN on this condition…just find a PT location with someone who has experience in pregnancy or even a chiropractor who has a prenatal certification to help address these dysfunctions…..

  14. Dawn

    I am currently 35 wks w/ second child (1st pregnancy was a breeze) and have been complaing to my DRs about my pelvic pain since I was 9 wks pregnant. They first diagnosed me with a bladder infection & possible Interstitial cystitis because even after a round of antibiotics & negative test results on infection, I still had a dull ache in my pelvis. @ 22wks I had to start seeing my DRs weekly due to an incompetent cervix, alternating weeks on stirrups between FFMs & vaginal U/Ss. The pubic pain was getting worse after each visit. @ 31 wks my DRs cleared me of my incompetent cervix saying it must just be my body & on the same day the DR pressed very hard on my pubic bone when measuring my uterus & I literally jumped off the table in excruciating pain. She then said looks like you have pubis separation & then preceded to press on my pubic bone again! I was unable to walk out of the DRs office afterwards. She told me there was nothing ‘she’ could do & to take Tylenol for the pain. By the time I got home that afternoon, not only was I unable to walk, but unable to sit without having Urinary incontinence & Tylenol was a joke. My husband was livid and called the DRs office to find out our options & was told if she is unable to walk then there is nothing that can be done until after I deliver. This wasn’t an option for us, so we both researched SPD online & found physical therapy & chiropractor were options. So a wk later I say the Chiro & he was able re-align my pelvis, instantly relieving the pelvis pain & minimizing my groin pain. Couple of days later started PT. unfortunately PT did not last long. Due to my Drs having me on bed rest since 22 wks my muscles were so week that after a week of muscle training I ended up in the hospital due to muscle strain in my core (belly) whiched caused preterm labor. So, muscle strength isn’t is out for me right now, but continue to see the Chiro twice a week which has minimized the pain substantially! Now my only concern is choosing to have a vaginal birth & risk permenant damage or csection… I can’t have a vaginal delivery without pain meds because when I’m in excruciating pain it affects the baby’s heart rate. I’m scared to death of a csection because my last abdominal surgery proved to a very long recovery for me & have 1 special needs child & a newborn, I just don’t know how I’d manage….

  15. Kelly Todd

    @Michelle- You are absolutely right in saying that the best things to do to ease your pain and make you more comfortable are to find rest and relief position, complete regular gentle exercises and stretches and find a Physical Therapist that is specialized in treating Women’s Health conditions and/or pregnancy! PT can really help! Good luck with the rest of yoru pregnancy!

  16. Kelly Todd

    @Dawn.I am so sorry to hear about all of the pain you have been experiencing during this pregnancy. I hope that you are able to find and achieve pain relief during the last few weeks of your pregnancy. I think it would be best to have a conversation with your OB regarding your concerns about your delivery and try to obtain all the pros and cons of each option to help you make the decision that is best for you. Also, if you are still experiencing pain, discomfort or symptoms after your delivery, talk to your OB as it may be appropriate for you to start PT again to help you build back up the muscle stregnth and enduracne that you may have lost during this pregnancy.

  17. Kheleli

    Im 40 weeks pregnant and i hav been having these unbearable symphysis pubis pain since i was 6 months pregnant.i tried some analgesics bt nothing helped.im scared of going in to labor with these pain and worried if it will heal after delivery.it hurts.

  18. Jamie abell

    Last August I was in an accident and fractured my pelvic. Now I’m pregnant and I’m only around 10 weeks. I’m already having pelvic pain. When I roll in bed, or walk. Sometimes I walk with a bad waddle. I don’t know what to look forward to. I’m pretty nervous and wonder if anyone knows just what I should expected through out my pregnancy?

  19. Julie

    I am nearly 31 wks and have had the SPD pains now since about wk 20. Sometimes it’s like knives on my pelvis and it seems to be mostly on my right side for whatever reason. My OBGYN was also dismissive and told me it was my sciatic nerve. When I finally went to my chiropractor 2 weeks ago, which helped quite a bit, albeit temporarily, he told me my OBGYN needed to go back to his anatomy book because the sciatic nerve is nowhere near where my pain is. Has anyone in here had relief from a belt??? I saw another site that said belts would likely provide some immediate relief, but what I’ve read in this forum, it hasn’t helped anyone here. I will also likely be heading back to the chiro soon since that seems to have helped a few in here and will also look into PT. Also, does anyone in here do prenatal yoga? Did it help or make it worse? I went to a couple sessions before the pain got bad, and just wondered how it might affect me now. And one other thing, and I haven’t heard anyone else mention this, and it’s probably completely unrelated, but I have been a long time sufferer of endometriosis – which basically doubles me over nearly causing me to pass out from pain unless I medicate (usually with Aleve) at the beginning of each period. Damned if I do, damned if I don’t!!! My goal was for natural birth without an epidural, but after reading some of the other accounts on here I may have to rethink that. I don’t want to injure myself but I also don’t know if I could do a walker for 2 months either!

  20. Kelly Todd

    @Kheleli-Often times after labor, the pain form the pubic symphysis dysfunction decreases as the ligaments are no longer needing to be lengthened to allow your pelvis to be ready to deliver the baby. If the pain does linger, speak with your Physician to recieve a referral for PT to help you strengthen the muscles around your pelvis and core to help relieve the pain.

  21. Kelly Todd

    @Jamie- Pain in yoru pelvis during pregnany can vary from person to person and throughout the stages of yoru pregnancy. I would communucate often and consistenly with yout OB/GYN about your symptoms of pain.

  22. Kelly Todd

    @Julie-Continue to seek treatment for you SPD as it will help to make your more confortable during the last trimester of your pregnancy. Physical therapy can help with stretches, exercises and postures/positions that can help relieve some of the pain. A belt can help, but it depends on which type you get. (based on what your acticity/work level is like). There are many belts out there, from ones you can buy at baby stores to ones that you can buy online. You may have to try them on to see if they are a right fit for you. As for the prenatal yoga, t may be very helpful to further allow your body to stretch and be strengthened to further reduce your pain.

  23. Shelley

    @Lauren – My situation sounds identical. I had no pain at all for 36 weeks, then one night woke up unable to walk, support my own weight, or even lift my leg at all and the pain was so intense, worse than labor! I ended up being admitted to the hospital and on 100% bedrest for 3 weeks until I had my baby (vaginally), and had a walker for about 3 weeks after delivery, but worked with physical therapist and now am pain free 1 year later (except sometimes when I sleep on my side, I’ll feel it a little). My questions for @Kelly Todd, I would like to have another child, but am worried to go through this again, because I have heard SPD can start sooner and be more severe in subsequent pregnancies. Is there anything I could do before getting pregnant again, to prepare my body or lessen the chance of it happening or at least of it being so severe as the first time. Would core strengthening exercises and seeing physical therapist now, pre-pregnancy, be helpful or should I just wait and see if it even happens again? I am not in your area (I’m near Baltimore) or I would come see you! It is VERY hard to find a therapist with experience treating this condition.

  24. Shelley

    Hi,
    Sorry if this posts twice…it didn’t seem like it took it the first time. @Kelly Todd…I had VERY severe SPD that came on almost overnight at 37 weeks and ended up having to be in the hospital until I delivered, and then walked with a walker for about a month after delivery. Now, 1 year later, I feel almost no pain, except when lay on my side sometimes. I am thinking of having another child, but worried it might be too risky because I heard SPD can be worse and start sooner in next pregnancies. Do you find truth to that in your experience? Is there anything I could be doing now, pre-pregnancy, to lessen the likelihood of getting it (or getting it so severe) again? Would seeing a physical therapist now, doing certain core strengthening exercises, etc, for a year or so before becoming pregnant be likely to help or should I just wait and see if I even get it again? Thank you for the advice you have been giving people writing in…it is soo hard to find people familiar with this condition, and I remember feeling very isolated while I was in the hospital, until I found support groups online. If I were near you, I’d definitely come to you for treatment, but I’m in Maryland unfortunately!

  25. janelle

    wow. im experiencing this and it has gotten a lot worse in the past week or so. IM 38+4 and just walking one block is hard. I was complaining that something felt stuck, but its actually the pressure of the baby on my pubic bone. Sitting on toilet is painful and getting back up. This is my 3rd baby and i did not experience this with my first two. I really wanted to go walking but i dont think its gonna happen. it feels like my bones are gonna crack apart

  26. Kelly Todd

    @Shelly- Yes! Exercise can definetly help! It is often the case (but not all the time) that SPD can occurer in subsequent pregnancies. The best thing that you can do prior to becoming pregannt again is exercise! It would be best to do strengthening and stablity exercises for your core, hips and pelvic floor. Doing Yoga or Pilates may help as well. The stronger your core and pelvic floor muscles are prior to pregancy, the best chance you have to have a stonger and mroe stable pelvis during your preganancy!

  27. Margie

    My first pregnancy I did not have any pain like this, although I hemorrhaged. Since about week fourteen I have been experiencing pain in my entire pelvis area right above the bladder. I can’t walk, roll over, climb stairs, move suddenly or shift positions without pain. Sometimes it hurts so bad I want to cry…and hey… I went through sixteen hours of labor without any pain medication so my pain tolerance is pretty good. I feel like all I can do is literally lay down. But that concerns me because I can feel my muscles going to mush and I know this next delivery is really gonna hurt if I don’t strengthen myself. Everyone thinks I am being a sissy about it, but I know this pain is awful because I can hardly even walk.
    So for all you other girls out there experiencing this pain, it’s definitely not all in your head! We all are in the same boat!

  28. Victoria

    First thanks for putting this information out there I knew there was something bigger going on other than just being pregnant. All the comments helped me confirm that this is what I have and now I know to ask about my delivery options and recovery. I have two boys ages 4 and 6 and they are full of energy keeping up with them is hard especially with this pain. I just took them to school 30 minutes late because I could not get out of the bed due to this pain. I have called into work more than I am proud of because of pain and I felt like such a wimp. With my previous pregnancies I experienced my back killing me all the time it felt like my sciatic nerve was pinched and I thought that was the worst pain ever. With this pregnancy I am having a girl and it is completely worse. I still have the back pain but it is nothing compared to this pelvic pain. The Doctors always make it seem like it is just normal because our hormones are causing the ligaments to move to get ready for birth but I know it is not suppose to be this severe. I did physical therapy for my back for 3 weeks because that is all that Medicaid would cover and it seems like it caused my pelvic pain to get worse. I know I am not in as good of shape as I was with my previous pregnancies and had I been exercising more before I got pregnant it may not have been this bad. I am going to the doctor in a few days I will be sure to mention this to her. The pain has only gotten worse and worse and now I am 36 weeks pregnant I am terrified of being put on bed rest especially because it is when I am in bed that the pain seems to be at its worst. I have to pee through the night but find it near impossible to get out of bed and walk. I sleep on my side with so many pillows and yet when I need to roll over due to my arm falling asleep I find it excruciating. Good luck to everyone in this pain I am glad I am not the only one as bad as that sounds but I am not glad ya’ll are going through this I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

  29. Kelly Todd

    @Victoria-I am so sorry to hear that you are having so much pain! Please keep talking and discussing your pain and symptoms with your doctor. A referral to a Women’s Health or Pelvic Floor Physical Therapist may help you relieve you symptoms even in the last few weeks. I wish you lots of luck and a more comfortable rest of your pregnancy!

  30. Kait

    I’m not gonna lie, it was kind of nice reading about other womenwho are experiencing the same pain as me!! I’m 35 weeks (2nd pregnancy) and in excruciating pain. This has only been for about a week and a half, but I have a 30 lb toddler and its very hard to take care of her! I have been seeing a chiropractor for about a week and I’m not feeling too much better. In fact, I might be worse. @Kelley Todd- I’m trying to figure out, is this pubic symphysis or is it sciatic nerve pain? My pubic area hurt earlier in pregnancy but that amazingly went away! Now my main pain stems from my lower right back, butt, and hip. I feel a lot of pressure on my sit bone. I should also say that I experienced pain while sitting for about 4-6 months after my first pregnancy from what felt like a bruised tail bone. Is this all related?? My pain is stopping me from walking without a limp, picking up heavy things, making any quick movements… Laying on my side and rolling over is the WORST. One wrong move during the day and I’m audibly groaning in pain!

  31. Melissa

    I’m 14 weeks pregnant with my 5th baby and I have all the symptoms of pubic symphysis dysfunction.

    It’s a bit frightening to me because I had the same pain with my 2nd pregnancy, only I was nearly 28 weeks when my symptoms began. My midwife put me on bed rest for several weeks because I began to dilate and efface very early, but to my complete shock (and relief) my daughter wasn’t born until I was induced at 40 weeks and 3 days.

    Thankfully, I didn’t have any problems with my 3rd and 4th pregnancies. I hope that gives some hope to those who are concerned. Also, it might be worth noting that I exercised 5-6 times a week before this pregnancy. I ran, played basketball and did strengthening workouts for nearly three years before this pregnancy. I think this is related to hormones and not a lack of core strength.

  32. Rebecca Janis

    Thank you for writing about this. I am 17 weeks pregnant with my second child. My SI joint went out at the beginning of my pregnancy while rolling over in bed. The OBGYN won’t do anything. She said it is up to the orthopedist. The orthopedist refuses to do anything except send me to physical therapy. He said after I have the baby he will MRI my back and give me the proper drugs. I’ve already done a lot of physical therapy and have stopped for the past month because it isn’t helping and costing me a lot of money. I am in pain 24 hours a day and trying to keep up with my three year old. I had to quit my job because I babysit children at a gym and can’t bend down, lift anyone or even get up and down the stairs easily. Please tell me it will get better. I wear an SI belt but it really isn’t working anymore. And I use heat but I feel practically crippled.

  33. Kelly Todd

    @Kait-This pain all sounds related. The pain in the buttock and tailbone could be sciatica, however it also sounds like instability throughout your pelvis which is caused by the ligamentous laxity during pregnancy (which is increased in subsequent pregnancies). Tailbone-like pain would fall into this category as well. Have you been to PT? You would more than likely benefit from completing core and hip stability exercises along with body mechanics training, posture education during pregnancy, and lifting training. Also, a pregnancy support belt may help as well.

  34. Sarah

    Iam about 23weeks and have had this problem from about 10weeks. It however subsided for about two weeks but is back with more pain. My gynae said it is not an issue. Do you think i should get very worried?

    .

  35. Kelly Todd

    @Sarah-I think that anytime that you have pain or discomfort during your pregnancy that you should discuss it with your doctor. Continue to tell him or her your pain and symptoms and overall concerns. Also, you can always ask for a prescription/referral for PT explaining that you would like to seek treatment to make you more comfortable during your pregnancy.

  36. Chris

    With my first, I started developing this pain by 12 weeks and it was excruciating. Out of desperation, I decided to see a chiropractor who specialized in prenatal manipulation. I’d never been to one before and honestly thought they were quacks before that point. Wow, I’ve never been so grateful to be proven wrong. It took a couple visits, but the pain faded away and I continued seeing her regularly for the rest of my pregnancy. It’s ironic, but my body felt better during my pregnancy than it ever had before. Even the day I went into labor, I was comfortable crawling around under the desks at my work and climbing up and down a step ladder (and I was HUGE). If you’re having pain and can find a chiropractor in your area that specializes in pregnancy, it’s definitely worth checking out. Just be aware, you won’t feel better immediately, it takes a few visits for the inflammation to settle down, but it’s SOOOO worth it.

  37. Carrie K

    @Rebecca Janis-

    I have been diagnosed with SI Joint Dysfunction as well as SPD. I went to my pain management doctor, who is giving me my first steroid injection on Monday (okay’d by my OB). I’m 23w and cannot take the pain of both issues for another 17 weeks.

  38. Nancy

    I’m 31 weeks and for the past 3weeks I’ve been feeling soo much pain! I struggle getting of bed without feeling excruciating pain. I rather stay in bed. I feel horrible because I have a 2 year old I suck it up &handle the pain, I’ve cried from the pain but my girl needs me. I hate when my OB told me it’s normal! I never felt this with my first pregnancy! I can’t lift my leg to walk w/o pain or move my body in bed to get comfortable. There has to be something I have to say to my ob!

  39. kerry

    I feel like such a baby with this pain. After reading about others I am feeling better. I hurt soo bad. I’m now 33 weeks n my dr says everyone handles pain differently nothings wrong. I can’t walk or move nothing is getting done and I have a two year old. I’m using heat and sitting in a reclined position but if I stand or move I’m on my knees crying. No one seems to understand the pain. I’m a stay at home mom and my husband is working 6 10′s and expects everything to be done and I can’t do it. Luckly I did christmas shopping early! If any one finds something that works let me know. Oh yes tylonal is a joke no relief.

  40. Kim

    I am 22 weeks and have had increased pain in the last week. I injured a ligament in my SI joint region years ago- and had instability in my hip/joint region for years- until I saw a Chiropractor who treated me and was able to get it stabilized.
    I thought because I am having twins/and a planned C-section that I would not deal with hip/joint issues. I guess I am wrong. Could the former issue be causing SPD? I have tremendous pain in my pelvic region and I pretty much fall into the description of someone who has this. I have pain when standing, getting out of the car, and when walking. I am so frustrated to know I have a problem- knowing that I have so much time left in my pregnancy. Did I mention that I am having twins? I don’t even know where to begin. I am going to call my doctor’s office tomorrow. I just don’t want this condition to get worse….however it has been worse in the last 3 days. I feel like I am walking funny and limited as to what I can do. Thanks for sharing your stories.

  41. Kelly Todd

    @ Nancy- please continue to communicate to your OB your pain. There are options that you have to help relieve some of your pain during this last trimester and make you more comfortable. Talk to him/her about a referral for PT.

  42. Kelly Todd

    @Rebecca-having both SI joint dysfunction and SPD can lead to a good amount of instability in your pelvis and subsequent pain in your lower back, hips and pelvis. Strengthening and stability exercises may help; however, you may be appropriate for an SI belt or pelvic stability belt to help improve the position and stability of your pelvis and decrease your pain.

  43. Kelly Todd

    @Kim- yes, your symptoms sound like SPD. Especially with your history of a ligament injury in the past and now having twins, you are more susceptible to increased laxity in your pelvis and pain. Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and speak with her about a referral for PT. You still have long way to go and would benefit from learning or having rest and relief positions, stretches, exercises and possibly a stability belt.

  44. Kelly Todd

    @Kerry- I feel repetitive but have you looked into a stability belt? You may benefit from one especially since you are on your feet all day and active with your two year old. Also, try some general lower back and hip stretches and avoid positions that make the pain worse.

  45. Raquel

    I’m currently 31 weeks pregnant, 33 years old (almost 34) and this is my first pregnancy. I’ve been experiencing this pain for over 3 months now. I can’t spread my legs to roll over in bed, or do anything that requires me to stand on one leg; like put my pants on in the morning or walk up stairs. Walking is suuper painful.

    Not only is it pain in front of the pelvis, which makes me waddle and take really short, small steps, but the pain is also between my legs. I know this may be tmi, but my vagina also is in a ton on pain. It feels like I’ve been horseback riding without a saddle for 3days.

    Not only this, but I’m active duty in the army and so I’m expected to do physical training (pt) every morning. I’m supposed to be doing “maternity pt” which is light exercise, like walking 2 miles or “Zumba” at 0630 in the morning, but I just can’t manage simply the walking. I’m in trouble right now because I’ve been missing pt lately due to pain. I’m being told I should have gone to the doctor to complain rather than just not going to pt…but just like everyone else here, it seems that no one seems to give credence to my severity of pain and they just send me right back out to pt…or they say “you’re pregnant; you’re expected to have aches and pains”.

    I feel so desperate. I have so many other physical pains. Back pain and increased pain from previously injured joints. I’m a paratrooper in the army and so I have injured my ankle and feet in parachute jumps and now, those injuries are flaring up due to the relaxin relaxing all of my joints…but of course, I had to stop my therapeutic injections due to pregnancy. The back brace they gave me for my back pain doesn’t help, only restricts my already restricted breathing and walking to “keep in shape” only causes severe pain.

    I have another apt w my Ob and I’m going to see if there’s anything they can do to help me…maybe excuse me from pt all together. Tylenol and even flexeril (muscle relaxer) they gave me help in no way.

    Sorry for the long rant. I’m just really stressed right now n feeling desperate.

  46. Stacy Koenigs

    Raquel,
    The pain can radiate into the vagina and the inner thighs as well. A Sacro-Iliac belt (SI belt) or stability belt may help you with this pain. The belt will help to approximate the joint together while you are walking and rolling over in bed. You can wear it through the remainder of your pregnancy and even post partum if you feel like you need it then.

  47. amanda wages

    I had problems with my pelvic seperating with my first to pregnacies but this time it has been worse. I argued with my dr. For about a month and a half about the pain and grinding sensation and finaly convinced him to do an xray sure enough my pubis bone had seperated too early and I’m going to the chiropracter 3xs a week fo have it popped back into place along with my hips. This helps a little but there is still the sharp pinching feeling and they tell me it will only get worse untill the baby is born. I’m glad I found this artical now I can share it with my dr. And hopefully he can share it with other patients instead of just thinking its common preasure from being pregnant.

  48. Stacy Koenigs

    Amanda, I am glad that you are getting some relief from your pain with your chiropractic treatments to help you get through this. If you are not already using one, I would recommend using a SI belt to help with the pain by helping to stabilize your pelvis.

  49. Raquel

    Stacy k, thank you for ur reply. I have one of those support belts that goes around the bottom of ur belly to help support ur back. Is this the belt in which you speak? I have one that they gave me for the horrible back pain I was having, but I can’t really use it too much right now because I feel (oddly) that it restricts my breathing more than it is already (even though the belt isn’t anywhere near my lungs). I’m also experiencing a ton on Braxton hicks contractions (more than I think should be normal) and when those hit, the belt makes them hurt more. :(

  50. Jean Russell

    Oh dear where do I start. I have suffered from pubic symphisis pain, pelvic floor pain and vaginal pain since I had my last child 23 years ago. I feel stabs and heaviness very severely on and off at which I will fall to my knees . They just started up again about 3monthe ago. I have also been diagnosed with stage 3 Parkinson’s disease with extreme stiffness, poor balance, extreme fatigue,and cognitive impairment, and tremors of both hands and arms. I am almost 63 years old
    .i plan tp seek help from a women’s health center Which helped me several years ago. Pelvic floor massage and dilodid will be in my future again. Wish me luck Please!

  51. Stacy Koenigs

    Good luck to you Jean! I am glad that you are seeking help. Your balance will be helped with improving your core strength too.

  52. Stacy Koenigs

    Raquel,
    Yes, that is the belt that I am talking about. It’s worn below the belly during pregnancy. I would say that if it helps a bit to wear it while you are walking, then I would use it then and take it off when you are at rest. If it is too restrictive with breathing, then you may want to keep it off. Weigh out the benefits to the restrictions on that one. Good luck to you!

  53. Chanell

    I’m 35weeks pregnant and experiencing the same symptoms I can’t even get out of bed I need to ask my 6year old daughter to take pull me up.I’m scared to give normal delivery cause of this pain.Wish there is more help out there for this.

  54. Stacy Koenigs

    Chanell, If you are able to get a SI belt or stability belt to help stabilize the joint, I would try that to help get you through the day and be more functional with less pain. It doesn’t take the pain away completely, but it certainly can help with getting up and walking. You have a very valid concern about normal delivery and I suggest that you talk to your physician about this during your next appointment to see what can be done to help you get through the delivery.

  55. Taylor

    I am currently 40 weeks, two days before my due date there was an emergency and I had to run the length of a parking lot. It wasn’t painful while I was running, but about 30 minutes afterward I had SEVERE pelvic pain between my legs. I couldn’t walk, get into bed, or remotely lift my legs. After I finally slept (in a chair mind you) for about 4 hours total I was able to walk with discomfort, but not severe. I still cannot lift my legs without feeling as if I’m separating my pelvis. But staying off my feet helped. If it doesn’t go away soon I’ll have to call my doctor because labor is very soon.

  56. Penina

    I’m currently 35 weeks along in my third pregnancy. I had SPD to a small degree with my first, and from about 7 months with my second. It was bad then, but it’s so much worse now. This time it started at about 11 weeks, just a dull ache when walking and changing positions. It steadily got worse. I mentioned it at my OB appointments early on, and they dismissed it as round ligament pain. I knew it wasn’t, but they’re always in such a rush at my office and I didn’t feel like arguing. Each visit, though, it got worse and worse, and each time I mentioned it, they would dismiss it as something else. It’s so frustrating! I know this pain is not just the weight of the baby or anything else, I can feel the popping and shifting in my bones, but they refuse to listen. For the last week, I’ve been limping around my house, holding onto anything I could just to move from one room to another. Getting up from the toilet is so painful, as is getting in and out of bed. I’ve researched different PT stretches but they don’t help. Neither do hot compresses, cold compresses, Tylenol (ha! what a joke!), massage and those horrible bands.

    How do you convince your doctor that what your’e going through is so painful? I delivered my first two naturally, I can handle pain. This stuff is just not normal, but they just don’t seem to care. I called today to see what else I can do, they called back and said it’s possible the baby dropped lower so that’s why I’m in more pain lately. The baby has NOT dropped and I wouldn’t call unless I was really miserable. I’m just sick of being dismissed as “it’s normal” and feeling like I’m the wuss.

  57. brittany

    I am 34 weeks ive been having this pelvic pain throughout the entire pregnancy all my doctors tell me to do is to wear the maternity belt?!? the pain is so severe that I can barely walk lift my legs stand for a long period and when I lay down I feel the pressure! I cant get up with out feeling major pain, when I push on my pelvic bone in the front its so painful and of course the baby moves his head! nothing seems to help and my doctors seem to think this belt will help and it doesnt so I stopped telling them about the pain. is there anything I could do?

  58. Stacy Koenigs

    Penina,
    I would continue to let your physician know about the pain and symptoms that you are experiencing. Perhaps you walk into your next appointment armed with information for your physician’s office about pubic symphysis separation and the symptoms. Your advocacy and persistence will help to educate your physician’s group and hopefully help other women who are experiencing the same pain as you! I hope that you have a SI stability belt to help you with some of the pain while you are up on your feet! Good luck to you!

  59. Stacy Koenigs

    Brittany,
    The difficult part about this occurring during pregnancy is that the ligaments become more lax as you get closer to your delivery date and with that, there is even less stability at the pubic symphysis joint. The stability belt is meant to help to provide some compression to the joint to increase the stability and to reduce your discomfort. It will not take away all of the pain for everybody. I would recommend trying to obtain a referral to a PT to assess the joint and see if there is more that can be done to help you stabilize the joint for the remainder of your pregnancy and decrease your pain levels.

  60. Carli

    I was in my third trimester, went running, and suddenly felt the pain described. I suffered from SJP the duration of my pregnancy. The past week I have been experiencing SJP but I’m not pregnant- to my knowledge at least. Can the hormone changes that take place during pregnancy be loosening my pubic/hip area within the first two weeks of conception?… Could SJP symptoms be indicative of pregnancy? And if I’m not pregnant, why would these symptoms suddenly flair up? Thank you!

  61. Stacy Koenigs

    Carli,
    Hormone changes do begin early, though I don’t believe that it would be enough that early on to trigger your SJP symptoms simply from pregnancy. As you have experienced this previously, you have some laxity or mobility at the joint already. You may have thrown off your pelvic alignment somehow, which if you see a therapist, they can help you realign your pelvis and return to your previous pain-free state.

  62. Ariella Albiar

    I am 32 weeks and I haven’t really had a pelvic pain or anything like that. I broke my back, hip, and pelvic bone about 5 years ago. I have severe back pain and my doctor told me I was going to have to deal with that because I broke my sacrum. I’m just wondering if labor is going to be more painful than what someone who has never broken any of these bones? And my doctor told me that she is afraid that I will have to have a c-section because my pelvic bone might be immobile when it comes to delivery…how can I find out for sure that my baby will be okay? I do not care how much pain I have to go through… just will my baby be okay?

  63. teri

    I think I have this, so I told my ob but some how they kelp on telling my it part of the pregnancy. But ask day go by I get more pain… what should I do…

  64. Stacy Koenigs

    Ariella,
    You will do just fine! It’s hard to say if your labor will be more painful than someone else’s as each person handles things differently and we all have different pain thresholds. The doctors are the experts in the delivery department, so I would put your trust in your physician to make the decision that is best for you and your baby. Be sure to discuss your concerns with your physician at your next appointment.

  65. Stacy Koenigs

    Teri,
    I would continue to let your OB know about your pain. If it’s getting unbearable, you could ask them about a referral to physical therapy to get some help and pain relief. You can get a Sacro-iliac belt (or stability belt) to help to stabilize your joint and hopefully decrease your pain.

  66. Kim

    I am so happy to finally find a name and a forum for what I have been experiencing! I’m 27 weeks with my second and cry/scream out every time I move in bed. I had this with my first but not nearly as severe as this one. I’m an elementary art teacher and sitting down more is much easier said than done. I can’t lie on my side to sleep because that causes stabbing spasms in my pubic area so I have myself all sorts of propped up on pillows. I’m getting almost no sleep, teaching all day and coming home to a 3 year old. Needless to say I’m grumpy, crying and in so much pain. My husband tries to be helpful but my 3 year old is in a serious stubborn only mommy can do it phase. Giving her a bath brings me to tears because I just can’t get in a comfortable position to finish the job. I had hip surgery exactly one year ago to fix an impingement and torn labrum. My amazing hip surgeon had warned me the extra weight and joint flexibility was going to make this pregnancy more challenging so I was sure to be in great shape before I got pregnant. I am an avid Pilates practiced, and have tried cutting gluten out of my diet to help ease inflammation. I pray all day and night for relief of this numbing pain. I hate hearing that other people are experiencing this but find comfort in knowing I’m not alone.

  67. Tracy

    I am 22 weeks pregnant with twins. For a week now I have bad pain in the pelvic area when walking or standing. I basically waddle now . I mentioned this to my ob and it was brushed off as to be expected with twins . I know it will just get worse

  68. Stacy Koenigs

    Tracy,
    I would recommend getting yourself a stabilization belt (SI belt) to help support your pelvis while walking. Continue to let your physician know about your pain and ask about seeing someone for physical therapy treatment to assist you with your pain.

  69. Kendra

    I am 39 and in my 4th pregnancy. I have an 18 year old, 11 year old, and had a miscarriage last year. I am only about 6 1/2 weeks pregnant, but I am already having a lot of pain and pressure in my lower extremities. I remember in my previous pregnancies that I experienced severe pain in my pubic bone/pelvic area, but I do NOT remember it starting this early. Is anyone else experiencing pain this early? I’m hoping it isn’t the early signs of a miscarriage — but it is much different than my mc, so I don’t think so. I have a feeling I am going to be in for a long 9 months, but after the physical and emotional pain of my miscarriage at 12 weeks, it will thoroughly be worth the pain to have a healthy baby in the end. I would be interested in hearing more from mom’s who are in their 3rd/4th pregnant and older — and how this is impacting your symptoms. Thanks! :)

  70. Rose

    I am 32 weeks with my first and I have had this pain for about a month now and it seems to only get worse. Turning in bed is absolutely painful and walking/movement hurts pretty bad on a daily basis. If I am active during the day by time night comes I am almost in tears and can barely move. I did tell my doctor about it last week and he says “oh that is just your pelvic bone separating and your ligaments loosening”. my ligaments are loosening and I can feel them popping as I try to turn in bed. so my his response it doesn’t seem there is much that can be done about the issue. he basically told me I had to deal with it. so good luck to everyone as I know how painful it is.

  71. Stacy Koenigs

    Rose,
    I would highly recommend you get yourself a stability (or Sacro-iliac) belt to help you get through the remainder of your pregnancy. This will continue to change as your body prepares for delivery, but the belt will provide some compression to the joint to help to decrease your pain some and make walking less painful. This is the best way to get some relief right now. See the original article for other recommendations to assist you with your pain.

  72. emma

    Hiya, I have this problem. I am having my third child and can say I’ve never known pregnancy to hurt so much. I’ve had this since being a couple if weeks, bow I am a couple if weeks from dd. The midwives seem to not bother, they say it’s normal stretching, I think I know my own body and what is normal…. I can’t walk, I’ve cried in pain won’t it. My advice is to get some help as soon as it starts and do not listen to your midwife, listen to your body and pain and seek further help, pregnancy should be nice ans enjoyable, bot being in severe pain for months and unable to do anything. I’m dreading birth as feel I will damage myself more. Remember ladies, it’s your body and only you know what your going through so I’d anyone shuns it off or your midwife says it’s normal, don’t go away and keep suffering in silence. I find the more I do the more pain I have, baths do help abit but also relaxes you to cause more pain the next day, and I can honestly say I wish I could wear a nappy in bed as the pain of getting up is that severe I have led awake holding my bladder rather than go to the loo and have to move.
    Take care of yourself and remember you know your body better than anyone else, midwives may have delivered thousands of babies but each one is different.
    You can seek physio therapy via your hospital which is meant to help but you gave to push for it, better to demand mire than suffer.

    Hope all goes well for everyone

  73. Kelly

    With my first pregnancy it started at around 12 weeks and my OB said it must be some previous injury even thought I had already done the research and gave her the name of the condition – said she had never heard of it and just recommended Tylenol which did nothing. I screamed every night turning over in bed, drove my husband insane fr the entire pregnancy but it was gone right after natural vaginal delivery. This time around I was excited when I realized I didn’t have pain but it started creeping up at around 25 weeks, now 28 weeks and it almost at the most I can bear. My daughter is only 14 months but extremely active and our bed is very high… I’m not looking forward to the pain continuing as I know it will and and concerned about delivery again wondering if it will go away like last time or if injury will occur :-/ Wish me luck

  74. octavia

    Hi my name is Octavia and I am 8months pregnant I have this extreme pain in my pelvis that make my back in pain too. It hurt for me to walk any where, when I stand up a period of time it seem it get worse I cant sleep on either side or get any rest please give me some advice

  75. Karla

    I experienced SPD during my first pregnancy at about 20 weeks. I was working in Seattle and would take the metro into the city every day. From the bus stop I had to walk 2 very steep streets to get to my office. At first I thought I had an infection and demanded that my obgyn inspect me. Within seconds of taking a look inside she told me to get dressed and that I had SPD. After she explained everything about this problem (that I had never imagined existed) it all made sense. What made the most sense was the amount of pain that I would feel after going up and down the steep hills. That’s the worst thing one can do who is suffering from SPD. Well, it didn’t get better until after the delivery. The only thing that kind of helped was physical therapy but only for a day. My husband tried to help me with some of the exercises but we didn’t have the right setup at home. Needless to say I drove to work for the remainder of my pregnancy but it was all still so ver pailful.

    We just found out that I am 6 weeks pregnant. Although I am very pleased that soon we will welcome another bundle of joy into our family, I am terrified, reluctant, anxious….my memories of those sleepless painful days/nights are resurfacing.

    I ran across this blog while trying to research if there’s a chance that SPD is likely to occur during another pregnancy if it happened before. I have read a few comments that it has happened but I would love to hear that it doesn’t always happen.

  76. Stacy Koenigs

    Karla,
    It does not always affect you with the next pregnancy, but I would say that the incidence for it to happen again is higher due to your history of having it with the first pregnancy. I would recommend that you get yourself a SI belt if you feel that the symptoms are coming on so that you can support the joint to hopefully decrease the pain. Keeping the core muscles strong around the area will help you as well.

  77. hansa

    Any labor coping techniques for people who had a vaginal birth with this condition? Any stories or advice to share?? I am terrified of giving birth with all these pelvic problems but don’t want a c-section…

  78. Emily

    I experienced this with my last pregnancy (my 3rd). My doctor gave me a funny looking vest to wear that was to help take pressure off my pelvic area… That did not help me! Now that I’m pregnant with my 4th, it’s back!! It started around 12 weeks for me as well. With my last, I remember being uncomfortable lying in the hospital bed, before giving birth and the nurses were helpful in making sure I was comfortable but not much worked for me. This pain had no effect at all on the actual process of giving birth during my last labor (vaginal birth). Everything went great! It went completely away after 2 days of giving birth. Now, Putting on my pants (anything that requires me to be on one leg for even a split second) climbing stairs, exercising, and I find that sitting longer makes it worse for me. I have a job that requires me to sit 90% of the day.. So I have special accommodations that allows me to move around more. I’m 18 weeks now. I’m not doing anything to help the pain right now, I’m just dealing with it. Knowing the end result will be my little blessing and the fact that this will not last forever helps me mentally, but physically I wanna scream! I may try a chiropractor this time around , I heard that helps a lot. GOOD LUCK ladies!

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