One of the more common joint pains experienced during pregnancy or postpartum is the Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction, or SPD in short. During pregnancy the ligaments around symphysis pubic region is naturally relaxed and softened as a natural course in preparation for the baby’s birth. The pelvis is the largest part of the human skeleton. It consists of three joints; the pubic symphysis and both the right and left sacroiliac joints. Massive ligaments support and surround these joints. These biological changes during pregnancy can cause pain as a result of the instability in the pelvic joint region.
The joint pain during pregnancy may occur as early in the first trimester in the pregnancy. The symptoms can surface from daily walking or simple movement of legs such as standing up or sitting down. The pain can be alarming. In severe cases, the pain results in swelling in the pubic bony region running down the hip, groin, lower abdomen, inner thigh and buttock areas. One may also hear an audible clicking sound originating from the pelvis joint. The intensity of this problem can develop and aggravate slowly throughout the course of pregnancy.
Together with the postural and hormonal changes during pregnancy, the growing baby and the instability in the pelvic joints add to the pain experienced which can be discomforting and differs from one person to another. Walking and climbing stairs may become straining and pain can even be felt while turning in bed.
Following are the symptoms that one may experience during pregnancy;
- Inflammation or swelling in the joint areas.
- Pain and stiffness in the hip joint
- Difficulty in lifting legs
- Pain while drawing legs apart
- Inability or Pain while standing on one leg
- Difficulty trying to sit or stand
- Pain from pelvis areas down to inner thighs
Given that joint pains in various parts of the body do affect women during their pregnancy, it is recommended that;
- Walk only when it is absolutely necessary
- Consume foods which are high in calcium and iron supplements
- Use mobility aids such as a wheelchair, walker, elbow crutches and walking stick if necessary
- Avoid from taking pain killers unless necessary
- Wear a pelvis support belt if suitable
- Sitting down to get dressed
- Avoid lifting heavy items
- Seek medical help if conditions worsen or is unbearable
Given that these joint pains occur during the pregnancy, one should take heart that after the baby is born these pains and discomforts will slowly subside once the joints are firmed up again.
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