What is symphysis pubis dysfunction?
Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a problem with the pelvis. Your pelvis is mainly formed of two pubic bones that curve round to make a cradle shape. The pubic bones meet at the front of your pelvis, at a firm joint called the symphysis pubis.
The joint’s connection is made strong by a dense network of tough tissues (ligaments). During pregnancy, swelling and pain can make the symphysis pubis joint less stable, causing SPD.
Doctors and physiotherapists classify any type of pelvic pain during pregnancy as pelvic girdle pain (PGP).
SPD is one type of pelvic girdle pain. Diastasis symphysis pubis (DSP) is another type of pelvic girdle pain, which is related to SPD. DSP happens when the gap in the symphysis pubis joint widens too far. DSP is rare, and can only be diagnosed by an X-ray, ultrasound scan or MRI scan.
What are the symptoms of SPD?
Pain in the pubic area and groin are the most common symptoms, though you may also notice:
- Back pain, pain at the back of your pelvis or hip pain.
- Pain, along with a grinding or clicking sensation in your pubic area.
- Pain down the inside of your thighs or between your legs.
- Pain that’s made worse by parting your legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed.
- Pain that’s worse at night and stops you from sleeping well. Getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful.
SPD can occur at any time during your pregnancy or after giving birth. You may notice it for the first time during the middle of your pregnancy.