Pelvic pain in pregnancy (SPD)

What causes SPD?

During pregnancy, your body produces a hormone called relaxin, which softens your ligaments to help your baby pass through your pelvis. This means that the joints in your pelvis naturally become more lax.

However, this flexibility doesn’t necessarily cause the painful problems of SPD. Usually, your nerves and muscles are able to adapt and compensate for the greater flexibility in your joints. This means your body should cope well with the changes to your posture as your baby grows.

SPD is thought to happen when your body doesn’t adapt so well to the stretchier, looser ligaments caused by relaxin. SPD can be triggered by:

  • the joints in your pelvis moving unevenly
  • changes to the way your muscles work to support your pelvic girdle joints
  • one pelvic joint not working properly and causing knock-on pain in the other joints of your pelvis

These problems mean that your pelvis is not as stable as it should be, and this is what causes SPD. Physiotherapy is the best way to treat SPD, because it’s about the relationship between your muscles and bones, rather than how lax your joints are. You’re more likely to develop SPD if:

  • you had pelvic girdle pain or pelvic joint pain before you became pregnant
  • you’ve had a previous injury to your pelvis
  • you’ve had pelvic girdle pain in a previous pregnancy
  • you have a high BMI and were overweight before you became pregnant
  • hypermobility in all your joints

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