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What you need to know about symphysis pubis dysfunction

Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD) is a loosening of the ligaments near the pelvis that results in an unstable joint and possible pain and discomfort. It’s not going to loosen the ligaments to the point that your leg falls off, but it could be painful nonetheless, and can critically interfere with the rest of your life.

What causes it?

Throughout your nine-month journey through pregnancy, your body will constantly be preparing itself for labor. One of the main ways that your body gets ready for delivery is by secreting the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which, for lack of a better word, relaxes the ligaments so they may stretch in order to provide room for Baby to be born. Sometimes, the amount of relaxin produced can be too much – if this is the case, it may loosen your hip ligaments enough to cause SPD.


Kegels, the miracle exercise, are the best way to prevent Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction, as they strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, and keep your hip joints stable.

You might also look into buying a pelvic support belt. These belts help keep the structural integrity of your hip joints through compression, much like a corset. There is not a great way to treat it once it sets in, but rest can manage the pain, and most cases of SPD resolve themselves following delivery.

And as is the case for all medications, make sure any medicine you take to treat your SPD pain is safe to take during pregnancy.

Read more
  • Emily R. Howell, BPHE (Hons), DC, FCCPOR(C)*. “Pregnancy-related symphysis pubis dysfunction management and postpartum rehabilitation: two case reports.” J Can Chiropr Assoc. 56(2): 102-111. Web. 6/12/2015.
  • “Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.” Birthsource. Perinatal Education Associates, n.d. Web.
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