Body Fabulous

Pelvic, Pubic Pain & Pelvic Instability in Pregnancy – SPD

Many women become pregnant and think the only exercise they can do is walking. Unfortunately too much walking can trigger a very uncomfortable condition called SPD – symphis pubis dysfunction or pelvic pain, pelvic instability or pelvic girdle pain..
Too often this pain is just dismissed as lower back pain. When in fact it is inflammation of the pelvic area.
You may have this condition if you are having difficulty getting in and out of bed or the car and even walking.
Don’t stress you are not alone and it does not harm your baby.
1 in 5 women will suffer with pelvic instability 
with about 5% having serious problems.
Excessive instability is called pregnancy related Pelvic Girdle Pain (PRPGP)
Good news !
Early assessment, safe and sensible exercise during pregnancy and intervention can improve daily function.
What is Pelvic Instability ?
  • The ligaments holding the pelvic bones together become soft and stretch due to hormones (relaxin). This leads to an unstable pelvis. Pain or instability can occur at any of the pelvic joints
  • The pubic bone at the front can separate from 2 – 3 mm, this starts from as early as 8 weeks pregnant, it can separate as far as 10 mm and this is when pubic symphysis dysfunction is diagnosed.
  • The joints at the back (sacroiliac joints) also stretch making this joint unstable which causes pain and dysfunction 
  • Changes in weight and posture also affect the position of the pelvis, which in turn makes it more difficult for the muscles to stabilise the pelvis as they are stretched and weakened.
  • If you think about it your pelvis is basically floating and if you decide to do regular walking it begins to rub where the joints are split – leaving to instability, inflammation and pain.

Pain and instability can occur in one or all of the 3 pelvic joints those being the Pubic Symphysis joint at the front of the pelvis and the left and right Sacroiliac joints at the back


Symptoms of Pelvic Instability Include:

Too often the symptoms of PRPGP or SPD are dismissed as just lower back pain – and ignored is it considered as “one of the things that all pregnant women get”.

Please use this check list below to see if you have any other symptoms :

  • Pain in the front or back of the pelvis, groin, buttock, thigh, hip and  lower back 
  • Difficulty walking or a waddling walking pattern 
  • Pain when standing on 1 leg 
  • Pain when turning or twisting
  • Pain in hips when rolling in bed
  • Difficulty getting into and out of the car
  • Clicking/clunking sounds from the pelvis
  • Pain when opening  your legs
  • Shooting pain down the inner thigh
  • Pubic bone pain
Symptoms of pain from the Sacroiliac joints (at the back)
  • Sharp fleeting pain especially on rising up from sitting in a chair – felt on either side of the back of the pelvis (pain can switch sides easily)
  • Shooting pains into the buttocks or down the back of the legs to the knee
  • Pain when lying on your back and side without support between the knees
  • One sided pain concentrated in the buttocks area. 

If the pain is accompanied by pins and needles or numbness that extends further than the knee,this should be assessed by a medical professional.

SPD, pelvic pain, pelvic instabilityIt is important you exercise safely & effectively during pregnancy to avoid pelvic pain.

Steps to managing pelvic pain

Specialised exercises (including functional training and structural balance) are important in improving the strength of the supporting structures within and around the pelvis. Please don’t assume that you should just immediately cease your exercise program if you have any symptoms of pelvic pain. Have a health professional or certified trainer assess and guide you.
A pelvic support belt provides most women in the bodyfabulous pregnancy exercise classes a great relief from pelvic pain. Plus regular massage or joint mobilisation from a qualified pregnancy physiotherapist.

At our bodyfabulous pregnancy fitness we focus on safe and sensible exercises including strength conditioning of the legs, specialised pelvic floor conditioning and mobility exercises – all which can help prevent and relieve pelvic instability symptoms.


There is a strong link between regular walking and the occurrence of Pelvic Instability.

Not everyone who walks gets PRPGP but I find almost all the women who do get it are regular walkers !
Because of this, I caution my participants against long walks (even during shopping) if it is causing pain.
Other activities to avoid are prolonged standing especially with weight on one hip (often by carrying a child or heavy hand bag), carrying very heavy objects, bending and twisting caused by housework such as mopping and vacuuming, wearing high heels, sitting on a hard floor or hard chair, sitting on a very soft couch, sitting with legs crossed and climbing stairs.

Will Pelvic Pain it get worse or better after I give birth ?

Research studies have shown that the majority of women (approx 93%) recover from pelvic pain within the first 3 months of giving birth. However there are a small percentage whose symptoms will last longer. If so, consult your Doctor.

Pelvic Pain can also be prevented by specialised exercises done during pregnancy that focus on mobility and structural balance. Try a Preggi Bellies Class.

is an excellent resource for support for PRPGP.
Or for more information on bodyfabulous pregnancy fitness and how you can exercise safely and effectively during your pregnancy contact me here.