Symphysis pubis diastasis (SPD) is the separation of the pubic symphysis, a cartaligious joint approximately 6 inches below your belly button. It connects the two sides of the pelvis.
Symphsis pubis diastasis is common during pregnancy. This is because of the hormone relaxin, which is released to loosen ligaments. The pubic symphysis expands up to 2-3cm.
You can imagine the instability this creates and becomes a key point you need to consider when training.
Careful thought is needed to ensure that movements and workouts don’t exhaust an athlete’s ability to stabilise. Walking lunges are a good example, since although they can be done with no problem pre-pregnancy, it is advisable to scale to stationary lunges to allow better focus on stability.
It is not only Symphsis pubis diastasis that makes her more unstable, the baby bump will shift her centre of gravity too.
SPD is normal in pregnancy and if properly managed shouldn’t become an issue, but in some cases it can become quite painful causing pain sometimes in both the front and back of the pelvis. If pain is experienced you must stop any activities and discuss with your doctor.
This then is given the name Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction, it causes pain and discomfort, both in workouts and everyday tasks such as walking and climbing stairs. The best medicine is rest and time spent developing the surrounding pelvic stabilising muscles. Stability balls, TVA exercises and pelvic tilts are all common tools to alleviate Symphsis Pubis Dysfunction.
But as they say, prevention is better than cure. So I’d rather try and avoid it in the first place by scaling movements, addressing stability and stopping when something doesn’t feel right.
(If you feel you are experiencing more then just the normal symphsis separation –pain is a good sign. You must seek advise from your doctor or midwife.)
Sally Dixey is a Crossfit London Personal Trainer in Bethnal Green