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Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction (SPD) is now more commonly called Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP). It is a painful condition which can occur when the pelvic ligaments soften during pregnancy. The hormones progesterone and relaxin cause these ligaments to relax, which allows movement of the pelvic bones during birth. Some women’s ligaments soften more than others, and a great degree of softening can cause instability of the pelvic joints, and particularly the pubic symphysis, which is a joint at the front of the pelvis.

There are many reasons why a home birth is a good option if you have PGP. If you are very immobile, it can be much easier to be in a familiar place, with any equipment you need available without having to ask for it. Also, your partner can be on hand at all times to help rather than being constrained to visiting times.

chops!Active birth positions such as standing, kneeling, and all fours are often the positions women find most comfortable as the weight of the baby is off the symphysis pubis causing less strain and damage. You may find hiring a birth pool helpful as being in water can allow you to move more easily and take the weight off your joints. Use the position your body tells you to! This can all be easier to achieve in a home environment.

It is really important that the midwife who attends you in labour is aware of your PGP so they can support you as necessary. They should take in to account how wide you can comfortably open your legs particularly if performing vaginal examinations or perineal suturing for example.

Staying at home to birth your baby means you are less likely to be subjected to interventions which may make PGP worse. Epidurals should be avoided as once your feelings are deadened, you may not be able to tell if your legs are opened too wide, and this is when many tears or severe separations occur. Forceps or vacuum extractor during pushing also necessitate a wider leg position which increase the chance for pubic symphysis damage.

Whilst homeopathy is very much based on an individual’s personal circumstances, personality, and needs, some women report improvement in pain with the use of the homeopathic remedy, Kali Carb, 30c.

Further resources:

Pelvic Partnership – Support & Information on SPD/PGP

Plus Size Pregnancy – PGP info

Pelvic Instability Network

A home birth story with SPD/PGP

Written by Katie, mum of 1 (soon to be 2!), midwife & homebirther