I haven’t blogged as much as I’d have liked to over the past few weeks for one simple reason: everything hurts. As my hips crunched together and my thighs went numb, I almost started to fondly miss the nausea and sweating of weeks gone by. Not being able to walk is really very boring.
Pelvic pain is common during pregnancy, the NHS website says that 1 in 5 women get it to some degree, but of course this will range in severity from woman to woman from “ooooh me back hurts” (kinda to be expected unfortunately, during the bizarre miracle that is growing a human inside you) to “can’t walk without crutches”.
Way back in 2010 when I was under the chronic pain & maxfax teams at Royal Surrey for my jaw and neck issues, I was warned that pregnancy would likely be problematic for me. A combo of rubbish hips and a hefty dose of the not-remotely-relaxing “relaxin” hormone was never going to be a recipe for comfort. What I didn’t know back then of course was that I would one day be pregnant with not one baby, but two. Two lovely gorgeous babies who at the 24 week scan registered as being on the 92nd percentile in terms of size. They are big. I am big. And like all twin mums my body has had to stretch to accomodate them ludicrously quickly.
I have found the speed of bump growth hard the whole way along to be honest, I wouldn’t say it has ever felt comfortable, but over the last few weeks it got really bad. There have been times where I’ve tried to dawdle very short distances, then been literally 500 metres from home and had to get a taxi. I was crying on a daily basis because it felt like I was wearing knickers made of lead. My legs wouldn’t move the way they should. I couldn’t bend down. I couldn’t get comfortable sat down. I couldn’t do the stairs. I felt like I couldn’t do ANYTHING.
But! And there is a but, before everyone worries this is purely a moan-fest, I have found some things which have made me feel a lot better. Praise be!
Obviously the main thing that has helped has been giving in to the fact that my body is under a lot of stress and realising it’s absolutely ok to turn down invitations, rest up and duck out of chores. I didn’t expect to wind down work as early as 25 weeks but I’m not going to meetings anymore (well, not unless it’s properly important and I can taxi door-to-door) and I really limit my time at my desk. I do as many emails as I can from my phone whilst horizontal (yey!) and whilst I’m still taking on paid work for now and looking at some really exciting projects, I’m also getting everything in place to start my maternity allowance early. Nothing is more important than the babies and whilst SPD can’t harm the babies in any way, it’s not helpful for me to be upset and stressed at a time when I was otherwise feeling ludicrously joyous. Changing the pressure I was putting on myself to pretty much zero has been a HUGE help and I am so much happier for it.
As well as reducing my workload and saying goodbye to stacking the dishwasher, I’ve also bought a few things which have made a difference…
Serola Sacroiliac Belt
I’ve wanted to buy a pelvic support belt for a while but was at a loss as to where to begin as they all looked so different; some looked like cruel contraptions for the hips whilst others looked more like massive Spanx to cover the whole bump. Luckily the physiotherapist at the hospital let me try a belt which she thought would make a big difference given my symptoms and I went straight home and ordered it. I had felt relief immediately when she’d fastened it on me and whilst I couldn’t take it home (*sob*) I Primed one and since Friday I’ve been wearing it whenever I’ve needed to walk anywhere or be out of the house. It has really helped. Granted I’ve only had it a few days, but it has REALLY changed my ability to do simple things like “walk around the supermarket”. I still doubt I could walk very far, but it has made a world of difference and I wish I had bought one sooner.
I bought a size large (this was what the physio fit me in so I could buy it confidently) and I liked knowing that this is what an NHS physio would recommend. I’m always wary of “gadgets” when it comes to anything as important as “our skeletons” but I read lots of reviews, it’s commonly used across hospitals and – more than anything else – I’ve felt the relief for myself. This was money well spent.
Coccyx Orthopedic Cushion
My tailbone has been in agony for a while now so when this cushion came up as a lightning deal during Prime Day I almost didn’t care if it was going to be a gimmicky load of rubbish. I bought it knowing I was about to sit in the car to Manchester and if it could help even a tiny bit to take the pressure off my bum then it would have been worth buying. Much to my surprise, it has actually been really really helpful. I use it at my desk and when I sit in the car, but I also take it out with me (revel in my coolness) if I know I’ll be sitting down anywhere for long.
It IS weird to sit on something which feels a bit like a potty, but it’s extremely comfortable to sit on and I have found it helps my posture enormously – as well as crucially taking the pressure off my coccyx.
Another recommendation from the physio, I bought this to do some of the pelvic exercises I’d been recommended but it’s also just really nice to sit on in front of the telly. Apparently some people find them useful in labour too!
I’ve fully reviewed the bbhugme already here but I thought I’d include it in this post too as it’s definitely an important weapon in my fight against SPD. It keeps my hips in an optimal position when sleeping and I also use it tied up to support my back when sat down on the sofa. It’s BRILLIANT.
I know I’m only going to get bigger, but I hope these things will continue to help me going forward. I want the babies to stay put as long as possible (and to get as big and strong as possible – COME ON BABIES, YOU CAN DO IT!) so I have no complaints there, it’s just hard sometimes when you feel physically very trapped by discomfort.
I’ll be starting hydrotherapy at the hospital in August hopefully and I would definitely recommend to anyone suffering in pregnancy to speak to their midwife for a referral to physio. Of course there are aspects of pregnancy which are always going to be uncomfortable, but if you think you have pelvic girdle pain (more info here) then you must say because there are definitely things you can try. And the sooner you speak up, the sooner you may get some relief!
Happy waddling 😀