Dealing with pre and postnatal Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) and Pelvic Girdle Pain (PGP)

Pregnancy can be expensive.

Yes your maternity care is free under the Maternity and Infant Scheme and the prenatal vitamins don’t cost too much. You’ve got 9 months to save up for the baby and work out a budget for when the little bean arrives, but one thing we neglect to include in that budget is our pre natal and post natal well being.

Of course, every pregnancy is different, many women sail through. But one in four women suffer from Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, Pelvic Girdle Pain or both.

I’ve always suffered with my back and saw my osteopath regularly as well as practiced Pilates to manage my scoliosis and back pain. I knew that I’d most likely suffer to some extent if I ever got pregnant, but I’d never heard of SPD or PGP.
As soon as I reached 12 weeks in my pregnancy, and the relaxin hormone kicked in, I started experiencing problems in my hips, back and my pelvic floor.
It was recommended that I see a Chartered Physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s Health Physiotherapy.
From the get go Laura from Live Well was great.
After my initial assessment I learned how to adjust my stance (I locked my knees when I was standing, this put strain on my back which contributed to the pain in my lower back, hips and knees) and how to use all of my foot when I walked (Yes I learned how to walk, properly)
I also learned how to engage my core and to exercise my pelvic floor the right way (You’d be surprised just how wrong I was doing it)

After a couple of months of Pre Natal Pilates Classes, Physiotherapy, daily stretches and massage as well as regular visits to my Osteopath, I was able to walk better towards the end of my pregnancy, than I could at 12 weeks, I found that alternating between Physio and Osteopathy worked great for me. It was worth every penny. But it did stretch us a bit thin and surviving on one income at the time wasn’t easy. We had to dip into baby fund a few times.

In this post I’m going to give you advice on how you can look after yourself, no matter what your budget or time constraints are, and provide links to some great websites full of information.

**Make sure you get your medical professional or midwife’s go ahead before attempting any types of exercise or stretching during pregnancy and before your 6 week post natal check-up.**

SPD and PGP, what are they?

SPD:
Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction
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Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD) is a condition that causes excessive movement of the pubic symphysis (See diagram above) as well as associated pain, possibly because of a misalignment of the pelvis. -Wikipedia

PGP:
Pelvic Girdle Pain

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Pregnancy related pelvic girdle pain (abbreviated PGP) causes pain, instability and limitation of mobility and functioning in any of the three pelvic joints- The two Sacroiliac Joints and the Pubic Symphysis. – Wikipedia

What causes SPD and PGP?

During pregnancy the hormone relaxin is produced. This causes the ligaments in the pelvic region to relax and stretch in preparation for labour.
Unfortunately there’s no magical cure for the pain, but there are ways that you can manage it.

It’s important to know that the vast majority of women suffering from SPD and PGP will recover fully, more or less straight after the birth, but for some it can take months, even up to a year for the pain to subside.

1. I recommend that you go and get a one on one assessment by a chartered physiotherapist who specialises in Women’s health. Be it private or public, the assessment will enable you to know what’s causing the pain and your physiotherapist can advise you on different ways that you can relieve it..

2. Buy a support pillow for sleeping, there’s so many option out there. I’ve heard great things about the Dreamgenii pregnancy pillow but they can retail anywhere from €60-80 depending on where you buy it.
Alternatively you can buy a triangular pillow, the midwife at my antenatal class recommended them. They’re way more affordable that the Dreamgenii and work just as well. I picked mine up in Guineys.
Whichever one you go for, make sure to pick up a spare pillow case.

3. You may need a support belt which helps to support your bump by taking a bit of the weight off of your hips and helping to support your back at the same time, some of them can even be used post pregnancy. The downside is that they can be quite expensive and they don’t work for everyone, so enquire about trying one before you invest. You can get one free from the public physio or your private physio will give you one to try before you consider buying one. If it works for you then it’s definitely something worth investing in, it can be a long 9 (10) months and chances are you’ll use it for subsequent pregnancies and in your post natal recovery.

4. Maternity Briefs/Shaping Underwear
Having the right support during and after pregnancy can help greatly. Maternity briefs are so comfortable (Albeit not the most flattering) You can pick them up in penneys or alternatively Here and Here. They help to support your bump and relieve back pain.
Regular shaping underwear and vests will help to support your abdominal and pelvic floor muscles weakened after pregnancy, the compression helps to shrink your uterus and speed up recovery and they can also offer great support and comfort if you’ve had a cesarean section. You can pick them up, again, in Penneys, here or here

5. Pre-Natal Pilates or Yoga?
Pilates is more about strengthening your core (abdominal muscles) and increasing the stability of your back and pelvic floor. All really important during pregnancy.
Yoga helps to keep you flexible and relaxed (the stretches and pulls can help loosen all the tight muscles that come from carrying a tiny human) it can also help to fight fatigue and nausea! Get advice from your doctor or Physio on which one would be better for you. But remember, there’s no law that says you can’t do both.
Shop around for different classes in your area and find a time and price that suits you, whether it’s a morning or evening class, most pre and post natal classes run for blocks of 6-8 weeks. Some classes you have to pre-pay for, but there are loads of instructors who run pay per class sessions too, if work and other commitments mean you don’t have a lot of free time.

6. Download an app! There are countless apps out there that specialise in wellbeing and most of them are free. It’s a cost effective way of looking after yourself during and after pregnancy.
One of the most useful ones I downloaded was the Pregnancy Pelvic Floor Plan App from Continence Foundation of Australia
You can read tips on looking after your pelvic floor, bladder and bowel during and after pregnancy. You can also learn how to do pelvic floor exercises and schedule reminders (Super helpful, because baby brain is indeed a thing) and the information in the app is divided into key pregnancy milestones, so the info you receive is tailored to whatever stage of pregnancy you’re in.

7. The Contincence Foundation of Australia also have a 36 page guide on pregnancy. It’s a great booklet full of invaluable information and covers a range of topics including abdominal muscle bracing, sex before and after, pelvic floor, prolapse etc. you can read it here.

8. Youtube it!
There are countless workouts/self help videos on youtube. One that I found particularly helpful were these four videos from Gary Crowley on relieving Pelvic Girdle Pain.

9. Babycentre.co.uk is a great site and their app to track your pregnancy and your babies development is fantastic. Here’s a post on Pelvic Girdle Pain.

**Again make sure you get the go ahead from your physiotherapist or doctor before attempting any exercises.**

If you’re in pain don’t ignore it, there are ways that you can get help without breaking the bank. Knowing where to start can be a bit daunting, but hopefully this list and the links will help.

Did you suffer from SPD or PGP? How did you manage it during and after your pregnancy? Feel free to comment below

A x

Baby, Baby

So we announced today that we’re expecting baby number two in April next year!

You can check out our announcement video here:Β https://youtu.be/a0M3vUgRNvg

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged about anything and I’ve really, really missed it.

I spent the past four months in hiding. Hiding from the world and from the kitchen because, food smells (ugh)
Yes the past four months I literally focused on surviving and pretty much gave up on social media and interacting with anyone.

I went to work and tried not to get sick on my lap whilst driving, a few times I had to stop the car and get out and dry wretch along the motorway. Fun times!

Constantly snacking helped and unlike my pregnancy with Finn, I’ve completely gone off of Strawberries this time. Like, completely!

I napped in my car at lunchtime because even a 10 minute power nap was better than nothing and it was THE ONLY way I could get through the day. I shit you not.
It wasn’t all bad though. Finn was still taking 2 naps a day so when he napped I napped and he’s also at that age where he’s quite happy playing away with his toys as long as I’m there beside him. It didn’t matter that I was panned out on the couch suffering through what felt like one of the worst hangovers (it’s the only way to describe it) as long as I was there, he was quite content. Win!

Anyway so morning sickness sucks ass, but right on queue at 14 weeks it started subsiding and I’ve finally got my energy back. Which is a good thing. My house realllllyyy needs to be hoovered.

Yes, I’m finally able to stay awake past 8.30, to enjoy the smell of coffee again and stomach tea! I’m still working my way up to eggs.

This pregnancy so far has been so much harder than Finn. But as I explained to Ross after losing one baby I gave zero fucks about anything else except sustaining and nourishing Finn and one of the main ways I could do that was to sleep, all the time! I didn’t have that luxury this time. But like most women, I survived.

Spring Capsule Wardrobe-Outfit 5

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Spring is definitely in the air as we move into March but it’s still only 6Β°C out so I paired this light t-shirt  and jeans with a navy long sleeve thermal underneath for an extra bit of warmth. Threw on a pair of brown flat ankle boots and there you have it. Easy, comfy and casual. One of my go to outfits in my capsule wardrobe.


I also got my hair cut for the first time in about 10 months πŸ™ˆπŸ™Š

I’ve been badly in need of one for a while now and I finally got my ass in gear. My hair was down to my hips!

2 months after I stopped breast feeding my hair started to fall out. Another 2 months later the hair loss slowed and my hair started growing back with a vengeance! It was so heavy and long and was such a chore to wash and dry, Also I went through so many hair bands, seriously, a LOT! 

Nothing like a simple haircut to make you feel amazing.

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Striped t-shirt// Primark – Similar here & here
Jeans// Massimo Dutti
Belt// Primark – Similar here, here & here
Boots//Primark – Similar here & here

Spring capsule Wardrobe- Outfit 4

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Happy Tuesday, everyone!

I had a lovely, quiet weekend relaxing and spending time with family. We went for a swim on Sunday and I’ve started doing an Aqua Aerobics classes twice a week. What a work out!
The last time I went to an aqua aerobics class I was 9 months pregnant! That was challenging too, especially when I was trying to get out of the pool afterwards πŸ˜€

There’s still that chill in the air so I’ve been adding knits to my wardrobe. Will most likely be keeping them for the next three months, but you never know πŸ˜‰

I love this skirt. It was a gift from my sister for my Birthday.

IMG_3495IMG_3498IMG_3497It’s a nice thick material and the quality is great. I have to say, Topshop, like Zara, you get what you pay for.
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The top is just a plain long sleeve. A basic for any wardrobe! It’s got a cute little pocket on the front.
I dressed the outfit up with thick tights (200 Denier) and my back ankle boots.

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I’ve had these boots for a couple of years now and they’re the best. So comfy and they play a huge part in my wardrobe. They go great with any season style. Again they’re from Clarks, well worth the money but these were blagged in the sale for about €40!

This necklace made an appearance in another blog post during the summer. It’s from Zara and it just screams spring.

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As we’re still battling off winter, I added a turtleneck cardigan. It belonged to my sister a long, long time ago and I’ve had it for years (Thanks, Les ;*)
It’s nice and warm and looks bad ass with a pair of jeans and a leather jacket.

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Skirt// Topshop – (Sold out) Similar here & here
Top// Primark – Similar here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & hereNecklace// Zara – Similar here
Turtleneck Cardigan// (OLD) – Similar here & here

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Outfit 2

Day 2 and again, it was cold! #IrishWinterInSpring

I paired this gorgeous Zip Back Jumper with cargo pants and brown knee high boots.

The jumper was light enough for out and about running errands but warm enough for the wet, damp weather.


The ‘Serenity’ colour is taken straight from the S/S’16 colour palette.
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The jeans were featured in another blog post and are a staple in my wardrobe! They’re so comfy!

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I invested in these boots from Clarks and I’ve had them for over 2 years. They’re just the best! Perfect for Winter.

They are definitely a wardrobe staple for Autumn/Winter/Spring.

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Babies make for the cutest accessory!! ^_^

Jumper// Primark (Penneys) – here
Jeans// Primark (Penneys) – Similar here & here & here
Boots// Clarks – Similar here & here

Spring Capsule Wardrobe Outfit 1

Day one and it was 3 degrees out! Yikes.

It was a bit cold today so I decided to throw a jumper over my chambray shirt and jeans!

I hadn’t planned on making it a part of my spring capsule wardrobe, but it’s one of the warmest jumpers I own and I love it πŸ™‚

As I said in my last post, I’m not strictly following all the rules because, well, Ireland is a bit topsy turvey when it comes to the seasons, you never know what weather you’re going to get from one day to the next so even though I try to cover all bases with my 33 items, occasionally I have to grab an extra thick jumper or throw on those cosy leather boots!

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I’ve had this jumperΒ  for a while now and I love it. It’s so thick and cosy.

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I picked up this shirt in Tesco! They have some lovely stuff from time to time. The chambray shirt in this blog post is also a bargain from Tesco πŸ™‚

ISZL0486_FotorAARM9285_FotorThese Jeans! ❀ Zara baby! I’ve been looking for a pair similar to these for AGES. I love the hip detail. They’re so comfy, too!

IMG_3602I finished off the outfit with these tan Chelsea boots that I picked up in Primark (Penneys) just before Christmas. They look great and go with practically everything. You can’t go wrong with this wardrobe staple.

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Jumper// Primark – Similar here & here
Shirt// F&F for Tesco –Β  here
Jeans// Zara – Similar here & here
Boots// Primark – SImilar here & here

What I Wore: Travel Essentials

So I finally got my holiday!

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We went to Crete to visit the in-laws for 17 days. It was our first time travelling with a baby and we were so anxious and worried about the plane journey that when Ross’ brother asked us what we had planned when we eventually arrived, we stared at him blankly. We actually had no idea! I couldn’t think past the plane journey! Long story short, we fed the baby on take off and landing and pretty much every time he tried to winge, we shoved the bottle right in there and he was happy! SUCCESS

One thing I hate about travelling, no matter how organised I am, is the fact that you somehow always end up with a duty free bag full of crap that you have to cart about. You never have the time to repack jackets and jumpers and books and ipad/phones etc. that need to be screened before boarding! Add to that all the gear that one needs for a tiny little human and the last thing I need is to be wearing something that’s not comfy, versatile and sling friendly. Not to mention the fact that I had to plan for the return home in mid October from 25 degrees. Yeah it was a challenge.

But without further ado (or ranting) πŸ˜‰


I’m always hot and flustered in the airport but it’s always chilly on the plane and I wanted something light that would keep me at the right temperature especially when wearing a baby! Having to remove layers if I got too hot (especially with a sleeping baby) was a no, no so I decided to go with this light little sweater, I’ve had it for a couple of years now and it goes with practically everything! It’s light enough for summer and very easy to layer over and under for autumn/winter. It has leather detailing around the neck, on the shoulder and on the elbows and it’s so soft and comfy. It was perfect.


Β I picked up the jeans in Penneys/Primark. They’re one addition to my winter capsule wardrobe that I’m currently arranging (Watch this space)

They’re soft, stretchy, comfy and just all an all round great pair of jeans. I’ve been practically living in them since I bought them. Not bad for €13!!

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The shirt underneath was nice and light and added the perfect layer under the thin jumper. It also added a softness to the overall outfit.

Β The bag cost me just €3 and it’s the perfect size for our passports/boarding cards, wallet and phone. It’s amazing how much stuff I was able to fit into it. It’s an awesome colour too!


Β Β Best bargain, yet!

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I practically live in my DC’s. They’re the comfiest shoes around. I’ve owned so many pairs over the years and they’ve really lasted, great quality shoe. These are just one of three pairs that I own. (I’m a little obsessed)

Β  Baba’s first holiday!

Sweater with leather detail (old) – Penneys: Β Similar here, here and here

Green Khaki Jeans -Penneys: Similar here, here and here

Zip front shirt (Old) -Penneys: Similar here and here

Orange cross body bag – Penneys: Similar here and here

Shoes (old) – DC Shoes, Similar here

Diary entry… The joys of parenting

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He gives you this look that makes you think you’re the most important person in the room. Of course, you know that’s complete crap, because the dog is present and the dog wins the attention span wars…. everytime.

Still though, he looks at you, deep into your eyes and reaches a hand out to you slowly. He moves it closer to your face.
You think to yourself ‘he wants to make himself familiar with my features and learn the shape of my face’.
He places his palm on your cheek and you melt and for a split second all is well in the world.

Then he gives you an almighty dig in the nose.

You can’t get angry with him because at that very moment you realise that he still hasn’t developed full control over his limbs and putting your face down to him was a silly, silly idea! You sit there recoiling in pain, and cursing yourself. That one was an eye waterer for sure, you know the stinging sensation that travels up to your brain? YUP!

You sit there on the ground in front of your oblivious baby bouncing up and down with delight and blowing raspberries at his little plastic friends, in his wheel of neglect. You look at him being all cute and perfect and adorable and you think…. FML.

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– A x