Abstract – Sarah Fishburn
23rd September 2004: Symphysis pubis dysfunction.

I have had three very different experiences of SPD through three pregnancies and births. In my second pregnancy I was very immobile and experienced a lot of pain, and had to use crutches and a wheelchair outside. However, in my third, I was able to manage it much better with the help of manual physiotherapy and had considerably less pain by the end of the pregnancy.

I learned how to manage the condition initially by trial and error, and found it very difficult to access both information about SPD and appropriate treatment. The advice I was given by midwives, doctors and physiotherapists varied considerably. After my first delivery I did not recover until after many months I found a manual physiotherapist to treat me, and my condition became manageable.

The manual physiotherapy treatment to realign asymmetries in my pelvis, and reduce compensatory muscle shortening and hence joint dysfunction, continued throughout and after my second and third pregnancies, with good effects on my pain levels and mobility. Through contacts with other women with SPD I began to learn more about it, and I was able to make informed choices about my subsequent pregnancies and birth options, as well as remaining independent in caring for myself and my family. I have also received a huge amount of moral support from other women, sharing their ideas and experiences.