Health Update: Separated Pubic Symphysis

by Heather on February 16, 2011

Post image for Health Update: Separated Pubic Symphysis

Alright, so in this picture the pubic symphysis is area #5. Last week I had a set of x-rays done that show my pelvic bones (area #4) to be separated with a gap about twice the size it should be, which means my pubic symphysis has also gone through some trauma/stretching. The right side of my pelvis also seems to be a bit misaligned, as I can’t pick up my right leg to move it forward unless it’s pointing out slightly to the side.

The amazing thing is that this is what my body needed to do in order to get little Gabriel out. I had a long labor with a lot of back pain, and I was stalled at around 2-3 cm for 24 hours after I arrived at the hospital (which was 36 more hours after I first had spotting/cramping and started ‘early labor’), and the baby’s head wasn’t descending below the pubic bone. We waited it out a full day at the hospital to see if my contractions would become more regular and I’d get more dilated, but I stayed at the same place no matter what positions I tried.

By that point I’d already missed three nights of sleep, so we opted for a pitocin induction to speed things along before I was even more exhausted. After about 5 hours on pitocin I was at 6cm and getting delusional due to fatigue. I had two options, take some meds to try and ‘rest’ (which I knew wouldn’t work and I’d just spend more time getting more tired) or have my water broken by the midwife. I went with the second and almost immediately reached 9cm and then the pushing stage. Two and a half hours after my water was broken, Gabriel was born.

Now we know why his head wasn’t descending below the pubic for so long – it wouldn’t fit!

Last week, when I still had no idea what was wrong with me except that I couldn’t walk or lift my right leg, I started seeing a chiropractor. He gave me a thorough exam and narrowed down the problem area to the pubic symphysis (a body part I’d never even heard of), but since I was so swollen and experiencing a lot of pain in that area he wasn’t sure exactly what had happened to me down there during the birth.

Now that we’ve got the x-rays, it clearly shows that my pelvis separated during delivery and remained that way after the birth. This is why I was in so much pain and couldn’t move my legs properly. The plan now is to start slowly pushing the bones back together with chiropractic adjustments, and after only 6 visits my mobility has already improved drastically.

Two weeks ago, I couldn’t lift my right leg more than a centimeter off the floor. I was constantly shaky on my feet, could only scoot/hobble sideways while dragging my right leg, and couldn’t walk more than 5 feet out of my hospital room. I couldn’t get in and out of bed without assistance and a lot of pain in my groin area. I couldn’t get to the bathroom without holding on to one or two people to help me maneuver there, and I couldn’t stand up and hold the baby at all.

Now I can pick up my right foot enough to waddle forward slowly. I’m no longer dragging the right leg. I can get myself into bed and even roll over. I’ve been able to cook meals, change the baby’s diaper and even walk short distances holding the baby. Before I could only push him in his rolling bassinet. I still do that most of the time for safety, but today I did manage to steadily walk from one room to another while holding him. For me that was a huge accomplishment. I can also now get myself in and out of the passenger side of the car, walk sideways up and down stairs (I still have to lead with the left leg and pull up the right one) and walk longer distances without feeling pain.

I’m still moving slowly, but I’m moving.

Reading stories of other women who have experienced pubic symphysis separation post-partum, it seems to take about 6 months to heal. My mobility may never be how it was before the birth, but I’m trying to give myself smaller goals to work toward. Now I want to focus on going up stairs while moving forward (not sideways), being able to hold the baby while standing and walking, and being able to drive.

Hiking, horseback riding, dancing, waterskiing, teaching and so many other activities are of course in my mind, but I’m so far from being able to do any of those things at this point that I’m trying to focus on just being independent and able to take care of my baby.

These past two weeks have very emotional for me, as I never imagined giving birth would leave me temporarily handicapped and looking at months of treatment and physical therapy just to be able to walk normally again. I’m still processing it all, as being a new mom in this condition is nothing like I expected being a new mom to be like. I’ve had to banish many of my ideals and day dreams from my mind and instead focus on just making sure the baby is healthy and that I’m getting the medical attention I need.

I’m not sure how to end this blog post. There’s a lot in my mind, but now it’s time to try and eat something before the baby wakes up again. Today is our first “well-baby” visit, which is encouraging since it shows things are moving toward ‘normal.’

{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Bec February 17, 2011 at 12:21 am

Thanks for writing this Heather. A close friend of mine has just had a baby and I’ve realised that there’s so much about pregnancy and child birth you don’t hear about until someone you know shares their story – i’ll let her know about your blog. Take care and good luck getting to where you need to be

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Julie February 17, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Heather-
I’m really glad that you wrote openly about your experience and the difficulties and anxieties you’ve been having. As Bec said, there’s so much about pregnancy and childbirth that no one ever talks about and the effect is that so many women feel alone or confused or both. I’m continually blown away by this dearth of information and narrative; even with the profusion of “mommy blogs,” this type of experience is written about rarely.

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david miller February 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

heather,

echo julie above – thanks for sharing your story. i’d never heard of Separated Pubic Symphysis.

seems like the scariest part is not knowing what’s wrong though, and now you do, and you’re progressing. as someone who has also had pretty severe trauma in similar region (tendons ripped out of bone #3 in picture above) and 3 long screws to fix bone that goes into #6, i’m right there wishing you a strong recovery. you’ll get your mobility back. the body is amazing in how it can heal.

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Heather February 25, 2011 at 10:14 pm

Ouch! How did you manage to rip those tendons? I’m guessing you were off your feet for a while after that.

Yes, the scariest part was definitely the beginning when I didn’t know what was wrong with me except that I couldn’t walk. It made it worse that everyone in the hospital just kept telling me “You’re just recovering from labor and you’ll be fine tomorrow,” and then for a week I didn’t make any progress at all. Now that I know what happened and have read as much as I can from other women who have gone through the same thing, I feel so much more at peace.

My dad came to visit and spent an entire afternoon sharing stories with me and Gabriel about all his injuries (he slalom waterskis and snowboard when he’s not fixing cars) and how he healed. He’s over 50 now and still snowboarding, rock climbing and hiking as much as he can!

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Carrie May 17, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Thank u for ur explaination & illustration of this excruciating injury. I gav birth to my daughter, who weighed 6’15, on feb. 21. I am still in agony from the birth. My baby had to be vacuumed out from stage 0! She separated my pelvis & my tailbone on her way out. I cldnt push anymore right after I heard a loud popping sound, I kept trying to straighten my legs after that too. The nurses were yelling @ me telling me to stop pushing my legs out & hold them up myself! This was physically impossible & it became very frustrating. After delivery the nurses & the docter tht I saw kept saying I was fine..i was unable to stand up or sit up unless I rolled onto my stomache & got on all fours. I chose to breastfeed so sitting for feedings was excrutiating & in order to stand after I had to put the baby down and use my arms to lift my body frm the chair. I felt so stiff & the fear of the pain it caused to stand made it a nightmare. Finally a charge nurse actually observed me trying to do my roll 2 stand thing & sent me for xrays. I didnt get one apology for the rudeness towards me from the docter or the other nurses! Now 3mts later I am still hurting, im starting phys. Therapy next week bcuz it dsnt seem 2 b getting any better & I cant live like this any longer. I just hope it helps! Hopefully they will send me 2 pain mgmnt as well. Its not easy trying 2 carry & lift all the extra weight with this injury.

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Heather May 18, 2011 at 1:21 am

Thanks for commenting on my blog – I felt sick to my stomach remembering how much pain I was in after the birth and how confusing it all was because nobody in the hospital would believe me that I had a problem and I didn’t know if I would even walk again.

For me two things have helped: chiropractic are and physical therapy with a women’s health specialist. They are the only two people I’ve met who even heard of my problem. My chiropractor’s wife broke her tailbone during birth so he was very sympathetic to me and I credit him with diagnosing my problem and getting me back on my feet sooner rather than later.

Now 3.5 months later I can walk (a little bit of a waddle) and roll around in bed, get up from the floor and mostly do everything normally (including breastfeeding – yay!), but I still have urinary incontinence and go physical therapy + chiro once a week each, but two months ago I never would imagined I’d heal like I have. I am praying you can find people to help you get back on your feet and be pain free.

You don’t happen to be living in Massachusetts do you?

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Pam July 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm

I am so glad to hear that things are going better for you! What a shame that doctors and nurses were so ignorant in the hospital. I praise the Lord for looking out for you and getting you so far in recovery! How amazing that Gabriel was able to arrive healthy, and you were able to survive the birth, when there wasn’t actually enough room! Thanks for sharing!

Pam

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Heather July 9, 2011 at 6:16 pm

Thanks Pam! It’s really amazing how much better I’m doing. I even did a three-hour hike during my Alaska trip last week! It will still be months (or longer) until I’m back to my normal activity level, but praise the Lord for how far I’ve come in just 5 months.

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Candy Grant September 2, 2011 at 7:06 am

Omg thanx 2 the lady that posted her story to start this blog i had my daughter 3 yrs ago she was 7pounds 10oz 19 1/2 inches long longest and most painful labor ever! After labor i remember i could not walk for anything the nurses kept trying to force me i was so weak they said i was fine when i arrived home a couple days later i had to like drag my right foot in order to take baby steps it took me at least a month or so for the pain and walk to improve but now i have this gap between my legs though its not noticable at times i always notice it and i always knew something was not right but let the issue go now im so anxious to see a physical therapist because now that i know im not the only one and what the condition is im correcting the issue

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Heather September 3, 2011 at 12:10 am

Candy, that sounds like exactly what happened to me in the hospital! I was dragging my right foot and couldn’t even do small steps for over a month. It was crazy. Now at 7 months post-partum I’m much better and walking regularly. Have you tried chiropractic? That’s what really worked for me, and I’ve heard of several other women getting help from chiropractors as well.

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CANDY September 4, 2011 at 7:46 am

After reading ur poSt thats exactly what im going to finally try doing going to a chiropractor sounds best thank you for posting your story thought i Jwst had a painful labor and had 2 get over thanks to the ignorant nurses & doctor but im glad i did the research =)

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Heather September 4, 2011 at 11:43 am

I’ll be putting together a handful of articles about DSP and some tips for dealing with it, because there isn’t a lot available online, and what is available isn’t very well organized. I’ll email you when there’s a new post!

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sarah March 11, 2012 at 8:24 pm

I have rheumatoid arthritis and had a seperated pelvis while pregnant. 15 years on and I have problems with it still. I have been to the arthritis clinic and they have told me there is nothing they can do for me. So I am stuck on pain killers and weekly injections for the arthritis. I can’t do half what I used to which is frustrating.

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Heather July 6, 2012 at 11:13 am

Hi Sarah,

I’m sorry to hear of your situation and that this comment got lost in a barrage of Viagra spam until now. It must be very frustrating. I’m still not up to my previous fitness/activity level, but I try to tell myself that my son doesn’t know the difference. Has your pelvic gap ever gone back to normal? Have you tried seeing an orthopedist or a chiropractor?

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Cassandra June 28, 2012 at 11:17 am

Thank you so much for posting. I have been in awful pain for 12 weeks now since having my little girl. I’m hoping it improves. My gap is currently 1.5cm & I’m seeing a physio once every 2 weeks. I hope & pray I’ll be able to play sport & run around again (for me & my kids). How are you doing now? Are you able to do anything strenuous or do you still get pain now & again?

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Heather July 6, 2012 at 11:04 am

Hi Cassandra! First of all, congrats on your little girl. I’m very sorry to hear of your experiences. I am 17 months post-partum now and doing very well. I should really write a comprehensive blog update about my recovery, but the basic timeline for me was that by 2 months I could drive and get in and out of the car, and by 6 months I could walk at a normal pace. My only problem now is lingering urinary incontience. I need to wear pantiliners every day and probably once a week need to change my underwear because of leakage. I can’t really jog or run due to this problem, but I the pelvis is healed and I have no pain there. I can get down on the floor and play, chase my son, take short hikes, roll over without pain, get in and out of the tub, and do everything I need to do be a mom. I even was able to ride a horse again! It took me about 7-9 months until I felt 100% comfortable doing all these things, but during that it got gradually better and better. I got chiropractic care during my recovery and that really helped.

One woman I’ve been communicating with did end up getting surgery as her symptoms and lack of mobility continued well after 9 months. It’s different for everyone, but from what I’ve read and heard the majority of us get better slowly over 6 to 9 months.

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David July 6, 2012 at 6:52 am

I am horrified by all your experiences with labour and delivery. I am have been practising midwifery for 11 years now and i have seen other women go through the same experinces. First, i dont take kindly to rude medical staff. That really freaks me out and the team i work with know that they will not neglet a client and or use rude language in my presence. As the medical team, our work is to provide a service to the best of our ability in a homely and friendly manner. We owe it to ourselves, the profession and to our clients. There is no excuse for rudeness and should not go unpunished.

Secondly, i never understand why a woman in a health facility gets to complicate. I work in a 3rd world setting: there is a severe shortage of both nurses and doctors. Still, i see no reason why labour should comlicate in hospital. In a hospital set up there is all the equipment and support. I use manual-paper based systems and i use these to help me identify complications early. One of the most important issues with any delivery is the “passage”. All midwives have the skills to make a thorough assessment of the passage to ensure safe passage of the “passanger”. So, there is no excuse for a broken symphisis pubis. Dear friends, please take responsibility for your right to a safe delivery. You have the right to participate in your care plan and you have the right to make your own decisions.- its your baby and your delivery. Childbirth is a natural, fullfilling God given experince, make it count.

I wish you all quick recoveries and safe deliveries.

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Heather July 6, 2012 at 11:07 am

Hi David,

Are you a male midwife? I’ve never met one before, although of course there are many male OB-GYNs here in the US.

My midwife did offer me to come up with my plan and make decisions along the way. I think the problem with me that occurred is that no one recognized the warning signs that I was at risk for DSP, and methods/positions were suggested which increased this risk. Also, afterward, none of the medical staff had experienced such a case and did not know what had happened to me. People were not rude, just ignorant of how to help me. Sadly this seems common with DSP.

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Cassandra July 8, 2012 at 10:43 am

Thank you so much for the reply. It’s nice to hear that gradually I could be better & up & running by the time my girl is 1. I’m just trying to take it easy & do my physio exercises for now. I’ve read so many horror stories-so THANK YOU for posting your recovery & not just the problems.

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Cassandra July 8, 2012 at 10:44 am

Sorry… I also wanted to ask what was the separation distance you had? Just out of curiosity?

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Heather July 14, 2012 at 1:14 am

I can’t remember exactly but it was around 2 cm. I did email a bit with one woman who had a 4 cm and she recovered along a similar timeline as I did.

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Camie August 7, 2012 at 5:26 am

Hello everyone, my name is camie. My daughter will be one year tomorrow. I started thinking about my delivery the last few days and decided to look up some issues I had post delivery. Here’s the short of a very long story:

I have kaiser in the central valley. I was initially very excited because I would have the same obgyn that performed an amazingly succesful surgery for me several years ago. To say that I was dissolusioned is a huge understatement. Traumatized, humiliated, terrified, yes more along those lines. So after almost 48 hours of labor and 12 hours of pushing my babies head started to crown. Now, I had received an epidural a few hours after I was admitted because they thought initially I was progressing nicely. Anyway, as all mothers know you cannot eat until the baby is born so after 48 hours plus 12 pushing of zero calories and not being able to walk due to the epidural I was absolutely exhausted. on top of this the epidural stopped working after about 2 hours of pushing. Anyhow my babies heart rate started to decrease durring contractions so my np decided at the end to use a vacuum. The next thing I remember is a rush of at least 6 different nursing running into the room and grabbing my legs and pulling them in opposit directions and up toward my abdomen. Not only that another nurse was pushing my stomach toward my feet.  All of a sudden I hear a loud poppi g sound and just indescribable pain.my baby was born and was absolutely perfect, albeit a small bruise due to the suction. Thank goodness! It was incredibly traumatic. The nurses didn’t have any respect for my birthing plan. They proceeded to bathe my baby which seemed like forever, first before I even got to see her! There was a point right after she was born that I thought I was dying, literally. All I could think was please god let me hear my baby cry before I die. That’s all that kept playing over and over in my mind. After finally holding my baby the nurses said I had to switch rooms. They insisted that I get up and walk. I kept crying and saying there was no way I could walk, that I felt like my pelvic bone was broken. I swear to god, the evil nurse thy was assigned to me told me” I don’t know why you are acting like this, people have babies all the time and get rigt up and wall. What’s your problem” I am not by any means a violent person but I hve never wanted to hit someone do badly in my LIFE!!! This went on her whole shift. She kept palpating my stomach so hard I almost passed out every time. I started crying each time she walked into te room because I was so afraid of her. When she made me walk I couldn’t lift my legs.. I had to scoot th, relying on my walker. She kept clucking her tongue and taking deep breathes as if I was unconvincing her!! Horrible!!!! Durring shift change I heard her say a few things about me being overly dramatic,no kidding. Anyway the new nurse came to palate my stomach and I braced my self expecting the same pressure. She didn’t even press hard enough to make me more than slightly uncomfortable. I still think my first nurse was a sadistic b$@;h!!!! My experience with kaiser was just plain horrendous!!!! When I kept telling my nurses and doctors that I felt my pelvic bone was broken they kept saying that it was probably just sore due to my 9 lb 7 ounce baby. That it would be better Ina few days. It was not. I went back for my first checkup having to be pushed Ina wheelchair. They did X-rays which did not show a fracture so they said again I was probably just sore. I suppose it was my fault for not knowing much about my own anatomy but in my opinion theyaybe should have told me about this piece of cartridge between the bones. After reading these posts I feel like I know exactly what it was now!!! I was so angry that noone was taking me seriously that I just delt with the pain for over 7 months on my own. Thank god I had family to help! I feel so horrible for anyone who has to go through this and I hope they have more sympathetic nurses than idid! 

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Heather September 22, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Wow I’m so sorry you went for 7 months without anyone being able to tell you what was wrong. I’m so thankful I found a chiropractor at one week post partum who was able to diagnose the problem. So much of the frustration before that was just not knowing what had happened and why I couldn’t walk.

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missy May 20, 2014 at 5:37 pm

Camie, OMG! When reading this tears came to my eyes. I had a 9p7oz. Baby boy June 6 1904. I felt like I was reading my own story. I’m still seperated, have not had any therapy or any thing done since. I didn’t think there was any thing that could be done about my problem. I have been in some kind of pain for the last nine years. That’s a long time wonder if there is still any help for me. Thanks for your story. I also now thank god I have a healthy 9pound 15 month. Old baby girl by ccection.

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Jen September 25, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Hi, I am so happy to have found this site. I incurred a pubis symphisis separation on 9/13/12 with my second child. It has been a rough couple of weeks. Heather, I live in MA and was wondering what chiropractor you used. All of my pt friends are telling me not to use a chiropractor, so I am confused. I have many questions about the recovery and would love it if others would email me whom gone through this experience. I am getting down and sad and so nervous that I won’t recover. I am afraid of doing too much and delaying recovery, but I also yearn for independence instead of having everyone help me. I would love to know when everyone was able to care for their infants on their own ? Right now I am using a walker, resting and seeing a phyiscial therapist whom specializes in pelvic floor disorders. Please feel free to email me. Thanks, My email is cotej1234@yahoo.com

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Heather September 30, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Hey Jen,

Did you get my email?

Heather

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Toni November 15, 2012 at 7:04 pm

I am so happy I found this blog & see that you are doing well. I delievered my son 8/12/12, my second child & had a pelvic separation of 5 cm. I knew when I heard that loud popping noise during the delievery something was wrong & I was as well told it was nothing, I was fine. I pushed for 4 hours before a nurse realized that baby was coming sideways & was stuck on my pelvis, at this point the baby was too low to do a c-section, another nurse tried turning the baby but my pelvis separated before he turned.

I now have several secondary issues as a result of the separation ( herniated discs, SI joint issues & nerve damage in my right leg) but in spite of this additional problems I have greatly improved over the past 3 months. I am in physical therapy twice weekly which has greatly helped. I was also unable to use my leg, relied on a walker then a cane for about 2 months, constant pain as well as the urinary incontience. Now I can walk without assistance, still limp on occassion but for the most part am able to walk normaly, pain is better though still present.

Knowing though that someone has gone through a similar expereince has recovered reassures me that I will recover too!

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Christina January 27, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Hi Toni,
Its good to hear that you are recovering well.
How are you doing these days? Are you fully healed now?

Hi Heather
I came across your comments about your pubic bone separation. It brought me some light to what I am going through ;(
I hope you dont mind if I email you.

I am desperate to find other mothers that separated their pubic bone to talk to. My name is Christina Frik and I live in queens, nyc. I delivered my first baby on Dec 18th vaginally. I do believe the physical drama of delivering with my legs spread so wide with my knees apart contributed to my pubic separation. ;( I really wished I delivered ina diff position.

Anyhoo… I had an MRI after delivering because I was in alot of pain and could not walk and showed that I had separated my pubic bone by 2.6cm I had the dreaded pubic symphisis diastasis ;( I feel so hopeless because I am unable to care for my newborn without help. Thank goodness I have family to help me. ;)
I am using a walker and it is sooo difficult for me to walk. But its getting better day by day. I have a Physical therapist coming to help exercise me.

How long did it take you to fully recover? Are you back to normal now with walking? How big was your separation? Were you using a walker as well? Did you ever sleep on your side or your back? I sleep sitting up and I wonder if im actually doing more damage? I would really love to talk to you or email me about your healing process. I feel like my body is sooo slow and weak to recover. ;( I wonder how you felt when you had? Were you able to breast feed?
I am breastfeeding right now and giving formula as well.

Can you please descibe what you feel when you walk?
I feel very loose weak in the legs back is very heavy and loose. I feel sore on my pubic bone if i walk or stand too long.

If you or anyone else reading has anytime and do not mind corresponding with me can you please email me or call me to talk about what you went through when you separated your pubic bone. I would super duper appreciate any information or help you could give me. You sound like a compassionate person. ;)

I believe everything happens for a reason. I have to be strong and positive for my sweet darling baby girl.

Thanks for reading and hope to hear from you or anyone soon pretty please. ;)

Kind Regards and hot cocoa w/ marshmallows,
Christina Frik

Please feel free to email me: christinafrik@gmail.com

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Ann January 8, 2013 at 2:05 am

Hi.
I am horrified to see how many women actually experience this. I had a horrible separation of the pubic symphysis during the birth of my son in March 07. Two days postpartum the separation measured 4.8cm, so it might have been even bigger immediately after I gave birth. Now, six years later, the separation is still 2.5cm, and nobody can give me an answer if I’ll ever recover completely. I still see a pt every week/week and a half and a chiropractor. I’m at the point where I’m really considering having surgery to fuse the pelvic bone together.

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Heather January 8, 2013 at 1:49 pm

Wow 4.8 cm is a very large gap. I am still seeing a chiro 2x a month and getting therepeutic massage 2x a month, so basically I’m still going to something every week. If I don’t, I start to get cramped up and lose mobility.

I met one other woman who gave birth about 2 years ago and had a surgery for her DSP this year. She’s also trained as a PT so she could give you some advice. Do you want me to pass on your email to her?

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nic April 27, 2013 at 9:52 pm

hello – my wife just gave birth 3 weeks ago to our baby boy. to make a long story short, she had an x-ray 5 days post delivery and her pubic symphisis was 6.2cm. turns out it fluctuates, and future x-rays showed 5 to 7cms. In any case, after dealing with a hospital staff that had no idea what to do (and looking back now that we know more, giving incorrect advise), we went to see an orthopedic trauma surgeon that specializes in the pelvic bone at the hospital for special surgery in NYC. David Helfet (http://www.hss.edu/physicians_helfet-david.asp) was our dr, and people travel all over the world to see him. After evaluating our situation, we decided to go with surgery as people with such separation rarely recover well (per Ann’s comments). Now, a week later, my wife is very mobile and the original pain is gone (she has new pain from the surgery, but that is nowhere as bad as what she dealt with before and should go away). Dr Helfet’s expectations are for a full recover this year.

I’m happy to discuss more.

In all, we were shocked that no-one could really help us before we saw Dr Helfet. He does these types of surgeries all the time (normally not in postpardum women though, unless they got into a car accident on the way back from the hospital!), and we have total confidence in him. Most of his postpardum cases are actually 1+ year after birth when the woman has not healed. My recommendation is to reach out to his team. Fingers crossed that she keeps recovering well, but our hope and expectations are that Dr Helfet and his team saved my wife’s quality of life.

nic

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Heather May 19, 2013 at 1:05 pm

Wow, thank you so much for sharing your story. There is an active forum for DSP linked in the top right of my blog’s header.

Your wife’s gap was a lot bigger than mine. I am so glad that she was able to be diagnosed and find Dr. Helfet right away. So many women wait for months or years and still aren’t able to meet anyone who even understands their situation. I will now advise people to seek out Dr. Helfet. Do you mind if I pass on your email to any women who contact me regarding the surgery?

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Megan July 14, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Ann,
If you haven’t already, I strongly suggest you see dr david Helfet at HSS in New York. I walked around in pain for 3.5 years before I found him. Once I did, he completed a set of stork x-rays, came back and said definitively that he could fix me- that I wouldn’t get better without surgery. And even though I had avoided the topic of surgery I immediately knew he was right. on April 16th he installed a plate in front and 4 screws in the back. I’m still recovering but hopeful he has fixed me. I walked around the block for the first time last week – 12 wks post surgery so it’s tough, but hopefully worth it. Good luck,
Megan

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Heather July 17, 2013 at 1:50 am

Megan – thanks so much for sharing your advice. I am so happy that you are walking around the block again. Awesome! Every small step toward recovery is a milestone. I am thankful every day that I can walk up stairs.

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Ann January 8, 2013 at 2:13 am

I was just looking at your blog, and I see that you’re from Ma. I currently live in Ma.

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Heather January 8, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Hey Ann!

I’m from western MA, went to school in Amherst, and then lived in both Bridgewater and Fall River. Currently I’m living in Vietnam.

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Ann January 9, 2013 at 2:43 am

I live in Clinton, central Ma. I’m actually looking into going to UMass Amherst to get my Bachelor in Nursing.
Did you give birth in Ma?
It would be great if you could pass on my e-mail to your pt friend; it’s akgaleano@yahoo.com.

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Heather January 11, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hi Ann,

I passed on your email. Hopefully getting in touch with another woman who has gone through it will help you in your recovery process!

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Eryn January 19, 2013 at 4:22 am

Hi – I just came across your blog while doing research on this. I have not been diagnosed, however I am currently 33 weeks pregnant and ever since around 15-16 weeks I have had trouble walking. Up until last week, it was always on my right side, right where my leg connects to my body. Then a few days ago, I became, for lack of a better word, disabled. I was hobbling everywhere, and sometimes I could not even get into/out of my car. Well today I attempted to merely stand up from a sitting position on the couch, and I heard “pop-pop” and my entire body buckled. I could not get up for ANYTHING. The pain is/was excruciating, unbearable. I started openly weeping (very embarassing!) and my husband had to carry me into bed. I now cannot walk – at ALL. I cannot even move my legs without screaming out in pain. My question to you is, if it is THIS BAD prenatally, will it/can it get even worse in delivery? I am almost considering an elective C-section (something I would NEVER, EVER, EVER do otherwise) because I am so afraid of this pain. Nothing helps it. I do not have the ability to see a chiropractor, and my ob/gyn says it is a “natural pregnancy ache”. You see, this is my third pregnancy and the first I have ever experienced this horrible, debilitating pain. I know it is not “normal”. Are there any exercises to help re-align my pelvis? Anything one can do to try and walk normally again?

Thanks again for any response you are able to give – this was one of the most informational blogs I could find about it, and I see you are still answering questions :) If you’d like instead, email me at the address I listed. Either way, thanks for putting your story out there for people like me who feel like invalids for not being able to walk! I really appreciate it.

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Heather January 19, 2013 at 6:23 am

Hi Eryn,

I just sent you a couple emails with information about prenatal SPD. This is certainly not normal pregnancy aches! You will probably need to find a different OB/GYN who has some experience with SPD. The best way to diagnose for sure (and I’m not a doctor, but in what I’ve read), would be to get an x-ray and see if there is an abnormal gap between the pubic bones. In my experience and many other women I’ve talked to, US doctors are generally not aware of SPD and will explain it away as something else. Check out those UK-based support groups I sent you, and feel free to keep in touch via email.

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Aileen Bohn January 24, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Hello,
I am so glad I came across your blog. I am desperate. I gave birth to my third daughter 4 months ago. During my 5th month of pregnancy, I started having shooting pains down my left thigh and pain on my pubic bone. I have never experienced this with my other children. My ob said that it would go away after baby so I just dealt with it even though I could not turn in bed and tying my shoes was ridiculous. I worked out during my pregnancy as I am a kickboxing teacher. I did not having complications during my pregnancy and felt relief because she was out. I assumed the soreness would go away. Once I started working out again I realized that the pain was still there. On my left pubic bone and down my thigh. I went to physical therapy for almost 2 months, and although I did feel some relief, the pain would stay. My thigh does not hurt anymore but my pubic bone throbs ans feels lie a deep bruise. I had an xray taken and they said that the gap looks normal with maybe a slight stretch but not much, I started seeing a chiro 2 weeks ago and have gone twice. I have seen substantial difference. She said to try to resume some of my old exercises to see where I am. It did hurt the next day but not as bad as before. I know I am not a worse case scenario but I am desperate because it is my livelihood and I cannot run or teach. Will it ever go away? I am losing my mind!!

Thanks

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dani January 29, 2013 at 8:18 pm

wooooooow the experiences here in the US are completely different to the UK.
I gave birth to my little boy 18months ago in the UK and had ‘minor’ spd in which my pelvis was realigned. They do not go to such lengths to diagnose such conditions but are told it’ll heal after birth.
I have severe gravitational pains for over 10 weeks, shooting spinal pains (epidural) and still have urinary incontinence (trying to exercise is a joke) even to this day, but the worst thing is i can still feel my pelvis separate if i turn around in bed, do certain movement playing with my boy etc.
We have just moved to the US….is it worth going to see a chrio now? or will it be depleted by the time i give birth to my next child? as we are ttc at the moment.

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Heather January 30, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Hi Dani,

If you’re still feeling your pelvis moving around I’d definitely suggest seeing a chiropractor and maybe an orthopedist too. Most women I’ve talked to have not still felt it moving around at 18 months pp, and I’d also be afraid that when you get pregnant again you might have more pelvic instability.

For incontinence, seek out a Physical Therapist who specializes in pelvic floor disorders. She will use internal monitoring (a sensor that you put inside you) to help you learn exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and regain more bladder control.

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Elly March 10, 2013 at 6:17 am

Thank you for sharing…. After a long time searching I finally found a story exactly like what I’m going through right now. I am at a healthy age for pregnancy, 29 and would never imagine this could happen to me. I’m an athlete and a professional part time Latin dancer so it’s so scary that I won’t be able to function as before. Im a size 0 woman, 120 lbs and 20 days ago I gave birth to a 9.5 baby, 21.5 cm long, all natural. Don’t ask me how that happened, I still don’t believe it myself! I kept telling the doctor I felt too much pain on my bones down there, as if I had ridden a bike with a metal seat for several hours, I was always ignored by both her and the assistant. Though I knew this pain wasn’t normal because this my first pregnancy and I’m one more unexperienced mom who thought read everything there is to know prior to the delivery, I decided to trust my doctor about doing nothing to help with the pain and though it was just part of pregnancy.
The Big day came and next thing you know the ultrasound taken a week prior to the baby’s delivery had the complete wrong weight on it. It said my baby was 7.2 lbs…. Now… How does a baby grow from 7.2 to 9.5 lbs in a week… Well it doesn’t and the doctor and nurses could not believe the size of this child being that both my husband and I are short and small size people. So much for trusting technology and who is it to blame???? Who knows… What I know is that I could not walk and experienced the same as the writer did. I even had an orthopeadic doctor come see me after delivery to explain an X-ray taken of me at the hospital… He said my pelvis had a stretch of 1.5 cm and that though it was not very common, most women get better and surgery was not recommendable. It took him 5 minutes to say that, drop off a belt to tighten around my hips and leave. The belt was helpless because it caused more pain as it tightened my uterus which was trying to heal from birth and hurt my pelvis more by forcing it together.
Today, 20 days later 800 mg of ibuprofen still doesn’t help with the pain on my pelvis and though I can do all the house activity, sleeping is a challenge and I just pray I’m able to become the athlete and the dancer I used to be. Based on this experience I hope to make more women aware of this condition prior to delivering a baby and being opened to your doctor about it as it could prevent future headaches. I also hope doctors will take the initiative of informing women of what precautions to take so this happens less.
Having a child is a blessing despite all I’ve been through, I love my baby so much I would do it all over again every day if needed…. So enjoy motherhood everyone. Again thanks for the info, I don’t feel alone.

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Heather March 16, 2013 at 12:07 am

Hi Elly,
Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry for the late approval of the comment, I was off on a field trip in Vietnam with my students.

One other woman, Sharon, who has suffered DSP has started a private discussion forum for women to help each other and be in tough throughout the recovery process.

Here is the link if you want to join!

http://www.symphysispubis.com/

Heather

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Michaela April 2, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Heather,
I found this post through Sharon’s forum. I am so glad you are feeling well enough to go traveling with students to Viet Nam. That is terrific news.
I sustained DSP in January 2012. (I’ve been blogging about it since August 2012: http://separated-at-birth.com.) I ended up having surgery because by the time I had x-rays it was more than five months after my son’s birth and I was told it was the only thing that could help me. I would have rather had non-surgical options, but we were so glad to have an answer. And it worked for me – 14 months later I am doing well physically.
I agree with your assessment that there isn’t a lot of well organized information out there related to how this condition should be treated. Have you heard of The Pelvic Partnership (http://www.pelvicpartnership.org.uk)? It’s an organization of volunteer moms in the UK. They have a lot of good stuff on their site, but it is concentrated on Pelvic Girdle Pain (gap less than 1 cm). There is nothing like it in the US. Would you mind emailing me if you have time? I have this idea of trying to create a network like they have in the UK here in the states. The better I feel the more I am desperate to educate medical folks, moms and families about this.
Be well,
Michaela

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Heather April 3, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Hey Michaela,

I just sent you an email!

I did check out the Pelvic Partnership site and found it helpful, however I wished there was more info about DSP specifically. There is a huge need for education about this condition, as although it is rare it is very serious and often left untreated. As you probably saw in my posts, nobody at the hospital I gave birth at could even diagnose my condition, even though I now see I had all the telltale signs and symptoms.

I am actually based in Vietnam now, but I”d be happy to work on something during summer break when I at least have the illusion of having more time. : )

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missy May 20, 2014 at 5:51 pm

9 years ago I was told I could have surg. But eather way the pain would be the same! I confused now finding this sight to day 9 years later I had no clue of DSP. Thanks to every one. Its amazing what you can find out on the internet. I always wondered if some one else experienced the same thing I did. Thank you Heather. You are a life saver to me.

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sophie June 6, 2014 at 10:52 am

Just discovered this post a little late! It’s encouraging to know that other people have gone through the same situation as I’m told it’s very unusual and when it happened to me no doctors or midwives had ever experienced it. I gave birth Dec last year and had experienced back pain during pregnancy but it was dismissed as quite common and would go away once I’d had the baby. I went into labour naturally and was 4cm when I got to hospital however 5 hours later I was still only 4cm so the midwife broke my waters I then experienced a whole lot of pain and opted for epidural my baby was born naturally after some aggressive pushing, I had suffered a severe tear and was rushed off to theatre where they could see my pub is symphysis had separated I had an X ray the next day which showed a gap of 7cm! I was bed bound and couldn’t walk I stayed in hospital with my newborn for 9 days. I was then on crutches for few weeks a month later I was x rayed again only to be told nothing had changed so 4 months after the birth I had an operation to put it back together with bone from my hip and a plate, I will have to have a c section if I want to have another baby. It’s been 8 wks since the op and I’m pretty much back to normal apart from some muscle pain but that should go in time. I feel robbed of the first few months of my babies life as was unable to do a lot of things and needed lots of help. If only something was picked up during the pregnancy I’m 5’1 and my baby was 8 lb they should know when small women are having big babies and be able to.plan your birth accordingly.

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