DSP: Pregnancy after Separated Pubis Symphysis

by Heather on October 20, 2013

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When I first had Gabriel (now 32 months), I thought I wouldn’t be able to have another child. I had left the hospital in a wheelchair, and I couldn’t walk or even roll over in bed without assistance for weeks after that. I remember holding my newborn on my chest, and sobbing, “You’re my only one!” over and over again.

Praise the Lord after several months I recovered enough to walk, sit down on the floor to play with Gabriel, and drive a car to get myself around. After a year, I could walk up the two flights of stairs to our apartment in Fall River without any problem any than getting short of breath.

After two years, although my right pelvic and hip area still felt “off” a little bit, I had been back to work full-time for 6 months and felt my body could handle pregnancy again. 5 months of TTC and I was pregnant!

I’m now at 22 weeks. The first trimester was similar to my first pregnancy. I was simply exhausted and often felt nauseated. The only added frustration was stress incontinence, which I never fully recovered from after the DSP.

The second trimester was great up to 20 weeks. No more nausea, and much more energy. I still felt exhausted when I come home at 4:30pm, but overall I felt healthy.

Just these last two weeks I’ve started to feel the effects of the DSP on my second pregnancy. My right side was more affected by DSP than the left, and I’ve started to get shooting pain coming from the right hip and SI joint area. I’m very sore, and I find it difficult to sit on my knees or in most positions on the floor. I can still sit cross-legged at this point.

Some of the issues I had toward the end of my DSP recovery are starting to come back, such as not being able to balance on one leg to get dressed (I need to sit down), and having to roll over very carefully and slowly. My OB-GYN here has warned me that I may start to feel more pelvic instability as the pregnancy progresses, due to the increase in the hormone relaxin.

So basically, now I am at more risk of developing SPD during the pregnancy. However, I will have a scheduled c-section this time around in order to avoid a second incident of DSP. Hopefully this means that if I do experience SPD symptoms they will go away quickly after the birth.

We found out this week at the 22-week ultrasound that our little girl is above average size already (Gabriel’s head was large, hence the separated pelvis), which confirms to me that a c-section is the way to go!

To read about my first two years of recovery from DSP, check out this post:

Separated Pubis Symphysis: 24-Month Recovery Update

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

lexi October 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

Heather,

Thanks so much for offering this journal. It means a lot to folks out there still recovering from DSP. Sorry to hear that SPD hit you as early as 20 weeks, but I suppose it was practically inevitable.

Are you hopeful that you will heal more fully after this birth? (Like Rowena said she did?) Are you planning to do anything special afterwards to take advantage of the hormonal re-set, like more pelvic binding, etc?

Separate question — do you know how separated your pelvis remained? (I.e. have you had follow up x-rays?) How long did it take you to be able to lift your leg straight up while lying on your back? I’m 4 months postpartum and my legs still feel paralyzed when I’m on my back.

Thanks, and hang in there.

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Heather October 25, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Hi Lexi,

Thanks for commenting! I haven’t thought much about the post-partum phase yet, except that I hope I’ll recover much more quickly from a C-section than from DSP. I’ll be going regularly to chiropractic, so hopefully that can help set my pelvis back while the relaxin is still present in the body.

I haven’t had a follow-up x-ray as after I got back to being functional on my feet I was so sick of going to appointments! I still go to chiropractic and therapeutic massage once a week, which I find exhausting to keep in my schedule. If I don’t go then I experience pain and lack of full movement in different areas, mostly the neck and right hip. If I have an ‘easy’ opportunity to get an x-ray (like I’m at the hospital already and it won’t take a long time), I’d like to get one done to see if any gap remains.

I can’t remember when I was able to lift my legs straight up while lying on my back. I mostly slept and lay down on my side, as on my back I did not feel I had control of my limbs. It was probably around 6 months. 6 months was a big turning point for me when I felt I could walk more confidently. At 12 months I could go up two flights of stairs while carrying my son. I had to go slowly, but I could do it!

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Sharon February 22, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hi Heather,
thank you so much for sharing this info, its like gold to me you are the only one i know who went through all that again and there is almost no information online beside your story.

it sounds like your pregnancy went well and the SPD was mild…?
im so happy for you :)

my knee problem came back lately, i have strong pain and sometimes “clicking” of both knees as well as some pelvic pain.

one of the lactation consultant in the hospital were i gave birth told me it happened to her, (her son was 22 already ) she said it took her 3-4 years to get back to 100% .

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Heather February 24, 2014 at 3:34 pm

Yes I need to write more about how pregnancy #2 went. The SPD came on pretty strong toward the end, and then I ended up going into labor 1 day before the scheduled c-section which aggravated the condition and made the recovery a bit more complicated than the regular c-section only recovery. Back from hospital now (1 week after birth) and doing well – still some SPD symptoms which I’ll write about in detail once I get the time! It is true, there is not much online. I only found one blog post from a woman who had a second baby (via c-section as well) after DSP.

Good news is recovery is going MUCH faster this time and my doc hopes I’ll be fully mobile at 2-3 weeks post-partum.

How are you doing?

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Sharon May 7, 2014 at 2:04 am

its been a BZ few month!
we decided to move back to Israel, so we are all packed and we are moving back this month, im excited but also scared :)

im sure it was BZ for you too :), how are you?and Gabriel and little Arianne? i hope you are feeling good and the pain has gone.

im doing ok, there are days i feel great and no pain and other days i have knee pains, lower back and just generally feel sour in my pelvic area…this are the days im just scared getting pregnant again…i try to exercise and was thinking to do PT a few month before i get decide to get pregnant again just so i can pay attention to these muscles that holds the pelvic.

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Brittany July 9, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Thank you for sharing your story Heather! I am 36 weeks now and am getting conflicting advice from my doctors about whether to have a csection or to give birth naturally. Was your decision regarding this pretty straight forward? I suffered from dsp with my first and had a long recovery. The pain is moderate during this pregnancy, but I am nervous about this recovery if I continue naturally. I would love to hear more about your long term recovery! It is so hard to find any concrete information on this topic.

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