For me personally, SPD was the most challenging part of my pregnancy.

So if I can help just one woman avoid getting it, or better manage it through their pregnancy, I can consider my job well done!

Here’s everything you need to know so you can have a better chance in not developing it yourself.

What is SPD?

SPD stands for symphysis pubis dysfunction.

SPD is a sharp, stabbing pain at the front of the pelvis, specifically at the pubic symphysis where the left and right pubic bones meet.

Pain can also radiate to the groin or inner thighs.

Simple every day movements like standing on one leg, getting in and out of bed and walking can all worsen the pain.

Some women will develop SPD naturally during pregnancy, with symptoms lasting for only a few weeks. It is not completely known why some women naturally develop SPD, but it is assumed to be hormonal, metabolic or degenerative in nature.

Others, like I had, will develop SPD from a specific incident and have symptoms last the rest of pregnancy and/or into the weeks of postpartum.


My experience with SPD went a little something like this:

I developed SPD after playing in a co-ed softball game around 18 weeks of pregnancy.
I played softball my entire life and wasn’t showing yet, and I felt totally fine. Since I was told I could continue doing the activities I had always done, I didn’t even think twice about not playing (one reason why “do what you’ve always done” isn’t the best advice for pregnant women).

After rounding one of the bases I immediately felt sharp pain right in the middle of my pubic bone & it was donezo for me.

For about a week I could barely walk and spent almost my entire day laying down.

I limped for three full weeks, which then threw out my back and hip.


I couldn’t walk up stairs, put my pants on, sit with my legs touching, and SO many other basic tasks for months and months. That compounded with a growing pregnant belly meant a PRETTY low quality of life towards the end of my pregnancy.

I kept thinking it would go away naturally over time, but it didn’t. The pain definitely wasn’t as horrifying as those first few weeks, but it was still there all day every day.

I went to pelvic floor therapy for a few weeks without much improvement.


I was hoping SO badly that after having my baby all the pain would go away, just like all other pregnancy-related pains do.

But nope.

6 weeks postpartum I still felt a dull lingering pain in the area when I slept without a pillow in between my legs.


It wasn’t until about 3 months postpartum that all symptoms completely cleared up.


My experience is why I tell everyone that the two main things to avoid in terms of pregnancy workouts are max lifts and sprints. The hormone relaxin definitely knows how to do it’s job and it isn’t worth months of agony!

One of my main goals, if not my ultimate goal, as a pregnancy and postpartum fitness coach is to help reduce or completely eliminate pain during these seasons of life.

And trust me, SPD is NOT something you want to mess with if you can avoid it!

If you do develop SPD, here are some of my best pain management tips, from personal experience!

  1. Sleep with a pillow between your legs.
  2. Ice for 5-10 minutes a few times a day
  3. Avoid crossing your legs or touching your knees together
  4. Rest when possible. Walking too much may aggravate symptoms.
  5. See a pelvic floor physical therapist to get extra help and evaluation.
  6. Chiropractor and massage may help in some cases.

In terms of exercise, here’s some movements to avoid:

  1. Any kind of lunges or split legged movements
  2. Running or jogging
  3. Step ups
  4. High knees or knee raises
  5. Bird dogs
  6. Jumping jacks
  7. Most likely all jumping movements
  8. Mountain climbers
  9. Lateral walks
  10. Any one-legged movements in general


The good news is there’s still plenty of moves you CAN do!

In my personal experience, here are some movements that didn’t aggravate symptoms. Everyone’s experience is different though, so if you feel any sharpness then avoid the movement altogether!

  1. Front squats and back squats
  2. Deadlifts
  3. RDL’s (straight leg deadlifts)
  4. Pretty much all upper body movements
  5. Stationary bike
  6. Leg press / leg curl / leg extension machines
  7. Glute bridges
  8. KB swings and related movements
  9. DB snatches
  10. DB cleans
  11. Thrusters


You can, and you will, get through it.

I remember wondering if the pain would EVER go away. I’m here to tell you that it WILL – in time!

Try these pain management tips and continue doing exercises that feel good to you.


I got you,


Published On: December 19, 2022Categories: Pregnancy Fitness0 Comments on What is SPD?

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About Me

Hi, I'm Katelyn! I'm a girl mom to Amelia & wife to my high school sweetheart, Anthony. I'm a certified pre & postnatal fitness coach, majored in exercise science from the University of Michigan, and now coach clients both in person and through our FIGR app subscriptions full time with my husband. Can't wait to connect with you!

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