Tuesday, September 25, 2007

34 Weeks

I was asked to go in for another checkup scan at the hospital to determine whether the placenta had moved up and away from the cervix.

Its quite reassuring that all these professionals are taking this care with your baby, so I was even more pleased when they told us that it had moved and no longer in the low position.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

SPD - the 'Groin Pain'

SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction)
The symphysis pubis is the name given to where two bones meet at the front of the pelvis. The pelvic bone is roughly in the shape of a heart, and is actually formed by three bones, which are held together by very strong ligaments.

The bones meet to form three 'fixed' joints - at the front (the symphysis pubis) and at each side of the bottom of the spine (the sacro-iliac joints).

Normally, these joints are not designed to allow movement. However, when a woman becomes pregnant, a hormone called relaxin is produced which loosens all the pelvic ligaments in order to allow the pelvis slight movement at the time of birth.

For some reason, the ligaments occasionally loosen too much and too early before birth. This means they can't keep the pelvic joints stable so the pelvis moves, especially on weight bearing. All this is made worse by the increased weight of the growing baby and sometimes the symphysis pubis joint actually separates slightly. The result is mild to severe pain, usually in the pubic area, and is called SPD.

What are the symptoms?
The most common is pain and difficulty when walking. Some women describe the feeling of their pelvis coming apart. The pain is made worse when turning in bed or doing something that involves standing on one leg, such as climbing up stairs, getting dressed and getting in and out of a car.

The pain is generally felt in the pubis and/or the sacro-iliac joints, but can also be experienced in the groin, the inner side of the thighs, the hips and in one or both buttocks.

Is there any treatment?
Unfortunately there is no way of tightening the ligaments again during pregnancy, so no treatment will be able to cure SPD. This includes any sort of osteopathy, reflexology or acupuncture. However, after the birth the body stops producing the hormone, so the ligaments tighten up and (for the majority of women) the symptoms gradually disappear.

So what can be done?
The most important thing is to avoid doing anything that aggravates the condition, such as standing on one leg.

  • Sit on a chair to get dressed.
  • Be very careful to get into a car by putting your bottom on the seat first, and then lifting your legs into the car.
  • When you get out, lift your legs onto the pavement and then lift your bottom off the seat.
  • If you go swimming, don't swim breaststroke.
  • Always turn over in bed with your knees firmly together.
  • Make sure you get a rest (in bed) every day.
  • If you already have a child, you will need help, as you will find it difficult to lift him or her.
  • If the pain is severe, ask your GP for a referral to a physiotherapist, ideally one who has specialist training in obstetrics and is called a Physiotherapist in Woman?s Health. She or he will be able to assess you and may fit you with a pelvic support belt, which helps to stabilise the pelvis. Your GP will also be able to prescribe painkillers that are safe to take in pregnancy.

33 Weeks - Abdominal Pain

I had some abdominal pains while I was in office yesterday. They came in waves and got steadily stronger and stronger. I started keeping a record of the frequency and how long the pain lasted for.

As they got worse, I realised I wouldn't be able to drive home, so I got a lift.

I called the Emergency Midwife on call for some advice who advised me to call the hospital. I did this and they suggested that because there was no bleeding or spotting, I should stay at home, relax, have a bath and just monitor the pain.

The pain did subside that evening, but during the night, it flared up again and became quite strong. Goodness knows what I'll be like in labour!!!!!

After calling the hospital again, they advised us to come in which we did.

Again, they monitored the baby, who was moving around without a care in the world and advised me I was experiencing labour pains. At this stage, if the baby decides to make an early appearance, the baby's lungs are not fully formed and not be strong enough to cope so they would have to inject steroids...so they admitted me and kept an eye on me and the baby.

The Midwives and Nurses were great and made me feel very comfortable and safe.

I was moved to a Maternity Ward at 8.45am Sat morning...wanting SO much to get some well needed sleep, only to be met with curtains being opened, lights going on and visits for the other female patients.

As I tried to get some sleep, Jerry went home for a rest too as the hospital visiting chairs are not the best for getting 40 winks!

The pain slowly subsided by itself and they advised us that these labour pains were Braxton Hicks. The Doctor was great and didn't make me feel like an idiot for calling them originally although I did feel like a time waster. They reassured me that the health of me and the baby is THE most important thing and we did the right thing by coming in.

As the Doctor was discharging me, she mentioned I had SPD and was the answer to why I was still experiencing groin pain and discomfort. SPD!! Not sure why it was never diagnosed before!! We learnt about SPD in one of our Antenatal Classes, but I never thought that was the cause of my groin pain and burning sensation.

In one way, it was a relief to know what was wrong with me so it could be treated, but in another, there wasn't a lot that could be done to help. Read my next blog for further details about SPD.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WORSE Groin Pain...hospital visit

So, there we were. Having a lovely Italian meal in a restaurant with my husband, his sister and his Mum...celebrating his Mum's birthday.

The groin pain / trapped nerve got steadily worse. So much so, I couldn't stop holding that area of myself to try to stem the pain. Jerry's sister bought me some paracetamols, but they didn't touch the pain.

I did as I was told and kept as still as possible, but I just guessed the trapped nerve was being flicked by the baby!

The pain got so bad, I went outside the restaurant for a walk. BIG mistake! It was much worse and I could hardly stand up.

At that point, Jerry helped me walk to the car which was excruciating. Each step sent a shooting pain from my groin down my leg. I didn't think the baby was coming, but it was just so worrying as the pain was that bad.

We left the restaurant, called NHS Direct for advice, who advised us to call the Hospital. The Midwives at the Delivery Suite of the Hospital suggested we should go in WITH our Yellow Book. If only I had taken my own advice and taken it with me that night!!!

Once we'd got our Yellow Book, at the hospital they asked lots of questions about the location of the pain, what it felt like and they checked the heartbeat of our baby which is normal procedure.

The baby was fine...it seemed to be me with the problem! But, there was no visible lumps, no rash, nothing to indicate anything was wrong.

The Hospital also were perplexed by the symptoms and also put this down to a trapped nerve which can be very painful. We stayed in the hospital for a few hours during the night so they could monitor me and the baby and then we were discharged early hours of the morning with the advice to take paracetamols when needed. Slighting annoying as I knew the paracetamols wouldn't help.

We had our first weekly Antenatal Class today too. Both of us went. It was held in our local Community Centre and we met other couples all at similar stages of pregnancy. The class was informative and taught us about the different stages of labour and was facilitated by one of Midwifes from our local surgery.

What was good was that our Midwife knew I had been admitted into hospital last night as they informed her this morning. Good communication!

31 Weeks - Routine Midwife Appointment

I didn't find anything on the Internet about this groin pain. Its weird. However, I did find loads of posts from worried mums-to-be who are suffering other pains and feelings...there is so much you can worry about. The best thing to do is to ask your Midwife and that's what I did today.

I explained the feelings to my Midwife and they suggested it could be a trapped nerve and as it was worse when I moved, they advised me to just take it easy.