It started about 20 weeks into my third pregnancy – a searing pain, shooting through the middle of me, stopping me from moving like a normal human being, let alone walk without wincing. It commonly became known in my house as “Fanny-Bone Ache”; there was no other way of describing it – it was a severe ache of the bones around my nether regions. I’d pleasantly bumbled along through pregnancy 1 and 2, none the wiser that this ‘thing’ actually existed – no one had mentioned it, it wasn’t covered in the myriad of baby books I poured over as a first-time mum and 2006-2007 (first pregnancy years) weren’t big for internet in terms of mums chatting to one another. So, when at 20 weeks, third pregnancy in, I found myself waddling and limping like a Christmas-ripe goose with a twisted ankle (do poultry have ankles?) and, suffering quite badly with a pain similar to that time I underestimated the height of the metal bollard whilst leap frogging, I felt as though my little pregnancy bubble had somewhat deflated.
Considering one in five pregnant women apparently suffer from this evil niggle how had I never heard of it before? So, here I am shouting from the roof tops – I’ve had it, it sucks and I’ve got a few little tips to help make it a little better (or at the very least, what worked for me).
So, firstly, there’s a technical term for this nastiness, even though I found “fanny bone ache” worked perfectly when describing it to healthcare professionals and other mamas – everyone knew exactly what I was referring to, but if you wanna get your lingo right it’s pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain (PPGP) or symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). Here’s some of the facts:
- It’s caused by a misalignment or stiffness of your pelvic joints at either the back or front of your pelvis.
- It’s not harmful to your baby, but it can cause severe pain around your pelvic area and make it difficult for you to get around.
- You might be more prone to Fanny-Bone Ache if you’ve suffered a history of lower back or pelvic girdle pain, have previously injured your pelvis, or had it during a previous pregnancy.
- It can completely disappear after birth. SPOILER ALERT: Mine has – praise be to the fanny goddess!
It was finally concluded that my discomfort was caused by one of two things – either, during my second birth something down there had shifted and never repaired or, lower back pain I suffered between pregnancy two and three due to an inflamed disc (ok, this was actually caused by rather violent disco dancing at a karaoke) could be to blame. To be honest, I didn’t give a witch’s tit about what had caused it, I just wanted to know how to make it go away. I tried various things –
- Exercise including swimming and walking. These offered very minimal relief and the walking quite often caused more pain.
- Pain killers, only as recommended by my midwife – again, the relief was very small.
- My midwife unhelpfully handed me a form to complete for physio with a waiting list longer than I was hoping my pregnancy would last!
Finally, after limping into the school playground one afternoon, another mum, crazy enough to have endured three pregnancies, hopped over and said: “Oh my, have you got pelvic girdle pain?”…. “mine was so bad at 37 weeks I had to crawl up the stairs!” OMG, although I lived in a bungalow at the time, I did not want to be crawling anywhere! Enough was enough, now at 27 weeks and constantly sitting on a hot water bottle (not recommended) to offer mild-relief, I had to put a stop to this, I was willing to try anything – even the hippy-dippy remedies I’d laughed off weeks earlier.
Two days and an osteo appointment later, I literally skipped out of her treatment room without a whiff of pain! She’d cured me! I went in that room a complete non-believer and came out converted – I called everyone in my phone book to let them know how bloody fantastic I felt. I visited the marvelous healing-hands of Lucy every 2-3 weeks for the remainder of my pregnancy to ensure everything stayed where it should do “down there” and, in her words “make sure that baby has straight train tracks for an easier birth” – I was certainly up for that!
I still had the odd niggle, but I made it to 40+4 without having to crawl anywhere and as for the “straight tracks”, Casper came so quickly along the tracks (I’d like to think it’s not due to a bucket-fanny!) I only just made it into the labour suite!