I am now 10 1/2 weeks pregnant (eek, I think the baby is now officially a fetus, and is about the size of a prune!) Sickness has abated very nicely and with getting a few early nights lately I am feeling a bit less tired. A quieter week than last week is definitely helping on that front too! I’m getting a bit of heartburn now though so am relying on gaviscon a lot at the moment, which does help, so we will see how that goes.
The only thing that is draining the joy out of this pregnancy now the sickness is fading, is my Pelvis and PGP/SPD issues. Regular readers will know this already, but if not, the hormone relaxin, which is essential during pregnancy to allow your body to make room for your baby, isn’t kind to some of us, and makes our pelvis relax too far, meaning it is less stable and moves around more. This in turn causes friction and irritation on the joints of the pelvis, and anything from a little, to a lot of pain. It generally comes on later in pregnancy but for some of us unlucky ones it springs up as early as the first trimester. I had it in late pregnancy last time, and this time it appeared at around 6 weeks :(.
There has been all sorts of ups and downs over the past month in regard to this but I am pleased to let you know I am in a very definite ‘up’ at the moment! After a lot of tears I managed to speak to the head women’s health Physio at the hospital last week and I saw her on Monday and she was just as lovely in person as she was over the phone!
The physio session itself was great, we talked a lot and she laid some of my fears to rest. Fear has played a big role in this pregnancy so far, as I know how painful it got last time, and how immobile I was. Information about the condition has also grown since last time. Last time I was warned that I could pull my pelvis apart because it was so unstable, and I was told not to swim, and my physio didn’t even want me climbing stairs. So I have been afraid this time and not known what to do, out of fear of doing permanent damage. The meeting with my new physio has helped set many of those fears to rest.
It is extremely rare to be able to pull your pelvis apart so the key, key thing is that if I cause myself pain, I am not actually causing myself any damage. My biggest fear was that I would damage my pelvis and that the pain would continue after the birth. It is possible that the pain will be there after birth, but it is unlikely, and I can’t pull my pelvis apart. She said that short of falling downstairs with one leg staying up, and the other going down (ouch!), it would be incredibly hard to damage your pelvis in that way. So that is a big relief! It obviously doesn’t mean that I can just carry on as normal, and pretend it’s not happening as it will get more painful. But at least I know if I do overdo it, it should only result in short term suffering.
There is also pain relief I can get! Woohoo! I mean there’s the obvious paracetamol but that just doesn’t really do anything for me, and aside from that it can be so hard to know what to take when you’re pregnant as you obviously don’t want to risk the baby. I am going to try and do without as much as possible, especially this early in the pregnancy, but it is great to know that if things get really bad, I can take some co-codamol – which I will need to get prescribed by my doctor.
She has also given me a proper support band. Basically my muscles in my bum should be strong enough to hold my pelvis in the right position, but apparently they aren’t, so wearing the support will do the job of holding my pelvis in place, meaning I can do more, while experiencing less pain. It’s quite tight (as you would expect) and not very comfortable when sitting – but it does mean I can carry on with going for walks with my neighbour every morning (which had been giving me a lot of pain) and I can take Monkey to the park without worrying about how painful it is going to be. I’ve only had it a couple of days but already it feels soo much better!
She also worked really hard on some of my muscles which were in spasm, it was incredibly painful but so so worth it. She has recommended heat packs, and I am kicking myself for not thinking about a heat pack earlier! I have a microwaveable wheat bag anyway and it is so handy for sore muscles, can’t believe I haven’t thought to use it! It will be in use a lot from now on though!
I’ve got a couple of very simple exercises to strengthen my bum muscles (sounds weird doesn’t it?) which should help without putting too much strain on my pelvis. So hopefully I can do those without too much pain, and they can help my body to support my pelvis a bit better.
She was so lovely too and we were chatting away throughout, and everything she said just made sense to me! So I feel much more relaxed and confident about it all now. I was reading something about PGP the other day, which said something that really struck home. It isn’t just the physical limitations of the condition that cause harm to women in pregnancy, but also the psychological effects. Pregnancy “should” be a joyful time, but when you’re in pain, it is incredibly hard to find that joy. You worry about being seen as constantly moaning, and you want to be able to just do the things you would normally do, but you can’t. It makes it incredibly difficult and because many people don’t know about the condition, it can be hard for them to understand what you are going through, and therefore very hard to explain.
Feeling more positive about the fact that I now have a physio who I believe can help me, and steps in place to improve things already, I feel like a bit of weight as lifted from my shoulders. I know that it isn’t a quick fix and I will continue to struggle with a lot of this, but a little bit of hope really goes a long way!