The Pregnancy Files #3 by Mel Guild

I can hardly believe that another month has passed – this pregnancy is actually going pretty quickly compared to my first (I guess running around after a toddler helps with that!) This month has been about as busy as the last but much more enjoyable and less stressful and I have actually managed to fit more runs in than I thought would be possible.

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Thankfully the weather has warmed up and I have spent a lot of time outside enjoying nature and time with my family, something that had been missing recently. I have also been listening to my body very closely as I am now developing suspected symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). Earlier in the month I experienced debilitating pain following a short visit to the supermarket, no strenuous exercise and nothing unusual. The pain was in my pelvis and groin and initially I put it down to round ligament stretching but the pain became unbearable, the only relief was to lie down with a pillow between my knees keeping very still – easier said than done when my little boy wanted to play cars on the floor with mummy (he managed to amuse himself by driving the cars over my face instead)

Pain in the pubic area and groin are the most common symptoms of SPD, though you can also experience:

  • Back pain, pelvic girdle pain or hip pain
  • A grinding or clicking sensation in the pubic area
  • Pain down the inside of the thighs or between the legs. It can be made worse by parting your legs, walking, going up or down stairs or moving around in bed
  • Worse pain at night. SPD can prevent you from sleeping well. Getting up to go to the toilet in the middle of the night can be especially painful.

Fantastic I thought, another thing to have to contend with during this pregnancy (along with gestational diabetes) I started to feel pretty sorry for myself and really wanted to go for a run to make myself feel better – probably not the best idea while experiencing pubic pain so why not resort to eating my weight (and the babies weight) in chocolate – can’t do that either because of the diabetes!!! So instead I took a short stroll to the park with my little one, soaked up some vitamin D and may have eaten a sugar free chocolate bar.

So what did all this mean for my running, I had already slowed down and pulled back distances – did this mean I was going to have to give up what I love all together? I spoke with my midwife and she recommended an osteopath, he is in a small practice on his own, so I left a message and waited for him to return my call. He is obviously very busy (which I see as a good sign) because he returned my call at 7pm that night. We talked at length about my symptoms and arranged an appointment – a cancellation in November! So to get me through until then, I asked about running and held my breath for the answer – I was pleasantly surprised “you’re already a runner so keep doing what you love, just listen to your body, use icepacks in the pelvic and groin area if you experience pain after a run and if pain is persistent stop”- I was beaming that was just what I wanted to hear.

I wanted to give my body all the support I could to help me to continue on my ‘running whilst pregnant’ journey. I had heard good things about SRC pregnancy shorts/leggings – the website claims that the medical grade compression helps to reduce pain and increase support in the pelvic region and increase the mobility and pelvic muscle function. I decided to spend the money and put them to the test – I figured they could only help? I am so glad I did, they provide stability and reduced pain and as an added bonus my pelvic floor, which never recovered from my first pregnancy, feels supported. A good test here is sneezing with the shorts on and sneezing with them off – let’s just say I might start wearing these shorts daily – no LBL with the shorts on!

The shorts and my belly band have helped me to get out and run more comfortably. I have only managed pram runs this month and even though they are tougher than pram-free runs, I just love spending time with Willoughby outside in nature – our favourite place to be. More and more these days Willoughby is insisting on running some of the way too, he especially likes to run while pushing the pram – just like mum. It makes me so proud to think that he has gained his love of running and being outside from the examples I provide.

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Being able to continue running is also helping me control my gestational diabetes, so far with a very strictly controlled diet and staying active I am managing my blood glucose levels perfectly. It has been a great learning experience too, discovering just how much fuel my body requires and what nutrition is important. After the first week of my new diet I visited the dietician for a review – I had lost 1.5kg in a week! My portion sizes had changed and I wasn’t eating anything I felt like ‘because I can, I’m pregnant’. The dietician was happy with my progress, because I am a gluten-free vegetarian she reminded me to increase my protein and calcium intake and wished me luck with the rest of my pregnancy. I continue to follow the diet and monitor my bloods 4 times a day. I won’t lie, it hasn’t been easy – I crave sweet things daily and have to be very diligent not to indulge in all the things my husband continues to eat, but I feel strong, healthy and proud that I am listening to my body and doing what is best for both myself and the baby.

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Running while pregnant is different for everyone, so far I have been lucky to be able to continue. What has helped make this journey even more enjoyable is being part of RMA. Each and every post, race recap, transformation story, disappointment, achievement, story of friendship, story of injury, other pregnant stories and photo, reminds me that I am part of a community of runners – female runners – strong, supportive and inspiring females that love to run. This weekend I will be running pram-free at the Run for Your Lifeline 5km fun run and can’t wait to catch up with some RMA friends (old and new). I am looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere, supporting my fellow runners and most of all carrying this waddling 25 week baby bump over the finish line (Oh and I’m really looking forward to finally seeing the osteopath the next day) ☺

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