From Bump to Baby

The Unexpected Post-delivery Shock

This year’s Lunar New Year was a memorable one – we welcomed our second child into the family, and he was right on the dot by arriving on his EDD!

We’ve chronicled his birth story here, and as shared, there came a less than pleasant surprise after delivery that shocked and scared me. I thought I was going to be a paralysed mum!

Baby L was a slightly bigger baby – approximately 15% heavier than V! And, to my dreadful discovery, I realised that I was unable to get off the bed without cringing in pain!

Those sharp pains after delivering a baby was absolutely unforgettable!

I only realised it when I had to make a trip to the loo. What would normally take a couple of minutes turned into a 15-minute affair – I was struggling to turn and get myself off the bed, stand on my two feet and walk towards the toilet. Sounds easy right? But at that point, I could barely get pass the standing but – that was firing up all the alarms in my head!

The pain came strong and sudden, much like a current passing through those nerves. I thought I might have injured some tissues or muscles during childbirth! It was hurting and at the same time, I wasn’t able to control my legs much. Can you imagine not being able to “tell” your legs to lift themselves off the ground?? It was as if there was communication breakdown between the brain and the limbs – broken synapses, damaged neurons and a pathetic me. At that point, I thought I was going to be handicapped from waist down. I shuddered at that mere thought…

Upon advice from my gynae, Dr Eunice Chua (from TLC Gynaecology at Thomson Medical Centre), she immediately knew what might be the issue, and suggested a specialist to review my condition. It is very important to address any pain – don’t wait!

In addition, she ordered for a binder (those used by mums who had undergone C-sect) to be put on me to help hold the hips area in place. She advised that it could be a condition known as pubic symphysis.. And this could happen during the third trimester as well as during delivery. It’s not all that common though but such cases do occur.

To facilitate my walking, I had to loan a walking frame during the hospital stay. Unfortunately, it was not available for home loan, and we were definitely not keen to buy one. I had to get walking, pronto!

That very afternoon on my second day in the hospital, Dr Francis Wong, an orthopedic from Orthopaedics International at Mount Alvernia, came by.

After listening to my re-enactment, he promptly started swinging my legs and moving them at different angles, much to my horror! The pain was definite, and I secretly wanted to scream. The surmounting fear was creeping in on me… filling my brain with all the what-ifs…

Being diagnosed with pubic symphysis after pregnancy…

To my surprise, no X-Ray was initiated and he deftly pinpointed that I was diagnosed with pubic symphysis, just as Dr Chua had guessed.

It seemed that the pressure from pushing during delivery had caused my pubic bones to be plagued with additional stress, causing them to move apart. He assured that the pain was temporary, and that self-healing was possible although there was no medication or specific food to quicken it. I had to keep moving to facilitate recovery.

On the third day, just before we were discharged, the physiotherapist came by to check on my condition before giving us the green light to go home. The quick review and suggestions on how to move to minimize the pain was pretty expected. The key takeaway? I had to keep walking and moving, and stop when it got too much to bear.

The path to recovery, fears of being paralysed and more

Typically, patients diagnosed with this condition may take anywhere between 4 – 6 weeks to recover. And at 4 weeks, I was due for a review. Although I felt much better by then, I knew I hadn’t completely recovered.

To my dismay, I felt a sharp pain when he pressed onto the pubic bones. And this led to an X-ray being ordered.

Getting an X-ray done to find out the severity of the pubic symphysis that I was diagnosed with.

Fortunately the gap between the pubic bones was within the normal range, and there supposedly ain’t a cause of major worry at this point. To-date, sleeping on my sides still cause some discomfort, although walking has somewhat returned 90%. Personally, I could still feel the difference, and often wonder if I’m actually waddling a little :(

Looking forward to regaining that 100% mobility and independence again…

Have you been diagnosed or do you know someone diagnosed with Pubic Symphysis after pregnancy too? Do share how the road to recovery was!

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  1. I am sorry to hear about your sufferings. This is actually fairly common. Although, I’m a Paediatric physio, I used to work at KKH eons ago seeing both the ladies and the babies. It is called pubis symphysis diastasis/ separation/ dysfunction. There is usually a small gap between our pubic bones called the pubis symphysis. During pregnancy, the hormone relaxin, softens the ligaments in the body, which may lead to an increased gap of the pubis symphysis. There are ladies who spend the last few months of their pregnancy suffering from this. During delivery, the gap may widen further if you gave birth vaginally.

    It will get better, but may take time. Continue to use your pelvic belt, do your kegel and pelvic tilt exercises, take small steps with your walker if you still need it, ensure your weight is evenly on both legs in standing (do not put your weight on 1 leg), do not carry/ push/pull anything too heavy that aggravates the pain. I hope these ideas help you and that you will feel better soon.
    Janell Lee

    1. Hello Janell, thank you so much for taking time to share your knowledge! It was really insightful and I do feel a little better after hearing from another expert’s perspective :)
      Thankfully, we abandoned the walker at the hospital and since we couldn’t rent it, I had to rely on myself to move around during confinement. The condition has certainly improved over time and I’m glad it did :)
      Looking forward to full recovery!

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