Monday, September 10, 2012

Pregnant in Sweden: Foglossning, or SPD, strikes

OK, I am officially eating crow. Everyone and their mother complain about SPD in Sweden and I admit I had never ever heard about anyone having it in the US. ‘It is back pain’ my Swedish friends would explain to me, ‘from loose joints. What do you call that in English?’

And I would smugly answer ‘Being pregnant’

Except that foglossning sucks. Or SPD. And I don’t even have back pain.

It started on Saturday with mild cramping. On Sunday I could barely walk. Going up and down my staircase knocked the wind out of me. I had so much pain in my abdomen and legs, I could not move. I waddle around like I am 36 weeks pregnant, although I am only 17 weeks and barely have a bump.

Ok. I get it now. This foglossning thing is the pits.

So I called the emergency hotline and was told to come in on Monday unless things escalated and I thought I was having a lot of contractions. I wasn’t. Everything was fine if I lay on my back and did not move a muscle.

On Monday I worked half a day from home on my sofa and then went in to the doctors. A quick ultrasound showed baby is doing fine. The doctor recommended I set up an appointment with my midwife and physiotherapist to work on some exercises. She diagnosed the SPD by pushing and pulling on different muscles. It hurt. A lot.

So apparently at only 17 weeks you can go from 0 – a lot of pain pretty quickly even if you never had foglossning in your previous pregnancy.

I am starting to feel better. I am planning on spending a lot of time on the sofa for the next few days hoping this dies down a bit. I cannot put weight on one leg, I need to keep my body balanced as much as possible, which makes me just look really awkward and have a hard time doing a lot of basic tasks.

I take back all of those foglossning jokes.

It is a thing. A really annoying thing. Only positive in this? I managed to meet my deductible which means I have no more co-payments until early next year. So there’s that.


  1. I had that - it's dire. Here is a link that might help you.

    Now - there is some controversy over this, but I did use a supportive belt under the bump as things got really heavy, which was a huge help. Also a pillow betwen the legs at night, you can get maternity ones but I found a decent pillow was just fine. I could barely walk after the baby was born, so don't expect it to go away immediately. I hope you are luckier than I was. Get all the massages you can. Swimming was good - but getting up and down the ladder was tricky, no-one explains how you are meant to do that! Diving was NOT an option. Ouch, I am feeling it even after all these years...

  2. Hi Jane, Thanks for the tips. I am meeting with a PT next week and am going to ask about the belt. I think it might help since my current instinct is to try to 'carry' my bump in my hands. This week I am taking it super easy (as easy as possible with Little Swede running about) and hoping that will help things from getting too bad too quickly. Right now the SPD is feeling a bit better, but the rest of one my legs is wonky because I have obviously been overcompensating with some strange movement. Good to know I shouldn't count on a super quick recovery.

  3. I was told that it's partly because the ligaments in your pelvic girdle soften up (too much in our cases) to prepare your body for the birth. They take a while to get back into place/condition, and it takes a while for your hormones to get back to normal, along with all the other bits that have got stretched. In your case, your hormones may not have had time to settle back down again after your last pregnancy. But it does go eventually, don't worry. :)

  4. I suffered from PSD during both my pregnancies and was told by the first two PTs that I met that nothing could really be done, except taking it easy, avoiding stairs etc. The third PT I went to helped me get back in shape after my first baby was born. She helped me during my second pregnancy and it made a huge difference. After having my second baby I was back to almost normal in two weeks time – after having walked with crutches because it was so bad. I don´t know where you live, but finding a good PT would be a great help to you. The one I went to is in Stockholm.