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Interview 52

Age at interview: 35
Brief Outline: Normal first pregnancy; some bleeding early in first trimester. Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (pelvic pain) has been a problem later in pregnancy. More of this interview can be seen on the Healthtalkonline antenatal screening site as Interview 21.
Background: Children' first pregnancy. Occupation' publishing editor. Marital status' married. Ethnic background' White British.

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She was disappointed she had to stop exercising because of symphysis pubis disorder.

She was disappointed she had to stop exercising because of symphysis pubis disorder.

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Have you enjoyed being pregnant?

I think probably my lowest point was when the pelvic thing kicked in and I, I had had visions of myself going swimming. I'd only learned to swim this year and I felt very proud of myself. And I've been going swimming in the local pool - there's an outdoor pool and I could go most mornings before work, and I did that for the first three or four months of pregnancy. And I felt extremely healthy and very fit, and I enjoy things like going, going walking and so on. And suddenly at about four months to realise that those sorts of things had to come to an abrupt halt did make me feel quite resentful, I think. Because I had these expectations of how I was going to manage my pregnancy, and they didn't really come off. 

 

Antenatal classes were focussed on birth itself. It would have been useful to learn more about...

Antenatal classes were focussed on birth itself. It would have been useful to learn more about...

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I think up until about a week ago we weren't - I didn't feel very prepared in terms of sort of equipment and sorting the house out, whereas we finally managed to sort of do that at the weekend, so I think, 'Oh well, he could arrive tomorrow and we're pretty much, we're pretty much there, pretty much ready for it.' But I think something that struck me all along is, especially with the classes, there's an awful lot of focus on the birth. The birth is the big thing, it's the major thing; you know, you want to have your perfect birth or whatever. But for me that's only the beginning of it, that, you know, a longer term concern is coping with being a parent and the demands and so on that, the difficulties you have with that, and that seems to be something that is touched on much less in the classes and so on. But I suspect that's a lack of time. The teacher at the hospital said, 'I'd love to be able to give loads of classes on coping post-birth, but we don't have the resources, and we don't have the, we don't have the staff to do it.' And I know that after Christmas we had five sessions, and she said, 'We're being forced to cut down to four sessions. I'm going to have to pack the same amount of material into, into fewer classes.'

 

She developed symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain). She went to physiotherapy and wore a...

She developed symphysis pubis disorder (pelvic joint pain). She went to physiotherapy and wore a...

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My midwife has been really good, really friendly, I've had a pelvic condition, which means that one of the joints in my pelvis has been very achy and painful, and that started at about four months of pregnancy, but I was able to be referred to a physiotherapist up at the hospital, to get some advice. Though actually that was - I did have to sort of be slightly assertive in order to do that. They refer you initially to a group session, so there's about ten or twelve women with a similar condition, and they sort of sit you down and talk to you for an hour, which was useful to know why you're getting the pain, but it doesn't actually help to solve it [laughs]. 

And what did they do to help solve it in the end? Has it been solved?

Well, it's not the sort of thing that can be solved. It's more a question of managing it so it doesn't get, it doesn't get worse. Actually at the group session they were handing out crutches to the most severely affected. They were handing out Tubi-grip to pretty much everybody, the idea being that you sort of wear this piece of Tubi-grip to keep all your sort of bits in place. And then they were handing out special support belts to people in the intermediate category, and to be honest I don't think I fitted into the intermediate category, but I - for me - was very assertive in saying that I would like a belt because I was still quite early in my pregnancy. And I have worn this belt a lot, when sort of walking, and that does really help a lot. But I do, I do think, looking back on it, if I hadn't actually pushed I wouldn't have been given the belt. So then after the group session, if you're very bad, you can go and have an individual appointment with the physiotherapist. And again, I didn't feel I was as bad as some of the women there, and I wasn't going to bother. But I spoke to the local support group for the condition I've got, and they said, 'No, you know, it's every woman for themselves, really' [laughs].

How did you find out about the support group?

There was a leaflet about the condition, actually, in my maternity pack that I got on my first visit from the midwife. I think in [name of city] they are quite aware of, of the condition. And the leaflet was very good for me recognising that I had a problem, that it wasn't a question of just normal aches and pains in pregnancy. So it was an excellent leaflet, and it had the local support group number on the back.

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