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Pain in pregnancy is the mother of dad's invention.

Byline: Owen Hughes Reporter Name.name@walesonline.co.uk

WHEN Ruth Roberts was unable to walk and had to use a wheelchair to get around as a result of suffering severe pelvic girdle pain (PGP), her husband tried to find a solution.

Dafydd, who runs the family's uniform, personalised clothing and manufacturing business in Anglesey and Conwy, developed a girdle to help alleviate the pain.

The girdle proved such a success they are now about to launch it on the market to help other women experiencing severe PGP, also called symphisis pubic dysfunction.

The condition is caused by an excess of pregnancy hormones that are designed to soften the pelvic muscles and joints to help with childbirth.

It affects one in five pregnant women, and in severe cases leaves the sufferer unable to walk due to the pain, with some experiencing lasting effects after the birth.

Dafydd and Ruth are working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, which is running a clinical trial into the pelvic girdle's effectiveness and to ensure it meets all medical and design standards. This was the couple's fourth child, and for Ruth, 40, it was her second experience of PGP, as she had suffered towards the end of her third pregnancy.

With this pregnancy the condition started when she was just 16 weeks pregnant, and became acute to the point where she couldn't walk.

The couple have been supported in this venture by consultant obstetrician Kalpana Upadhyay and her medical associates at Wrexham Maelor Medical Institute.

Ruth said: "It's like you're being stabbed repeatedly, and this shooting pain spreads to your hips, your back, everywhere, until you can't do anything for yourself.

"You don't enjoy your pregnancy at all and you're just counting down to the baby being born.

"I spent most of the pregnancy in hospital for respite care. The three older kids, who were all in high school, had to become my carers, and Dafydd too."

Seeing his wife struggle inspired Dafydd to design and make the pelvic girdle to help her.

He said: "Instead of going straight to the internet to see what was available, I went straight to the factory to see what I could make. I came up with a design that seemed to offer some relief but I struggled to get hold of the right sort of material to make it comfortable enough for Ruth to wear every day."

Dafydd's harness supports the weight of the bump, and holds the hip bones in a comfortable position and, according to Ruth, it offered immediate relief.

She said: "The difference it made was amazing. It gave me back some independence as I finally had a bit more mobility."

Ruth went on to give birth to Harri, who is now three, and the harness was left in a wardrobe.

But Dafydd continued to look at the designs and development, and eventually located the right sort of material from a supplier in America.

It was a turning-point for the Roberts family, who live in Pentrefoelas, and sparked a whirlwind year for the entrepreneur.

He contacted a consultant obstetrician for her professional opinion. Wrexham Maelor Hospital consultant obstetrician Kalpana Upadhyay, an honorary lecturer at University of Bangor, knew immediately that Dafydd had created something that was desperately needed, and went on to support him through development, research and in gaining funding for clinical tri-risk pregnancies, Kalpana decided it was time to try something new, and began to gather a team around her of researchers, physiotherapists, midwives, an industry manager from Health & Care Research Wales and experts from the clinical trials team at the University of Bangor.

"Now we have managed to get a proper clinical trial up and running and we are hoping that it will prove our hypothesis that this device is more effective than the standard treatment available. It can be such a debilitating condition so this is a great step forward," said Ruth.

They have set up a new company called HGR Ltd.

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<BRuth and Dafydd Roberts have developed a pelvic girdle that helps women suffering pelvic pain during pregnancy, and are being advised by consultant obstetrician Kalpana Upadhyay, right
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 20, 2016
Words:691
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