Edie and Amy

How to Relieve Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy

Sadly, pain is one of the major problems for most women during pregnancy. Recent studies show that 6 in 10 women will experience some sort of pain at one point or another during pregnancy. Sometimes, this pain occurs in the lower back at a point called the tailbone.

Black woman experiencing ailbone pain during pregnancy

Tailbone pain is a sharp ache or pain at the lower part of the back. During pregnancy, this pain is usually felt when you stand up, have sex, or take bathroom breaks. Thankfully, the pain usually goes away on its own after a while.

In this article, you’d find all the needed info on tailbone pain during pregnancy; the causes, and how to relieve it.

Read on to find out!

What’s The Tailbone?

The tailbone or coccyx is a small bone at the lower part of your back which joins the pelvis at the bottom of the spine. Due to its unique connection to the pelvic floor, the position of the coccyx varies in men and women. In a woman’s body, it points downwards. For men, this bone faces the forward direction.

Doctor touching the tailbone on a model skeleton

Although it’s a small bone, it is really important for muscle attachment in the gluteal (or butt) region. Furthermore, it supports and distributes your body weight whenever you sit. This weight distribution is important in the maintenance of body balance and the stability of your entire pelvic region.

Due to its connection to the muscles of your pelvic floor, the tailbone helps to stabilize and strengthen it as you prepare for childbirth. In addition, your coccyx ensures proper bowel movement, adequate vaginal support, and premium body mobility.

Causes of Tailbone Pain in Pregnancy

As we mentioned earlier, pain is quite common during pregnancy.

In fact, about 3 in 10 women experience pain at the lower part of their backs at least once while pregnant. Although about 70% of pregnant women experience tailbone pain at some point, it is only a serious concern in approximately 10% of them.

Black pregnant women feeling tailbone pain

Generally, relaxin and other pregnancy hormones are to blame. During pregnancy, these hormones cause the pelvic floor to relax and stretch, thereby moving the coccyx from its natural position. When this occurs, it is usually accompanied by pain or discomfort. 

Although the hormones seem to be the major culprit, tailbone pain may result from other factors. Some of the leading causes of tailbone pain include:

1. Your Baby’s Position

During pregnancy, your baby may assume one of the various pre-birth positions. Interestingly, this fact is really important because it determines the method of delivery as well as other pre-birth decisions. To find out more about your baby’s position, click here.

doctor doing a scan on pregnant woman

If your child is in the posterior position, the hard part of his/her head may push on your tailbone, leading to some pain or discomfort during pregnancy.

2. Pregnancy Changes

As you know and agree, pregnancy comes with a lot of changes which support your growing baby and prepare your body for child birth. Sometimes, you may even notice a change in your lower back curve.

For most women, this change comes with a shift to the body’s center of gravity and a loss of core strength. This is usually a result of the stretching of the abdominal muscles that occurs as the uterus enlarges to accommodate the growing baby.

Sadly, this change alters the position of the coccyx, leading to tailbone pain in most pregnant women.

3. Pelvic Floor Problems

Pelvic floor dysfunction is a common condition that prevents a person from relaxing properly and coordinating the pelvic floor muscles for their usual function. In women, this is often accompanied by pain during sex and urinal discomfort.

Sadly, pregnancy is one of the leading causes of pelvic floor dysfunction.

Usually, the muscle strain that comes with a growing baby affects the pelvic floor and causes tailbone pain during pregnancy.

4. Bad Posture

During pregnancy, it is very important to maintain a good posture always.

Moms-to-be often have coccyx pain after sitting for long periods of time because they tend to sit on their tailbones rather than sitting upright. This is usually a result of the growing baby bump which makes it more difficult to maintain a neutral spine while pregnant.

Black corporate woman with back pain

5. Referred Pain

Sometimes, the site of pain is not actually the cause of the pain. Whenever this happens, doctors describe it as ‘referred pain’. In some cases, tailbone pain may be referred, or transmitted, from the hips or other parts of the body.

Tips On How to Relieve Tailbone Pain In Pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is no cure for tailbone pain during pregnancy.

Do not fret!

There’s a way to manage the pain

There are a few things you can do to help ease the pain or even prevent it entirely, and we’ve compiled all the info for you in this section.

1. Stretches

As we’ve always said, exercise is really important during pregnancy. As you expect your little one, here are some safe exercises that would keep you strong and healthy for the journey ahead.

Pregnant woman exercising to relieve tailbone pain

In addition to these exercises, the following stretches would help ease tailbone pain during pregnancy:

  • Cat-Cow: With this pose, you can reduce the pressure on your tailbone while strengthening your lower back and pelvis.
  • Standing Cat-Cow: This is simply a replica of the cat-cow stretch, except it is done standing.
  • Downward-Facing Dog: This pose would support your lower back and legs while lengthening your spine.
  • Bridge: With this gentle stretch, you can strengthen your back, abdominal muscles, and butt muscles.
  • Child pose: This one would ease the pain in all parts of your spine, especially your lower back and pelvis

2. Lifestyle Modifications

As you expect your baby, it is always helpful to remember how crucial the little choices are.

For pregnant women, keeping a neutral spine (gentle, natural curve in the lower back) is key to relieving tailbone pain at any time. As you sit, stand, or walk, always remember to keep your back straight and shoulders back.

Doing this would ease the pressure on your coccyx and prevent tailbone pain during pregnancy.

3. Pelvic Floor Training

Since your coccyx is closely associated with your pelvic floor, keeping all the pelvic muscles in top shape can prevent the occurrence of tailbone pain during pregnancy.

Black pregnant couple exercising to relieve tailbone pain

This is because the position of the tailbone can shorten or lengthen the pelvic floor muscles on both sides. Furthermore, overstretching any of these muscles may cause a strain or pain in the lower back. Therefore, keeping the pelvic floor mobile, stable and well-coordinated may be the first step a pregnancy journey without tailbone pain

A simple routine that can strengthen your pelvic floor is the kegel exercise. To understand and conduct pelvic training routines, please consult your physiotherapist.

A Final Word from Edie & Amy

In conclusion, it is important to remember that there’s no cure for tail bone pain during pregnancy. Nonetheless, there are many ways to relieve it. Following the guidelines mentioned in this article would provide a great deal of relief.

However, if the pain is severe or consistent, please consult your doctor.

Stay strong, Mama.

References

1. Reiman MP , Bolgla LA, Loudon JK. A literature review of studies evaluating gluteus maximus and gluteus medius activation during rehabilitation exercises. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice. 2012 :28(4): 257-268.
2. Josephine Key. A Movement Problem E-Book: A clinical approach incorporating relevant research and practice 1st Edition .Edinburgh .New York .Churchill Livingstone ELSEVIER.2010
3. Fogel G, Cunningham P, Esses S. Coccygodynia: evaluation and management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg.2004;12:49–54.

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