Tailbone Pain in Pregnancy

During pregnancy, women deal with all sorts of aches and pains and many other symptoms. One of the less talked about symptoms that some women may experience during pregnancy is a pain in their lower back or pain in the tailbone. Also known as coccyx pain, tailbone pain pregnancy symptoms are more common than you might think. This symptom usually begins around the end of the first trimester, when the baby starts growing. Tailbone or coccyx pain is one of the most common complaints of aches and pains during pregnancy. Here is a quick guide to tailbone coccyx pain during pregnancy.

The coccyx, or commonly known as the tailbone, is located below the sacrum. Separately, the sacrum and coccyx are composed of smaller bones that fuse and grow into a solid bone mass together by age 30. The tailbone comprises of three to five bones that are linked to one another by cartilage and joints. The tailbone is located directly above the buttocks and towards the back of the uterus.[1] When you experience tailbone pain pregnancy symptoms, it might appear as a sharp or dull pain, and continue to vary in intensity. You will notice that this pain tends to get worse when you are sitting down for long periods. The simple cause is because sitting puts more pressure on your tailbone. You are also going to notice that this tailbone pain during pregnancy may get worse when you lie down on your back or while straining during a bowel movement.[2,3] 

See: Pregnancy Massage Benefits

Why do you get tailbone pain during pregnancy?

Why do you experience tailbone pain in pregnancy?

If you experience backache or aches in the pelvic region, then it is likely that you are experiencing different types of pain in your tailbone. Tailbone pain during pregnancy is one of the most commonly experienced types of pain, and as the pregnancy progresses and the fetus grows, this pain is likely to get worse.[4] The pain occurs because the tailbone or coccyx is located right behind the uterus. As the baby develops and grows bigger, the fetus' bones start to push against your bones, causing discomfort.[5] 

Tailbone pain pregnancy symptom is also due to certain pregnancy hormones. In particular, the hormones relaxin and others are the cause of tailbone pain during pregnancy. These pregnancy hormones cause the pelvic floor to relax and stretch to accommodate the growing fetus, which also moves your tailbone. These hormones help the ligaments relax and start preparing for the delivery process. Since ligaments are connected to bones, so the bones also begin to relax, shifting things around to prepare for childbirth. This is what causes discomfort and pain, commonly known as coccyx pain or tailbone pain during pregnancy.[6]

In some cases, tailbone pain pregnancy symptoms can also be caused during the final stages of the pregnancy. This happens because the baby is now fully pressed against the tailbone and starts applying a lot of pressure on the tailbone. The slightest movement or irregularity can, thus, put pressure on the tailbone, causing pain. For example, any activity which involves doing physical work such as sitting for long hours, cycling, walking, or even standing for a long period of time can lead to tailbone pain. This is why it is essential to take the required precautions during the last months of your pregnancy while doing any type of physical work, as this is a crucial time before your delivery.[7]

See: Pregnancy Diet & Nutrition

Natural remedies for tailbone pain in pregnancy

How to deal with Tailbone Pain in Pregnancy?

There are many natural and pregnancy safe remedies that can help you ease the discomfort from tailbone pain. These natural remedies can help reduce your discomfort without harming your or your baby's health. Here are some suggestions that can help in tailbone pain pregnancy symptoms.

1. Watch your posture while sitting

Sitting an uncomfortable and hard desk chair for long hours can increase tailbone pain. Try to take the pressure off your aching tailbone. Choose a comfortable chair, and if that is not an option, then help keep your spine straight with the use of a donut-shaped pillow. This can help distribute your weight evenly, making it easier to sit for a longer time in a more comfortable manner.[8]

2. Exercise can help ease tailbone pain pregnancy 

Consider developing an exercise plan with your doctor. Regular exercise can help relieve tailbone pain during pregnancy. Remember, even taking a simple walk around the block two times a day can help ease the pain.[9] 

Swimming is also another excellent way of managing tailbone pain. Swimming also helps you remain limber and avoids any pressure on your ligaments and joints, especially on your tailbone. In fact, according to research by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, swimming is the safest form of exercise while you are pregnant. However, it is essential to note that scuba diving, diving, and water skiing is not safe for pregnant women and increases the risk of injury. Swimming is a low impact exercise and therefore builds aerobic capacity and strength.[10]

3. Yoga poses

During pregnancy, always practice yoga poses after getting the approval of your doctor - and with the help of an experienced yoga therapist. There are several stretches in yoga that can help ease tailbone pain in pregnancy. It is better to have a yoga mat so that you can perform these poses comfortably. Here is some stretching routine to help relieve tailbone pregnancy.[11] 

- Cat-Cow Pose: The Cat-Cow pose helps gently stretch your pelvis and lower back and increases spine mobility while taking pressure off the tailbone. 

- Downward-Facing Dog pose: This yoga pose helps stretch and strengthen the lower back, lengthens your spine, and also works out the back of your legs. However, this yoga pose should be avoided in the third trimester.[12] 

- Child's Pose: This yoga pose is also another excellent exercise for reliving tailbone pain during pregnancy. It is an effective stretching exercise for the back and hips. 

See: Pregnancy yoga poses & classes

Summary

There is no cure for tailbone pain pregnancy, but there are several natural remedies for treating it and getting relief from it. Exercising regularly, paying attention to the way you sit, moving around frequently during the day, and practicing specific yoga poses once a day can help ease your tailbone pain during pregnancy. If your pain becomes severe or persists for over two weeks, then it is recommended that you consult your doctor.

See: Anxiety & stress in pregnancy natural remedies

References

1. Khandekar, S., Tailbone pain.

2. Foye, P.M., 2017. Coccydynia: tailbone pain. Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Clinics, 28(3), pp.539-549.

3. Keller, L., A Real Pain in the Butt: Understanding Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy and Postpartum.

4. Gruenwald, P., 1966. Growth of the human fetus: I. Normal growth and its variation. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 94(8), pp.1112-1119.

5. Sneag, D.B., and Bendo, J.A., 2007. Pregnancy-related low back pain. Orthopedics, 30(10), pp.839-845.

6. Bermas, B.L., 2013. Musculoskeletal changes and pain during pregnancy and postpartum. UpToDate, Waltham, MA.[online].[cit. 2015-09-30]. Dostupné z: http://www.uptodate.com/contents/musculoskeletal-changes-and-pain-duringpregnancy-and-postpartum.

7. Berg, G.Ö.R.A.N., Hammar, M., Möller-Nielsen, J.E.S.P.E.R., Lindén, U.L.F., and Thorblad, J., 1988. Low back pain during pregnancy. Obstetric Anesthesia Digest, 8(2), p.53.

8. Silva, A.M., 2004. Preventing and managing back pain during pregnancy. Expect Fitness.

9. Artal, R., O'Toole, M. and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 2003. Exercise during pregnancy and the postpartum period. Clin Obstet Gynecol, 46(2), pp.496-499.

10. Acog.org. 2020. Exercise During Pregnancy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 June 2020].

11. Narendran, S., Nagarathna, R., Narendran, V., Gunasheela, S., and Nagendra, H.R.R., 2005. Efficacy of yoga on pregnancy outcome. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 11(2), pp.237-244.

12. Ni, M., Mooney, K., Harriell, K., Balachandran, A., and Signorile, J., 2014. Core muscle function during specific yoga poses, Complementary therapies in medicine, 22(2), pp.235-243.

See: Ovulation Bleeding Causes & Pregnancy

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