Ths post is going talk the pubis symphysis — it can be a real problem for .5-1% of all pregnant women.
At the age of 28 I had a nine pound baby. My previous one had been a pound and a half smaller than him. I thought I was going to have to push for the rest of my life to get him out. When he did come out, I noticed that things were “off” with my hips (and hips don’t lie).
My tailbone hurt like CRAZY when I was sitting. Even after he was a few months old, I was having SO much pain while sitting.
I kept thinking it would heal, but it didn’t seem to be healing at all.
Church was miserable. For YEARS!
During that same time frame, I was trying to get pregnant — for about 4 years.
When I did — the tailbone pain came back with a vengeance. But, the further along in my pregnancy I noticed that things felt really “unstable” and that putting pants on was putting me to almost a 10 on the pain scale. There were sometimes tears shed over that daily task.
I started to notice other things.
- A weird “electric” feeling pain in the middle of my pelvis (which I knew was my symphysis pubis)
- A nerve pain that ran down the inner part of my thigh (I had always felt sciatic pain run down the back of my thigh, and this felt weird — more “electric”)
- If I rotated my hips (like a hula hoop motion) things just started to feel more and more off.
- Stairs were hard and pushing beds at work was getting more and more painful.
I talked to my doctor about it pretty frequently, and I actually finally stopped working at around 30 weeks of pregnancy, just because the pains were so bad.
Because the majority of the pain was in my tailbone area, I never really thought of it being my symphysis pubis. In fact, I even visited a physical therapist (because I also had a weird pain on my rib — which she finally diagnosed as scoliosis related to pregnancy — although I think it may have been from the symphysis pubis) after I was off work. In fact, no one ever mentioned it.
After that baby was born I was MISERABLE. The shooting pains on my pelvis got worse and worse. I went back to work after 6 weeks (I split my maternity leave since my husband was off for the summer) and after my shifts I was SO miserable. Much worse than regular days — which didn’t really make sense.
I had a friend who worked for a chiropractor, and she gave me a pelvic girdle belt. That started to help a lot at work (mainly because scrubs weren’t tight enough to keep my pelvis together). I was finally not dying.
My doctor sent me to a different physical therapist, who thought it was all due to my vagina and had me doing weird exercises and she was adjusting me in weird ways. Finally I just got grossed out enough, and things weren’t helping at all — I finally quit.
I saw a neurological pain doctor who gave me a steroid shot in my sacrum (which they do under fluoroscopy). The first one worked pretty well, but the second one didn’t work at all — the pain was still there.
I then went to a chiropractor and did a bunch of session with him (dropping huge amounts of money) and that wasn’t helping at all either.
Finally — thanks to the internet, I realized that tailbone pain after pregnancy is VERY often caused by SPD.
I also noticed that when I did yoga (especially down dog — stretching out my glutes) that the tailbone pain stopped for a bit. Also, during all of this my plantar fasciitis was horrible. in the mornings I could barely walk.
After a long time of stretching and working on my plantar fasciitis, the tailbone pain started to resolve. About the time that P turned 2 we moved to Arizona, and I was FINALLY able to sit in the car for long periods without crying.
However, she’s turning 8 next month and I still have it flare up every now and then, especially around my period I’ll get that extra boost of relaxin in my bloodstream and I’ll feel the twinges.
What Causes Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction:
- Pregnancy (as far as I can tell that’s almost the only thing that causes it)
- If your baby is super low (called a low station)
The two sides of your pelvis are held together by a small band of cartilage — during pregnancy your body releases a hormone called Relaxin that helps that tissue relax (and can also help your baby come out more easily).
What you can do about it:
- Talk to your doctor — they might recommend a lower pelvic support.
- Doing Kegals and pelvic tilts will help to strengthen your pelvic girdle — the muscles surrounding your pelvis.
- You can’t actually strengthen the tissues that hold your pelvis together. That is what it is.
- If some women have it bad enough, they’ll do a c-section, rather than have women push and possibly have the head bump it and hurt it further.
- You can go to a physical therapist that can give you exercises unique to your situation.
A lot of women heal pretty quickly after delivery and that hormone isn’t being secreted any further.
There is no reason to just muscle through the pain — you aren’t strengthening anything. Some women even find a walker very helpful.
If it’s still hurting after a few weeks, definitely talk to your doctor
Continue to wear your pelvic girdle (although, you are also going to have to strengthen your own muscles — so you can’t rely on that forever) — also, tight pants often took the place of the girdle.
Ask to see a physical therapist
Sometimes there are people who specialize in this, so definitely ask around.
When I asked around, most doctors just said it would take a lot of time to heal.
And it sure did.
I just wish that I had known more about it when I was pregnant. Not a single doctor mentioned it — and I work in labor and delivery!
Here are a few other smart articles I found about it:
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