Tailbone pain is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms that can strike in any trimester. Usually, relaxin and other hormones are in play; they work to relax and stretch your pelvic floor, which also moves your coccyx.
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The coccyx, which is presumed to be a vestigial tail; or the “tailbone” in other words, sits at the very bottom of the spine, right behind the uterus. Made up of 3 to 5 bones connected by joints and cartilage, your tailbone acts as a tripod between your two pelvic bones to balance and stabilize your sitting posture.
Pain in the coccyx area or tailbone may be sharp and dull or very persistent, but it gets worse when you sit and stand improperly. It also increases with touch, either by external or internal touch (rectal examination).
Although pregnancy limits the types of medications you are allowed to take, some approved remedies and stretching exercises can help reduce pain without risk. However, if the pain gets worse or persists for a couple of days, it is best to consult your doctor.
Read on for the possible causes of tailbone pain during pregnancy, as well as some of our favorite suggestions and products that can help.
What Causes Tailbone Pain In Pregnancy?
In short, tailbone pain occurs when the coccyx is moved or shifted abnormally. The coccyx, attached to your sacrum via the dorsal grooves, may be more or less curved inward – like the end of a tail that “bends” forward.
During pregnancy, such pain can have various causes like hormones, your growing baby pushing against it, other issues like constipation, or even sitting on hard surfaces for a long period of time.
In the first trimester, your body releases relaxin and estrogen hormones to loosen the ligaments in your pelvic area, leaving more space to your baby. Through this process, the coccyx also shifts backward, which can lead to pain.
The Growing Uterus
During the second and third trimesters, your bump gets bigger and your developing baby may push against the tailbone, which is just behind your uterus. This pressure can cause pain and discomfort as well.
Tailbone pain can also arise after sitting on a hard surface for a long period of time or after sitting on an ill-fitting or uncomfortable seat. Sleeping on your back or lying on a poorly supported mattress reinforces bad sleeping position, which can increase the risk of pain.
Other Possible Sources
Tailbone pain in pregnancy has other possible sources, the most common being:
- inflammation between the sacrum and the tailbone.
- rectal pain.
- previously received pelvic injuries.
- stress at an emotional level.
If you have any of these symptoms, see your doctor. Medical assistance may be very important in such cases.
5 tips To Ease Tailbone Pain while pregnant?
1. Wear A Maternity Support Belt
You may want to try a maternity belt to support your growing bump and carry the weight you are supposed to gain. It can also improve your posture and reduce the pressure on your lower back by lifting your belly and adding a layer of support.
2. Sleep On Your Left Side With A Total Body Pillow
This can make a huge difference with your discomfort. Sleep on your side, preferably on your left one, and place a pregnancy pillow or a regular pillow between your knees. This takes the pressure off your spine and supports your belly, head, legs, and knees.
3. Ensure you are sitting upright!
The more your tailbone is aligned with the sacrum, the more it is protected from possible harm. Good posture involves sitting upright, with your core engaged, your feet flat on the floor, your back slightly curved, and your neck straight. Sitting on an exercise ball and/or using a cushion with an opening in the back under the coccyx are excellent aids.
4. Exercise regularly
Sitting and sleeping properly is not enough, you also need to exercise gently. As long as your OB agrees, it’s fine and even recommended to continue exercising until your due date. Swimming is one of the best workouts for pregnant women.
5. Try Heat And Cold
Applying heat or cold to the painful area can also be beneficial. Apply a heating pad or cold compress to the lower back continuously if the pain becomes unbearable. Repeat the procedure in intervals of 5 to 6 minutes. You can also take a warm (not too hot) water bath.
5 Stretching Poses for Prevention
Since sitting and standing movements are particularly frequent and difficult to avoid, coccyx pain can be very embarrassing in a pregnant woman’s daily life. Here are 5 stretches poses that can help prevent tailbone pain after long periods of sitting.
You will need a yoga mat to comfortably perform this stretching routine.