Tailbone pain is fairly common during pregnancy. While you may not be able to completely get rid of it, here is why tailbone pain happens during pregnancy and what you can do to relieve it.
What causes tailbone pain during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, your body releases a hormone that relaxes your pelvic muscles to accommodate the baby and prepare for childbirth. This causes the tailbone to shift and can cause soreness. In addition, your growing baby’s head can also bump into your tailbone, causing significant pain.
Pregnancy can also aggravate existing conditions such as constipation or a herniated disc, which can be felt in the tailbone area.
6 ways to ease tailbone pain during pregnancy
1. Straighten your posture
Slumping forward or overarching your back during pregnancy can take a toll on your spine. When sitting, make sure your feet are flat on the ground and engage your core muscles so that your neck is straight and your back is only slightly curved.
During pregnancy, your ligaments are looser than normal, which means it is even more crucial to stay balanced and symmetrical. Avoid crossing your legs, putting your pants on while standing on one leg, or staying in bed in the same position for a long period of time.
2. Use special pillows
Using a special seat cushion can relieve the pressure on your tailbone. Instead of opting for a donut pillow, try using a wedge-shaped pillow that has a cutout for the tailbone area.
When sleeping, use an extra pillow to put between your legs. This can help keep your hips and knees in a more comfortable neutral position.
3. Take a pain reliever
It is best to avoid or limit over-the-counter medications during pregnancy. However, there are a few options that may help relieve tailbone pain, such as:
- Topical numbing patches
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
- Muscle relaxant such as flexeril
Always consult your physician before taking medications.
4. Avoid getting constipated
Since your tailbone is located near your rectum, it can be easy for constipation to cause or worsen tailbone pain. Pregnancy hormones can increase the risk of constipation, and if you are taking iron supplements, your digestion may be slowed.
Some ways to prevent constipation and help keep things moving during pregnancy include:
- Drinking plenty of water
- Getting regular exercise
- Eating high-fiber foods
5. Consult a physical therapist
If your tailbone pain is severe and does not respond to other therapies, your physician may recommend you to consult a physical therapist. A physical therapist aims to reduce muscle pain while improving strength and flexibility and correcting the instability causing the pain.
Your physical therapist may recommend managing tailbone pain with the following methods:
- Stretching and breathing exercises that help relax and lengthen the pelvic floor muscles
- Using a belt or brace to help stabilize the pelvis
- Massage (myofascial release) of the pelvic floor muscles to reduce pain and tension
6. Do stretches
Some stretches that may help relieve pain in the tailbone area during pregnancy include the following:
- Cat-cow stretch:
- Start on all fours, with your shoulders directly over your wrists and hips directly over your knees.
- As you breathe in, drop your abdomen, hollowing your back but keeping your shoulders rolled back and down. This is the cow stretch.
- As you breathe out, press into your hands and round your spine. This is the cat stretch.
- Repeat 10 times.
- Child pose:
- Start on all fours, keeping your knees wide and your feet close together. This allows space for your baby bump.
- Bend down so that your baby bump rests between your knees and your buttocks lower to your heels.
- This should feel like a relaxing, comfortable stretch in your low back.
- Hold the position for 5-10 seconds.
- Downward-facing dog:
- Start on all fours with your knees on the mat.
- As you inhale, straighten your legs and lift your hips to the ceiling so that your body forms an inverted V.
- Bend your head down and look towards your navel.
- Try to straighten your legs while pushing your heels into the mat.
Will tailbone pain go away after childbirth?
Tailbone pain usually goes away after delivery. In some cases, however, the instability caused by flexible ligaments and a traumatic delivery can lead to ongoing pelvic bone pain and pelvic floor dysfunction.
If tailbone pain persists, you should consult your doctor for further evaluation and treatment. If your pain is severe, your doctor may even recommend surgery.
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