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Pregnancy is one of the most beautiful phases of life for any woman. During this phase, moms-to-be experience a lot of body pains and aches. Most of us would have heard of ligament pain, abdominal pain, and back pain during pregnancy but a lot of people do not know what tailbone pain is and how to ease tailbone pain during pregnancy.
The tailbone or coccyx is a small triangular bony structure that is situated between the upper buttocks. The tailbone has an important weight-bearing role. The coccyx supports your body weight while sitting and stabilizes the sitting posture and a majority of muscles, tendons, and ligaments go through the tailbone.
What is Tailbone Pain?
The tailbone pain during pregnancy which is also known as coccydynia is a type of acute and dim pain at the end of the spine. If the pain is very severe it is known as a ‘bruised tailbone.’ Pregnant women experience this pain due to various reasons.
There is no proper cure for this pain, there are a few simple exercises and stretches that can help in reducing the pain. If the pain in the tailbone continues for many days or if it causes a lot of discomforts it is best to consult a doctor for medical attention.
What Is Pelvic Floor?
The pelvic floor is a dome-shaped muscular sheet separating the pelvic cavity above from the perineal region below. The main function of the pelvic floor muscles is to support the abdominal and pelvic viscera.
What Causes Pain On Tailbone During Pregnancy?
As the fetus grows, the pressure in the lower terminus increases, which causes pain in the tailbone. Let’s take a look at some of the causes for tailbone pain during pregnancy:
1. Pregnancy Hormones
During the first trimester of pregnancy, the body releases estrogen hormones and relaxin, which tend to relax the ligaments of the pelvic region. The muscles around the abdominal region shift and this creates room for the baby. During this process, the tailbone moves, which might lead to pain.
2. Growing Baby
According to the book ‘Your Best Pregnancy’ by Jill Hoefs, MP and Denise Jagroo, DPT, MTC, WCS, in the second and third trimester, the developing baby requires more space. It pushes against the tailbone, which lies just behind the uterus. This pressure causes pain and worsens with the progressing pregnancy.
3. Other causes
During pregnancy, you put on more weight and this may cause you to sit in odd postures and often lean back. Sitting for long hours and cycling can cause tailbone pain during pregnancy and during the final stages, sneezing and coughing can add pressure on the tailbone, which leads to pain.
How To Ease Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy?
A few stretches and gentle exercises can ease tailbone pain during pregnancy, and it is recommended to consult a doctor before doing any exercise during pregnancy. Physiotherapists can help you perform the best exercises to support your tailbone. Here are the top exercises and stretches to ease pain in the tailbone:
1. Bridge Stretch
This stretch is known to strengthen your hip flexor muscles. It works on your lower back muscles, abdominal muscles, and glutes. It can relieve the body of hip pain and lower back pain. This exercise should be avoided after the 20th week of your pregnancy. Here is how you should do this exercise:
- Lie on your back with feet flat and knees bent. Keep your hands beneath your back with palms facing downward.
- Move your feet so that they are hip-width apart from each other. Lift up your pelvis by pressing your lower back against the floor. Hold the pose for a minute and breathe in.
- Now release the pose by exhaling. Roll your spine back to the ground slowly.
- Repeat ten times.
2. Child’s Pose
This stretching exercise is for your hip and back. This pose can ease tailbone pain during pregnancy, pelvic floor pain, and lower back pain effectively.
- Kneel on both your knees with a slight distance in between them. Then sit on your heels and bend forward by lowering your forehead to the floor. You can widen your toes if you feel that touching toes puts any pressure on the knees or not providing enough space for the stomach. You can also offer support to your abdomen by placing a pillow between your knees.
- Keep your arms along the body with palms facing upward.
- Gently bring your chest towards the thighs and hold for at least five deep breaths.
- Now, while exhaling, slowly release your butt on your heels, uncurling the spine.
3. Downward-Facing Dog Pose
This stretching pose is known to strengthen your lower back and the back of your legs and lengthens your spine. It works on the triceps, quads, foot muscles, and lats.
- Go on all your fours with knees under your hips and wrists below your shoulders.
- Using the support of arms and legs, while inhaling, gently lift your hip as you extend your arms and stretch the back of your legs.
- Exhale by relaxing your heels and head. If you feel tight in the calf region, it is recommended to pedal your feet by pressing one heel down on the ground followed by the other heel.
- Once done with the pose, slowly move your knees downwards and rest for some time in the child’s pose.
Discretion: It is an inversion pose, and you should avoid doing it in your third trimester, which is after 33 weeks of pregnancy. Do not practice this pose without consulting your physician.
4. Torso Twist
This twist allows pregnant women to work to their core. Having a strong core helps the body to cope with changes in posture during pregnancy and reduces lower back pain.
- Sit on the floor with crossed legs.
- Now hold your left foot using your right hand.
- Place your left palm behind you on the ground and twist your upper body to your right gradually.
- Remain for a few seconds, return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side.
- Should be repeated ten times.
5. Cat-Cow Pose
This pose is known to strengthen your lower back and pelvis. It increases spine mobility and takes the pressure off the tailbone. This pelvic tilt exercise works on your back, abdominal muscles, and arms.
- Bend down on your hands and knees by keeping your hands under your shoulders and knees under your hips.
- Raise your head gently, drop your belly, lift your chin and chest, and draw your shoulder away from your ears. This is a cow pose.
- As you exhale, release your head gently, press into your hands, around your back, and bring your chin towards your chest. This is a cat pose.
- Inhale while you come into cow pose and exhale while you come into cat pose.
- Repeat it ten times.
6. Standing Cat-Cow Pose
This pose relieves you from tailbone pain during pregnancy and it works on the back, abdominal muscles, arms, leg muscles, and glutes.
- Stand with your legs hip-width apart, knees bent, and hands placed on thighs.
- As you inhale, arch your back, drop your belly, and raise your head upwards.
- As you exhale, round your back, tuck your pelvis by releasing your head gently.
- Alternate the positions and repeat ten times.
Walking helps to gain weight and also removes pressure from the tailbone. Doctors recommend walking for a minimum of thirty minutes to free the strained muscles of the pelvic region.
Tips On How To Ease Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy
Apart from the regular stretching exercises, doctors also recommend a few basic everyday tips that can help to relieve tailbone pain during pregnancy.
1. Good Posture
A very bad posture is the main cause of coccyx pain. It is recommended to sit straight with your feet flat on the ground with a straight neck and a slightly curved back.
2. Sleeping Position
It is advisable to sleep on your sides and not on your back if you are suffering from tailbone pain during pregnancy. Using a pillow in between your knees is recommended.
3. Heat Pads
Sitting on a heating pad or applying a hot compress to the tailbone region 4 times a day for a duration of 20 minutes might ease tailbone pain during pregnancy.
4. Changing Positions
It is very important to change positions and you should not sit or stand for a long duration of time. It is advisable to not bend down to pick up things.
5. Empty bowels regularly
Irregular bowel movements can increase the pain as a full rectum causes pressure on the coccyx. Eating fiber-rich food, brisk walking, and gentle stretches can promote smooth bowel movements.
6. Tailbone massage
A physiotherapist will massage your tailbone area and it is very helpful to reduce the tailbone pain during pregnancy.
Tailbone pain during pregnancy can be very painful and can cause a lot of pain if not medically reviewed. According to Michel Cackovic an obstetrician-gynecologist at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center “your tailbone serves as a point of attachment for many tendons and ligaments, all which have nerves that will fire when something presses on them, and minor things like constipation can make it worse.”