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Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy – Causes and Treatment

Tailbone Pain (Coccyx Pain, Coccydynia) Location and Symptoms

Tailbone pain is a sharp or dull pain on the end of the spine — in the lower back between the upper buttocks (Picture 1). The pain can be severe; some women describe it as a “bruised tailbone”.

Causes of the Tailbone Pain in Early Pregnancy (First Trimester)

During pregnancy, the hormones relaxin and estrogen cause relaxation of the ligaments in the pelvic floor, which allows the coccyx to shift more than usually; this can cause pain.

Pregnancy may worsen the tailbone pain caused by pre-existing conditions, such as:

  • Constipation
  • Herniated disc in the lower back — pain may be located in the sacral area or in the left or right buttock and may spread down a leg and possibly causing tingling in the feet.
  • Lower back injury, a fall on the tailbone
  • Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) — tailbone pain associated with pubic pain or pain in other spots in the pelvis; it may radiate down a leg but not below the knees.
  • Cancer in the pelvic area

Tailbone Pain

Picture 1. Tailbone pain location
LEFT: The woman is sitting upright
RIGHT: The woman is leaning forward, which can ease the pain

Tailbone Pain in Late Pregnancy (Second and Third Trimester)

In late pregnancy, the baby’s head can press upon the coccyx, which may cause pain.

Triggers of Tailbone Pain

  • Pressure upon the tailbone
  • Sneezing, coughing
  • Lying on the back, sitting on the hard surface, moving from sitting to standing, prolonged standing
  • Walking, running, cycling, riding, driving, lifting heavy objects, doing squats or jumping,
  • Bowel movement
  • Intercourse
  • Labor.

Sitting Positions, Coccyx Cushions

You can try to sit on a doughnut (donut) pillow or inflatable ring, a wedge pillow (U-pillow or V-pillow; nothing presses on the coccyx). Some women find relief when they lean forward on the table (Picture 1(2). You can try an exercise ball when sitting in the office.

Standing and Walking

  • Avoid prolonged standing and walking.
  • Avoid bending over to pick objects.
  • Try shoes with cushy soles.
  • Do not wear shoes with high heels.
  • Try a maternity support belt.

Tailbone Pain Relief and Treatment

The following may help relieve tailbone pain (3):

  • Frequently change positions — from sitting to walking and vice versa.
  • Empty the bowel regularly — a full rectum may press upon the coccyx and worsen the pain.
  • Apply heat or ice pads or try warm (not hot) baths.
  • Swimming may help relieve the pain.
  • Try certain yoga positions, such as “cat to cow” pose.
  • A doctor may suggest a mild painkiller, such as paracetamol (acetaminophen). Aspirin and ibuprofen, and steroid injections are not recommended in pregnancy.
  • A physiotherapist or pregnancy chiropractor may suggest special exercises or the massage of the tailbone area.

Can Tailbone Pain Be Cured?

There is no cure for the tailbone pain during pregnancy, but the pain usually goes away shortly after delivery. If the tailbone pain is severe and repeats during every pregnancy, you may discuss with a surgeon about surgical coccyx removal (coccygectomy) (1).

Sources:

  1. Tailbone pain relief (mayoclinic.com)
  2. Coccyx pain – recommended sitting position  (emedicine.medscape.com)
  3. Coccyx pain treatment  (spine-health.com)
  4. Back pain in pregnancy  (spine-health.com)

By May 31st 2013

15 Responses to Tailbone Pain During Pregnancy – Causes and Treatment

  1. Ameila says:

    I guess I was lucky and didn’t have any tailbone pain during or after having any of my children but I know some that did. Any back pain is one of the worst things ever. Can’t stand, sit, or lay without it hurting.

  2. Sam says:

    I’m only 15 and a half weeks. My tailbone pain has been terrible. I cant walk for more than 20 minutes before I have to sit down and It often still hurts while I’m sitting aswell. I sit at a computer for 8 hours a day and I cant seem to find a comfortable position. Help! I’m always in pain.

    • rachelle bada says:

      hello i have been experiencing the same that why i was brought to this page.. they say the donut pillow gives some relief. get one and sit on while at work. avoid being constipated… try to stand up at times and do aome walking….

  3. Stacey says:

    Wish there was treatment or a preventative.
    I’m 38& 1/2 weeks ready 2 pop! & if I’m in a sitting down position (no matter what pillow or position) I have a hard time getting up 2 walk. So painful! Must mean my baby is coming soon. Lots of lower pressure. <3
    Good Luck 2 all of you. & my prayers for the ones tht have this pain early on. Not fun. God Bless. <3

  4. Liz says:

    I am 32 weeks pregnant my osteo wants to do an internal adjustment to my coccyx in a few weeks as it is in a position that will make childbirth hard, has anyone had this done? There are some risks apparently that you can go into labor hence not doing adjustment yet. Cant seem to find any info about pregnancy and internal adjustments.

  5. Mandy says:

    I’m 19 weeks along and everytime I lay down I get horrible tailbone pain. It doesnt matter if I’m on my back or side I still get it and tylenol doesn’t help at all. I’m on my feet for 7-8 hours a day at work which seems to be making it worse.

    • Rachel says:

      Try shoes with more support, like arch support and cushier insoles. I’m having the same problem and it was because of the shoes I was wearing during the day!

  6. Sierra says:

    I’m only 11 weeks and I’m having terrible sharp pain on the side of my buttox.. I’m guessing it counts as tailbone pain.. but why so early?
    I can stand up, or sit a certain way and it’s just sharp pain..
    hmm..? :/

  7. LaKeyshia says:

    While I’m only 11 weeks, i work as a cashier standing for 8 hrs. today was the first day I’m experiencing this tail bone pain and boy does it hurt. I tried sitting down for a few mins and when i got up it hurted worse. What do i do?

  8. Sora says:

    I experienced this early in my pregnancy, around 12-14 weeks and it was unbearable. It became so bad I could no longer walk for a few days. I found that heat packs provided some relief.

    I went to a physio, who provided me with a support belt (in order to minimalise pelvic movement) and also recommended some stretches, such as the pigeon pose. The combination of the above ultimately appeared to cure the issue.

    Unfortunately, the pain has returned now in my 32 week. I still find some relief by not laying on my back, not standing too long (I find trying to walk after standing still for a period absolutely excruciating), and from heat packs.

    Best of luck everyone. If anyone else has some recommendations that would be great!

  9. Belinda Espinoza says:

    Currently 18 weeks and experiencing major pain in my tail bone. Can’t lay down or even sit. I also noticed that it is swollen

  10. Randi says:

    I am 12 weeks tomorrow and have experienced this pain for a couple weeks. I am on my feet for at least 8 hours a day and know it is probably due to prolonged standing and the shoes I wear. I haven’t asked the Doctor yet but my next visit in February I plan to try to do something about it. Laying on my back and pulling my knees as close to my chest as possible (I am not showing yet but don’t want to spend a long time in this position) gives temporary relief. I believe just taking pressure off it may help. Swimming really sounds like it may help a lot! But a warm bath earlier relieved it some as well. Good luck ladies!!

  11. Tasha says:

    I am only 9 weeks and I have very sharp tail bone pains which spread to only one side of my butt. I can’t lie down, sit, or stand without the pain. No I do not want to just cover the pain up with a tylenol. I’d like to know why this is happening and if it will get worse.

    • Casey says:

      I’m experiencing the same symptoms and I’m only 9 weeks as well!
      It’s been almost unbearable by the time I get off work I can barely stand. Sleeping isn’t an option either with this type of pain.

  12. Joey Swain says:

    Hi I am 23 weeks and experiencing this severe tail bone pain. When I was 12 weeks I had similar pain but in my lower back for 3 days. Is there anything I can do to relieve it? My doctor has me off work now for 2 weeks.

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