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”.
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:
Picture 1. Tailbone pain location
LEFT: The woman is sitting upright
RIGHT: The woman is leaning forward, which can ease the pain
In late pregnancy, the baby’s head can press upon the coccyx, which may cause pain.
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.
The following may help relieve tailbone pain (3):
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).