During pregnancy, your body produces more Relaxin, a hormone which relaxes the ligaments within your body, especially your pelvis, allowing your joints to move more freely.
Production of Relaxin peaks in the first trimester of pregnancy and again nearing the time of birth.
Increased movement in your pelvis is important for allowing your baby to get into the correct position for birth, as well as allowing your baby to pass easily through the birth canal.
It can also cause discomfort during your pregnancy, especially if the increased movement in your pelvis leads to pelvic instability. Misalignment of the pelvis can also cause your baby to present in a less-than-optimal position for birth.
Pelvic instability usually happens when the abdominal and hip muscles are not strong enough to support the increased flexibility of the pelvis. It is also more prevalent in people who suffer from hyper-mobility disorders outside of pregnancy.
The most common cause of tailbone pain during pregnancy is a misalignment of the sacrum or sacroiliac joint, known as a sacral rotation or sacral torsion, where the sacrum becomes slanted to one side, causing tightness and discomfort in the lower back and tailbone area.
Terms You Should Know:
Pelvic Instability – Instability of one or more of the three pelvic joints: The pubic symphysis, posterior sacroiliac joint, or anterior sacroiliac joint.
Sacroiliac Joint – The sacroiliac joint or SI joint is the joint in the bony pelvis between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis, which are joined by strong ligaments.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Dysfunction) – generally refers to pain in the sacroiliac joint region that is caused by abnormal motion in the sacroiliac joint, either too much motion or too little motion. It typically results in inflammation of the SI joint, and can be debilitating.
Definitions provided via Wikipedia.org
A holistic approach is best to maintain pelvic alignment and stability, reducing the incidence of pain. This approach will be different for each individual.
Chiropractic Care to Adjust the Sacrum
Achieving alignment of the pelvis is the first step to pain relief. Most people suffering from tailbone pain have some success with regular chiropractic adjustments.
If you are experiencing pelvic instability or during pregnancy and your baby is posterior, breech, or transverse, you may wish to find a Chiropractor who is trained in the Webster Technique.
Physical Therapy to Maintain Alignment
While chiropractic adjustments can correct the initial instability of the pelvic joints, physical therapy may be needed in order to maintain alignment.
Try to find a physical therapist with experience in SI Joint Dysfunction. This therapist should form an individual program to help you relax ligaments surrounding the sacroiliac joint, as well as strengthen muscles that hold the pelvic joints in correct alignment.
Your physical therapist should be able to provide you with stretches, exercises, and techniques to relieve discomfort and pain at home.
Overall, tailbone pain during pregnancy is treatable, and most women find relieve through a varied approach which seeks to first correct the instability of the pelvis and then to maintain alignment of the pelvic joints.