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What is the Relationship Between Tailbone Pain and Pregnancy?

By Erin J. Hill
Updated Feb 18, 2024
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Tailbone pain and pregnancy are linked for many women because pain in the back and tailbone are a common symptom of pregnancy. Pain may be minor or severe and treatment options are often limited since many drugs are not recommended for pregnant women. Women who have experienced tailbone pain before pregnancy may have more pronounced symptoms and more acute discomfort. Very rarely, serious injury to the bone may occur during the child’s birth.

The link between tailbone pain and pregnancy is due to the growing baby putting pressure on a woman’s spine, hips, and tailbone. This can cause severe discomfort and may make sitting down agonizing. Symptoms may be especially pronounced in those who have a desk job where sitting for long hours is necessary. These women may find sitting on a wedge- or doughnut-shaped cushion relieves some of the pain.

There are a few treatment options that women may try to relieve tailbone pain and pregnancy related bone dislocation or discomfort. Chiropractic care may alleviate pain in some women by aligning the bones into their correct locations. A gynecologist or midwife may also attempt to turn the baby so that its head puts less pressure on the tailbone. This is often the least effective since the baby may shift back into the previous position.

Medications can also be used, although the selection is often limited because many drugs are not safe for use during pregnancy. Over the counter pain medications such as acetaminophen are usually fine in moderation, but others, like aspirin, should be avoided. Muscle rubs and creams may be beneficial for some women, and these are generally okay to use while pregnant.

Tailbone pain and pregnancy-related discomfort may be alleviated or lessened with frequent exercise. This not only relieves some of the pressure from the bone, but it also sometimes helps to shift the baby into a more comfortable position for the mother. Women should also avoid sitting for long periods of time when able, although this may be difficult. When sitting is unavoidable, a cushion should be used at all times.

If pain becomes severe and walking becomes difficult, some doctors may consider inducing labor once the baby’s lungs have matured. This is typically reserved for cases in which all other treatment options have not alleviated the pain. Sometimes a woman will be placed on bed rest to avoid putting pressure on the tailbone.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Rotergirl — On Jan 26, 2014

Gee, I don't know -- maybe because an 8 pound bowling ball is sitting on your spine! That does tend to make things uncomfortable. While the seat cushions do help, nothing works like getting the weight off your spine, like being submerged in a pool -- heaven. Anything that changes the baby's position and gets his big butt off your spine makes you feel better! Sometimes, lying on your side helps, or getting on all fours will also take the pressure off.

For some women, the only thing that helps is giving birth and getting the little rascal out of there.

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