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Pubic Bone Pain During Pregnancy

Pubic Bone Pain in Pregnancy

It is not uncommon for women to develop pubic bone pain during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones bring about joints to loosen. It is expectant mother’s body mechanism to prepare for delivery. However, this loosening may trigger pain, especially when it happened excessively. Pubic bone pain during pregnancy is also known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) or pelvic girdle pain (PGP). It can be really painful, and some persist for long duration. Understanding the condition and how to manage it is crucial to ensure a comfortable and healthy pregnancy. 


Understanding Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction (SPD)

The pelvis serves as a vital structure in the human body, providing support for the spine and organs, and facilitating movement. Pelvis area consists of several bones, including the ilium, ischium, and pubis. The pubic bone is located at the front of the pelvis. Hence, it plays a significant role of supporting growing uterus and provides stability to the pelvic during pregnancy.

Symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) is a condition characterized by pain and instability in the pelvic region, specifically around the pubic bone. It typically occurs during pregnancy due to increased pressure and strain on the pelvis, leading to inflammation and discomfort. While the exact cause of SPD is not always clear, it is believed to result from a combination of hormonal changes, mechanical factors, and pre-existing pelvic issues. Certain risk factors, such as a history of pelvic trauma or previous pregnancies, may also predispose individuals to develop SPD.


Symptoms of Pubic Bone Pain during Pregnancy

Pregnant ladies with SPD may encounter a range of symptoms, including:

  • Pain and tenderness in the pubic area, often radiating to the lower back, hips, or thighs
  • Difficulty with weight-bearing activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing for extended periods
  • Clicking or grinding sensations in the pelvis
  • Difficulty shifting positions, especially when getting in and out of bed or a chair
  • Increased discomfort when engaging in activities that require spreading the legs, such as getting in and out of a car

However, the impact of pubic bone pain during pregnancy may extend beyond physical discomfort and negatively affect pregnancy experience. Some common challenges associated with SPD include:

  • Limitations in performing daily activities: Severe pubic bone pain hinders mobility and make routine tasks such as walking, standing, or bending difficult.
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: The discomfort caused by SPD can interfere with sleep, leading to fatigue and exhaustion.
  • Emotional distress: Chronic pain during pregnancy can take a toll on mental health, contributing to feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression.
  • Decreased quality of life: Persistent pubic bone pain can diminish the enjoyment of pregnancy and impact social activities, work, and relationships.
  • Potential complications during labor and delivery: Severe SPD may pose challenges during childbirth, necessitating additional pain management strategies or interventions.



Managing Pubic Bone Pain During Pregnancy

Fortunately, there are several strategies available to help pregnant ladies to alleviate discomfort of pubic bone pain during prenancy:

  • Lifestyle modifications
    Making adjustments to daily activities and avoiding movements that exacerbate pain help alleviate symptoms. It helps to incorporate frequent breaks when performing tasks to reduce strain on pelvic area. 
  • Physical therapy
    Working with a physical therapist who specializes in prenatal care goes a long way to strengthen pelvic muscles and improve stability. From strengthening exercises that target pelvic floor muscles, core muscles and hip muscles, to stretching exercises to improve flexibility and alleviate tensions, therapist assist and ensure right moves is being implemented. 
  • Pain management techniques
    Heat therapy, cold therapy using ice packs, and gentle massage provide temporary relief from discomfort. In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or topical creams to manage pain.
  • Supportive devices
    Pregnancy support belt is one of the most popular choice for pregnant mothers. It is designed to distribute the weight of the uterus more evenly and provide added support to pelvic area. Assistive devices such as crutches, walkers, or maternity pillows help to reduce strain on the pelvis and facilitate mobility, too.
  • Alternative therapies
    Practices such as acupuncture or prenatal yoga offer relief from pubic bone pain and promote relaxation. Chiropractic care is also one of the go-to solution to improve pelvic alignments and reduce pain.

Pubic bone pain during pregnancy can be a challenging and uncomfortable experience. However, with the right knowledge and support, it is manageable. Self-care practices and relaxation helps to navigate pubic bone pain during pregnancy, too. It is essential for those experiencing pubic bone pain to seek support from healthcare providers and explore various treatment options tailored to their needs. 


Prevention of Pubic Bone Pain in Pregnancy

While it may not be possible to prevent pubic bone pain entirely during pregnancy, there are steps that pregnant ladies can take to reduce the risk of developing SPD:

  • Maintain good posture
    Practicing proper posture, especially when sitting or standing for long periods, helps distribute weight evenly and reduces strain on the pelvis.
  • Exercise regularly
    Engaging in low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, or prenatal yoga strengthens the muscles supporting the pelvis and promotes flexibility.
  • Use proper body mechanics
    When lifting objects or getting in and out of bed, it is essential to use proper body mechanics to avoid putting undue stress on the pelvis.
  • Wear supportive footwear
    Choosing supportive shoes with cushioning and adequate arch support can help maintain proper alignment and reduce strain on the pelvis.

Diagnosing pubic bone pain during pregnancy involves a thorough evaluation by a healthcare provider, typically an obstetrician or physical therapist. The healthcare provider will inquire about symptoms, medical history, and any recent trauma or activities that may have aggravate the pain. Physical examinations, including pelvic assessments and mobility tests, may also be conducted to assess the severity of the condition. In some cases, imaging studies such as X-rays or ultrasound are used to rule out other potential causes of pelvic pain.