The joy of pregnancy can unfortunately be decreased in women who suffer from coccyx pain (tailbone pain). Some women have tailbone pain before becoming pregnant. Others experience new onset of tailbone pain during pregnancy, or during childbirth (labor and delivery). Occasionally, the baby passing through the birth canal may cause an injury such as a coccyx sprain (sprained tailbone), a coccyx dislocation (dislocated tailbone), a coccyx bruise (bruised tailbone), and even a coccyx fracture (fractured tailbone, "broken tailbone", chipped tailbone, "cracked tailbone"). Women suffering with tailbone pain are understandably concerned that their symptoms may worsen while pregnant or during childbirth. This article gives some basic information for women facing these concerns.
Difficulty: Moderately Difficult
Things You'll Need
An obstetrician and/or midwife, or other childbirth professional
A woman who already has tailbone pain prior to becoming pregnant should consider completing any testing or treatments for this condition prior to becoming pregnant. One reason for taking care of this prior to the start of pregnancy is that some tests and treatments for tailbone pain can not be safely performed during the pregnancy.
A woman should inform her obstetrician (and any involved midwife or other childbirth professional) if she has any has a history of previous tailbone injury or any symptoms of tailbone pain, aching, soreness or discomfort.
Similarly, if any of these symptoms develop or worsen during the pregnancy, it is wise to keep the health care team informed of this.
Note that many medical radiology tests such as x-rays and CT scans (CAT scans) are typically avoided during pregnancy since they would cause radiation exposure to the baby (embryo, fetus).
Be careful about the medications that you take for tailbone pain. Pregnant women should avoid taking NSAIDs (“nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs" such as ibuprofen, Motrin, Advil, naproxen, Aleve, aspirin, Bufferin, etc.) unless your doctor tells you to. Follow the same advice for stronger pain medicines containing any opioid (narcotic) substance (such as Percocet, Darvocet, OxyContin, oxycodone, morphine, etc.). These medications can sometimes cause problems with the baby or with delivery. Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be allowable. Discuss these choices carefully with your healthcare professional.
Consider using seat cushions that put less pressure on the coccyx. These include wedge cushions (which have a triangle wedge-shape cut out so that the coccyx does not contact the cushion there) and donut cushions (which have a hole in the center). For details, please see my other eHow article on “How to Choose a Coccyx Cushion.”
Avoid sitting on surfaces that worsen the tailbone pain (e.g. hard surfaces versus soft surfaces). Also, avoid prolonged sitting. Find the sitting position that is most comfortable for you.
Consider ways to decrease pain without medications, such as soothing baths, local icing, or relaxation techniques.
The pregnant woman may wish to consider planning to deliver the child by cesarean section, rather than having a vaginal delivery through the birth canal. Obviously, this needs to be discussed with the obstetrician and/or midwife to reach some understanding, to have a mutually agreed-upon plan, as well as a backup plan if necessary. Important factors could include the severity of the tailbone pain, the nature of any underlying tailbone injury, any history of tailbone difficulties during previous deliveries, and the size of the baby (fetus) relative to the size of the woman's pelvis.
If tailbone pain persists after pregnancy, it is important to inform the health care provider and consider finding an appropriate specialist to evaluate and treat this. Ideally, the evaluation and treatment should be done before the condition sets in and becomes chronic. Also, it would be best to have the evaluation and treatment completed prior to any subsequent pregnancy.
Overall Tips & Warnings
For more information on Tailbone pain, please see Dr. Foye’s other TailboneDoctor articles on eHow, or go to www.TailboneDoctor.com and www.Tailbone.info
WARNING: Coccyx pain can sometimes be due to very serious underlying medical conditions: seek in-person evaluation by a medical professional.
WARNING: This information is intended to be educational and is NOT to be considered as medical advice. This information is NOT a substitute for direct medical care from a physician who evaluates you in person.
WARNING: During pregnancy it is important that any medical symptoms, concerns or treatments should be carefully discussed in-person with an obstetrician or other professional healthcare provider. This is important for the safety of both the mother and the baby.
WARNING: Many physicians and other health providers have little or no experience in evaluating or treating tailbone pain or coccyx injuries. Seek medical attention from a specialist with experience in treating tailbone pain.
Disclaimer: This web site is for general informational purposes only.
The information should not be considered as medical advice.
The information is not a substitute for appropriate in-person care by a physician with expertise in evaluating and treating tailbone pain. This website is not meant to represent official views of any university, medical school, hospital, etc.
Effective July 2013:
New Jersey Medical School is part of Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.