Arguably one of the most painful musculoskeletal secondary conditions of pregnancy, pubic symphysis pain - or “lighting crotch” as it is often aptly called - can range from a slight twinge when you cross your legs the wrong way to an intense pain that makes getting out of bed difficult or impossible.
Aside from being extremely painful, pubic symphysis pain is something you want to get under control as soon as possible because it can potentially affect your birth plan.
We’ve heard stories of people who were planning a water birth and found themselves unable to get into the tub during labor because of their pubic symphysis pain. While having a backup plan is always recommended, no one wants something like this to keep them from the birth they planned and anticipated.
Let’s talk about what it is, how we address it, and some things you can do to help prevent it.
-What it is-
Let’s talk pelvic anatomy for a second. (Are you recognizing a theme to our blog posts? Anatomy. Anatomy. Anatomy.)
As you may know by now, the bones of the pelvis form a symmetric oval shape. Nestled within this oval is your uterus and the ligaments that anchor it to the bones of the pelvis.
If you’ve experienced pubic symphysis pain, you know that it occurs at the joint at the front of your pelvis - the bony area about a hand’s length down from your belly button.
This is where the large bones of your pelvis join together in the front of your body.
As your body produces more of the hormone relaxin throughout your pregnancy, this joint can become slightly less stable. This, combined with the stress of supporting a growing baby can make that joint more prone to shifting from it’s normal orientation ever-so-slightly - and even the slightest of shifts can cause immense pain in this particular joint.
-How we address it-
The first step is to conduct a thorough health history and structural examination in order to determine the location, degree, and severity of structural shift occurring throughout your spine and pelvis. Next we discuss with you things you may be doing that might be contributing to this shift in your daily life (more on this in the next section). Lastly, we perform a series of gentle adjustments to return your spine and pelvis to their normal alignment - coupled with neurologically-based exercises to remind your spine and pelvis how to maintain this normal orientation on their own.
These adjustments are very gentle and safe during and after pregnancy.
-How you can help prevent it-
Practicing proper posture is always a great health recommendation, but it becomes extra important during pregnancy due to all the changes that occur to your spine and pelvis.
For example, avoid sitting with your legs crossed or with one foot under you. Use caution when performing lunge-type exercises. Consider switching from high heels or wedges to flats.
Small changes like these can have a huge impact on your quality of life when dealing with pubic symphysis pain.
If you’re concerned about pain that you’re experiencing during or after pregnancy, give us a call and schedule your complimentary consultation to help determine what your next steps should be.