When Pregnancy Becomes a Literal Pain in the ButtKatie Loeb
In one of my physiology classes we discussed some of the changes that happen when a woman becomes pregnant. One of the things that totally blew my mind was that women secrete a hormone throughout pregnancy, called relaxin, that basically loosens all the joints. The end goal of the hormone is to allow the hips to widen enough for a baby to pass through the pelvic ring, but it can’t target that one joint so other things can loosen too.
I hadn’t really thought much about physiology since getting pregnant. My mind has been more focused on not puking, when I can take a nap and where I can get my next chocolate fix. You know, the important stuff.
But a few weeks ago after sitting in class for a few hours I started having a weird pain. Basically, my butt hurt. Not like my intestines or anything internal organ-wise, or even baby related, actually. It felt like there was a nail coming from inside my back and poking into the chair, which is not a pleasant feeling, to say the least. I readjusted several times and found a sitting position that was slightly less uncomfortable and stayed that way for the rest of the 4 hour class.
Since that afternoon, I have had that pain pretty much every single day. It’s worst when I’m sitting, especially if I’m in a hard chair and am sitting with good posture. But it’s started to hurt when I’m standing and walking now too, which really stinks.
I’m pretty fortunate in that I work in a clinic that has a women’s health specialist and even though I was pretty sure I knew what my problem was, I consulted with the expert. She agreed with my hypothesis that it is most likely my coccyx, which is the small pointy bone at the end of your spine. Basically it’s your tailbone.
She said that many pregnant women have trouble with their coccyx because of that hormone and that I’m right on schedule with this pain. Which was probably supposed to be comforting, but butt pain doesn’t respond all that well to comforting statements, it turns out.
She explained to me that there are a couple of ways that this can be handled, and trust me, you don’t want to know about the, uh, invasive ones. It involves having other people’s hands in places that are relatively off limits, at least to me. But she gave me a few non-invasive suggestions that might be able to help some of the pain, or at least make it a little more manageable for the next 5+ months.
She told me that I need to do kegels (you know, the ones that we’re all supposed to do but ultimately don’t because we’re in denial that we need them). The muscles you activate with kegels apparently attach to your tailbone and can stabilize it, so really, it’s an easy exercise that gets two body parts in one fell swoop. She also said I should sit on a donut, but currently my pain not as great as my pride, so uh, I’m going to try a regular pillow first. And finally she said to get up and move around often, which is what I’ve been doing most days out of sheer necessity.
I know that none of these are guarantees and I’m still going to chat with my doctor about it at my next appointment, but for now, hopefully these will be a jump start to getting things back in line and keeping them there. Because seriously, I’m not sure I can do 5+ more months of this.
I’m seriously ready for pregnancy to be less of a pain in my butt.