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Pregnancy: Pubic Symphysis Pain or Pubic Bone Pain

Hi. There are a few reasons why you might be having pubic bone pain during pregnancy. So this is a pelvis here, and where the two pubic bones come together they join at this pubic symphysis, which is simply just a thick piece of cartilage that holds two sides of the pelvis together but that is a joint. And as you go through your pregnancy you’re gonna experience a certain amount of separation in the pelvis. So typically at this joint alone we see about five to seven millimeters of separation, and that’s normal. However, if you get continual shearing, that can cause inflammation in the joint, strain in the joint, and it can become very painful.

So, also there’s gonna be times during your pregnancy where you experience more laxity in the joints than others, so there might be times that you’re stretching more, and those times might also…you might have to limit your activity during those times. If you are still training, doing plyometrics and jumping, or you’re still running pretty long distances, and then you have times where you get pain, this is very normal and you would just wanna back down and do whatever modifications you have to do in order to not experience pain in this joint. Pretty much it’s not like no pain no gain. Here you just…you wanna avoid pubic bone pain, or pubic symphysis pain at really all the time, because chronic inflammation here can cause problems down the road.

And so my suggestion is to try and do some stretches around the pelvis to really decrease the strain on that joint, and then also loosen up the muscles. So the one stretch I’m gonna give you right now should only be conducted if this is not painful on the actual pubic bone. So my suggestion is to support the baby, so you’re lifting up your belly, taking pressure off of the pubic bone. And you’re gonna put your hands on a counter or this is a chair, but on a counter, and you’re just gonna reach your butt back to the wall behind you, and then you’re gonna shift to one side, stretching the inner thigh.

Your hands are supported in order to support the baby, support the back, and you wanna feel a nice inner thigh stretch. If this is painful at the pubic bone you do not wanna do this, and so I just recommend doing like a gentle little stretch holding 30-60 seconds. Again, don’t do it if you’re having pain at the pubic bone because that means it’s pulling too much. And then you should probably see a physical therapist to help loosen up the right muscles in order to decrease the pain that you’re experiencing at the pubic symphysis.

So the other note is that you wanna adapt some of the activities that you’re doing. So again like I said, decrease the rate at which whatever activity is irritating it, whether that’s running six miles, maybe try to just do four. And if you’re still having symptoms at that point, you wanna keep backing down till you’re completely asymptomatic. And if even long walks are bothering you, you want to find an activity that is not gonna bother or irritate the pubic symphysis.

And the final thing, one way that people really flare up the pubic symphysis is just to simply…the way that they get into a car. So you wanna engage the baby, engage the ab muscles. So you pull the baby in, you’re gonna sit down in your car and then you’re gonna try and keep your legs together and swing your feet into the car. And you’re gonna do this when getting in the car and getting out of the car, and this is gonna help decrease the stress and strain on that pubic symphysis. Okay, good luck.


Allison Feldt

Body Motion Physical Therapy

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