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Doula Digest: Sympathy for the Pubis

By Naomi Starsiak

Here’s the thing about pregnancy, it changes your body and puts all kind of pressure on systems that may not be ready to handle it. I’ve had so many clients ask about, “pain… um, kind of in the groin but not really, maybe more of a low abdominal area?” This is the pubic/pelvic region and the pain that’s happening most likely is coming from the symphysis pubis.

The bones of your pelvis make up a rough circle, with the tailbone in the back, the hip bones on the sides, and the pubic bone in front – only the pubic isn’t one bone but two. These two bones are held together by a little bit of cartilage called the symphysis pubis. During pregnancy, the body will produce Relaxin, a hormone which relaxes the joints and ligaments of the body. This loosening of the joints and the weight of the uterus can cause the two pubic bones to pull apart, which causes pain.


There is a lot that can be done to help lessen the pain: a chiropractor who has studied the Webster technique can give adjustments which help to keep the pelvis stable; belly bands, which are lengths of stretchy fabric with velcro ends, can be wrapped at hip level to help keep the two pubic bones together; and there are several yoga poses that can take pressure off of the pubis and strengthen the pelvic muscles.


While there is no way to predict which women will end up with a painful pubis, every pregnant mom can benefit from pelvic strengthening and chiropractic adjustments. So give your pubis a little sympathy and help it out, it has an important load to carry.


Naomi Starsiak is a birth and postpartum doula, a placenta encapsulator, a natural birth consultant, and the co-owner of A Peaceful Birth doula & childbirth service. You can find her on Facebook at Have a question? E-mail it to Naomi at


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