We all heard my tailbone crack during childbirth

Anonymous, Australia

Original posting, 2002-08-25:

On 2nd August 2001 I gave birth to my first child. His delivery was considered 'normal', but at one stage we all heard a 'crack' (my poor tailbone!). As soon as I went to sit afterwards, I had excruciating pain in the tailbone region. Being a first time mother, and not really knowing how 'sore' one should feel after childbirth, I just put up with it best I could. Days passed and the pain was just as bad, so I mentioned it to my midwife and she said I cracked or dislocated my tailbone during the delivery and it may take a few weeks to come right.

It is now a year later and although the pain is now not as intense as at first, it is still a constant pain. During the past year I have had physiotherapy, ultrasound and acupuncture treatment, none of which has made much difference. Anti-inflammatory medication helps. To make things a bit more challenging, I had my appendix out in January and after that surgery had to lie on my back for a few weeks, making the tailbone pain worse. I find the pain worsens when sitting, leaning back while sitting, lying on my back and after exercise (or housework!).

I have seen an orthopaedic surgeon and he recommends cortisone injections (x-ray looked normal). This apparently cannot be done while breastfeeding so I am waiting until my son is weaned (we are nearly there!). If that doesn't work, I'm not sure what I will do - removal sounds drastic to me. I have spoken to someone who said having another baby put their pain to rest. This is in our plans, however it is the thought of the pain becoming worse again or the tailbone breaking again during delivery which is currently putting me off having another child. Many have said I should opt for caesarean next time.

Update, 2003-08-03:

Am still experiencing pain from my tailbone, particularly when sitting or after sitting for long periods of time. Since my first posting I have also received treatment from a Bowen Therapist and a chiropractor. The first made no real difference, the latter made it worse. I am finding that the only thing helping is time, and being careful with what I do and how I sit. I am now pregnant with my second child. I am very apprehensive about giving birth again. I would love to hear from anyone who has any advice, if they have had a similar experience, or have had a child following a tailbone injury.

Update, 2004-01-25:

GOOD NEWS!!! I had my baby on January 11th. We had a little girl and she weighed 7 lb 10 oz. AND I am pleased to report that I had another natural birth and this time did no damage to my tailbone at all!!!! I am so relieved as you can imagine. The pregnancy caused me a lot of lower back pain and at times made my tailbone very sore, however in the last 6 weeks or so the pain eased as I think the baby turned to a better position. I was very nervous through the labour, but am now very glad that I didn't have a c-section as a lot of people had suggested this was the way to go. The labour was longer (11 hours as opposed to 9) than my first and I am sure the contractions were more painful and intense (unless my memory is playing games!), but it turned out she was more difficult to deliver as she was born with waters unbroken and her hand/arm up on her head, resulting in a more difficult journey through the birth canal and a few stitches for me (ouch!). I wondered at the time how on earth such a birth could not have done some damage, or at least aggravated the tailbone, but in fact I can honestly say that since the delivery my tailbone has been feeling fine.

I am enjoying life so much more than I did after my son's birth and I can't believe the difference being able to sit makes!

I know that if my tailbone had been damaged again I would be quite depressed right now, so am grateful that everything turned out well for me after 2 years of pain following the birth of my first child. The only thing I can advise that I did differently was make sure that I remained upright through the entire labour and delivered in a kneeling position - last time I was flat on my back for most of it which apparently is the worst way to be.

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