Toward the end of your pregnancy, you may feel pain in the area below your belly, just above your pubic hair. You may have "pubic symphysis separation." Although it won't affect your baby's health, it can be quite painful.
Your pelvis is a bone that encircles the lower abdomen and almost meets in the middle in the front. The gap between the two edges of the front of the pelvis is bridged by a flexible cartilage called the pubic symphysis (PS). The PS stretches like a rubber band so the pelvis can move and expand to make room for your baby. In rare cases the PS expands so much that it actually separates, which is what causes pain. A woman whose PS separates often has trouble walking, especially going up stairs.
Rest, heat, and wearing a maternity belt (a stretchy belt worn around the lower part of the belly for support) can sometimes offer relief. If the pain is very bad, your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist.
Be patient. This pain will go away within a few weeks of your baby's birth as the PS moves back into its prepregnancy position.
Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.
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