The Symphysis pubis is a joint at the front of the two large pelvic bones. The bones are separated by a small oval disc of cartilage about 3 - 4 cms long and are held together by ligaments. The symphysis joint is like a hard bump under the pubic hair and just above the woman's clitoris.
Image 1-12 shows the female pelvis and the Symphysis pubis joint.
The pregnancy hormones progesterone and relaxin soften and relax the symphysis ligaments. This allows the pelvis to become a lot more 'elastic' so that the pelvic bones have the ability to stretch and open more easily to make way for the birth of your baby. It can also cause pain at the joint if the pelvic bones move. This is usually more common for women having their second or subsequent baby.
Symphysis pubis pain can range form being an annoying twinge to a debilitating pain. The discomfort is usually felt low, in the middle at the front, just below the pubic hairline. Some women will experience pain or discomfort in the Symphysis during their pregnancy, in labour and / or after the birth (if the symphysis joint is very loosened). This can be felt as an ache, sharp pain, 'clicking' sensation or a shooting pain into the clitoris. Often movement will aggravate it and sometimes the position of the baby will affect the level of discomfort, especially if the baby's head is engaged.
For women having their second or subsequent pregnancy (and the sibling is a toddler), try to avoid lifting and carrying them as much as possible. The movements involved when lifting and the continued carrying can cause, or inflame, pain in the Symphysis Pubis. If you need to pick up or carry your toddler, be aware of your posture. You can look at correct lifting and posture techniques in backache during pregnancy.