3 Signs your Pelvis is Still Birthing
Your pelvis may still be trying to birth your baby! In my women’s health physical therapy practice I have discovered a very common pattern that a woman’s pelvis goes into to give birth. I’ve seen it in most every woman I’ve worked on who comes into my clinic. Only a hand full of women have not presented with this pattern. There is a certain way the pelvis opens up to help the baby get out.
This pattern can get stuck in a women’s pelvis, sometimes for years. I first discovered this in my aunt who had a very traumatic birth with her first son who was 47 at the time. For 47 years, her pelvis had been in an open birthing position. One would think that the bones of the pelvis just go right back into place after the baby comes out. In some women it does. In others, which I’m finding is more and more common, it doesn’t. The one thing I know that is keeping the pelvis from going back to its normal position is trauma!
Trauma can keep the pelvis stuck in the birthing position. Until the trauma is released and the body and pelvis know it’s safe then the pelvis can’t come back together to its normal position. Trauma can be experienced at any time during the birthing process but most typically it occurs during the pushing phase when the pelvis is already open and ready to let the baby out.
Anytime a woman gets to the point where she wants to quit, doesn’t feel she can go on, feels out of control, or maybe gets threatened with a c-section a trauma response can happen in the body.
A typical trauma response in the body is to fight or flight the situation. Since a birthing woman can’t do either of these two it does the only thing it can, which is to freeze. This freezing happens while the pelvis is in an opened, birthing position. Until the trauma is released the body tends to hold onto this pattern.
I can see how a woman may not recognize this trauma or that her pelvis is still birthing. After opening up so wide to get the baby out, all sense of normalcy, what it felt like before birth, is gone. There is no ground zero in your body once it’s birthed a baby. Also seeing and holding your baby in your arms for the first time is enough to distract anyone from what they’ve just gone through. The reward of being with your baby seems to outweigh or override any negative feelings felt during the birthing process.
But I do know that women can feel a difference in their body after the pelvis has been helped back into its pre-pregnancy state. You must address both the physical position of the pelvis along with releasing any held emotions and trauma in the tissues.
There are 3 signs that I’ve discovered that are clues that your pelvis is still birthing. Let’s see if you have any of them.
#1. Your Pelvis is Tilted
The first way to check if your pelvis is still in a birthing pattern is when you lay down on your back on a hard surface (a soft bed will not show you this tilt), check out how level your hip bones are, those little bumps on either side of your pelvis. Are they even? Or do you notice that your right side ilium, or hip bone, is higher (toward the ceiling) than the left?
The typical birthing pattern is the right side will be higher than the left. When lying down on your back the pelvis will be tilted to the left as seen in this picture.
Pelvic tilting in common birth pattern
The reason for this is the sacrum gets jammed up and over to the right during the birth process.
Here is a normal posterior view of a sacrum prior to birth:
Normal position of sacrum
This is how the sacrum shifts to the right for birth:
Sacrum shifted to the right
This shifting of the sacrum to the right is also why so many women have right-sided low back pain after childbirth. The sacroiliac joint gets jammed and the sacrum can’t move as freely as it should which is my theory of why the pain is created. Getting the sacrum back into proper place alleviates the pain.
There is a two-step process I do to help mobilize the sacrum back into midline again. I haven’t figured out how to help women do this on their own yet! Stay tuned…
#2. Sitting Unevenly or Uncomfortably
For the baby to be able to come out of the pelvis the sits bones or ischiums need to splay out to the side. Ideally, they splay out evenly. But depending on the baby’s pathway through the pelvis or the birthing position used, one ischium may be more splayed out to the side. Birthing in a side-lying position can limit the mobility of the lower side pelvis (on the bed) and cause more movement in the upper side (ceiling side). Birthing on your back with two separate people holding your legs at different angles can also potentially cause an imbalance in your pelvis.
If the pelvis remains in this birthing position, sitting may seem different. It can feel uneven, or awkward. This is not from swelling or tenderness in your perineum, as that can cause discomfort and or pain. If you don’t have pain but sitting still feels weird, it’s because your bones are in a different position than before your birth.
#3. Feeling Ungrounded or Discombobulated
One of the things I ask the moms that I find with birthing pelvis’ is “What are you feeling in your body and in your life?” The most common reply is “ungrounded, not myself or discombobulated”
When we realize the pelvis is our energetic foundation for our body and life, when it is open and unbalanced we don’t have a solid foundation. One client felt like energetically she was walking around with her energy just flowing out full blast, like both faucets handles turned on and water spilling out with no container to hold it. When you can’t hold and contain your energy within you, it can feel a little unsettling. Most new moms may attribute this to figuring out how to care for a newborn, not that she has no energetic container.
So if you find you have one, two or all of these signs you now know what’s going on. Your pelvis is stuck in a birthing position and needs help coming back together. I haven’t figured out a way to help you fix this yourself yet, so finding a Birth Healing Specialist is your best bet to help your pelvis come back to its normal position after birth. You can find a practitioner near you here!