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Symphysis Pubis Separation During Vaginal Delivery With Epidural Anesthesia
  1. Ross Musumeci, M.D.* and
  2. Evelyn Villa, M.D.
  1. *From the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Beth Israel Hospital, and the
  2. Department of Obstetric Anesthesia, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, and Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
  1. Reprint requests: Ross Musumeci, M.D., Department of Anes-thesia, New England Deaconess Hospital, 185 Pilgrim Road, Boston, MA 02215.


Background and Objectives Peripartum pubic separation (diastasis pubis) is an uncommon event with a reported incidence varying between one in 521 to one in 30,000 deliveries. The injury is caused by the fetal head exerting pressure on pelvic ligaments that have been weakened or relaxed by the hormones progesterone and relaxin. Diastasis pubis has been previously reported in both obstetric and orthopedic literature. However, the authors have been unable to locate any discussion of this condition in the anesthetic literature. Historically, symphyseal separation has been frequently unrecognized. The authors present the case of a nulliparous woman who suffered a diastasis pubis during assisted vaginal delivery under epidural anesthesia

Methods Epidural catheter placement and administration of medications were performed using standard techniques described.

Results The patient had an episode of breakthrough pain during labor despite adequate epidural analgesia and experienced postoperative pubic and thigh pain secondary to pubic separation.

Conclusions Diastasis pubis is an uncommon injury that should be considered when evaluating patients in the peripartum period who are experiencing suprapubic, sacroiliac, or thigh pain.

  • diastasis pubis
  • pubic separation
  • epidural anesthesia
  • postpartum complications
  • pubic pain
  • suprapubic pain
  • breakthrough pain

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  • Study performed at the labor and delivery unit of Baystate Medical Center, Springfield Massachusetts.