We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Pelvic Girdle?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The pelvic girdle is an anatomical structure which connects the spine to the legs. It is often referred to as the “pelvis” or “pelvic bone,” although in fact several bones are part of this structure, not just one. Notably, the pelvic girdle in men and women looks very different, because the female pelvis is designed to accommodate pregnancy and delivery of a baby. The human pelvis in general is quite distinctive, because it supports upright walking, and this requires special adaptations which are not seen in other animals.

The key bones in the pelvis are the two hip bones, which connect to the sacrum in the back of the pelvis and the pubic symphysis in the front. In childhood, the hip bones are comprised of several sections which gradually fuse together, creating solid bones in late adolescence. The male pelvis tends to be narrower, allowing the femurs to fall straight down from the pelvic girdle, while women have a larger pelvis, which causes the femurs to splay slightly to the sides.

A network of ligaments connects the various components of the pelvic girdle to anchor it in place and provide support to the spine and legs, in addition to creating articulation for the hips so that people can bend and flex them. The space inside the pelvis creates a hollow which protects the reproductive organs and some of the lower abdominal organs. In fact, when viewed from above, this structure strongly resembles a bowl in shape.

In pregnancy, some of the hormones produced by the body soften the joints in the pelvic girdle. This is designed to make it easier for it to expand slightly to accommodate a pregnancy, and to ease the labor and delivery process. As a result of the softened joints, the bones in the pelvis can shift and move during pregnancy, instead of remaining firmly anchored in place, and as a result some women feel unsteady on their feet or experience strange sensations in the pelvis during pregnancy.

After pregnancy, the joints will gradually firm up again, but while a woman is pregnant, she may experience what is known as pelvic girdle pain, and her gait also changes as a result of the moving pelvic bones. The change in gait is also caused by the redistribution of weight across the woman's body, and the weight gain which typically occurs during pregnancy.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By lovealot — On Jun 21, 2011

Wow! I was just thinking how much the pelvic girdle had to change by evolution before species could stand up and walk. And there must have been a lot of failed births until the female body evolved to the point where everything worked right for the pregnancy and the birth was successful.

I can't imagine how much trial and error went on in the evolution of hormones. Hormones produced during pregnancy signal the joints in the pelvic girdle to loosen up.

By Monika — On Jun 21, 2011

@ceilingcat - Weird pains is right! Of all the changes that go on in the body during pregnancy I had no idea the pelvic joints actually softened. I didn't think the human skeleton went through that many changes after adulthood but I guess I was wrong.

By ceilingcat — On Jun 21, 2011

One of my friends is pregnant and she's been complaining of weird pains "in her bones" and feeling a little unsteady. I guess the softening of the pelvic girdle bones explains why. Her bones are probably moving and shifting all over the place!

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.