Pubic symphysis

The pubic symphysis is a secondary cartilaginous joint (a joint made of hyaline cartilage and fibrocartilage) located between the left and right pubic bones near the midline of the body. More specifically, it is located above any external genitalia and in front of the bladder.

The pubic symphysis can be found above the penis in males and above the vulva in females. In males, the joint connects to the ligament of the penis. In females, the joint is located near the clitoris. In women, the area where the pubic bones connect creates the opening through which a baby passes during birth.

The pubic symphysis is covered by hyaline cartilage and united by a disc of fibrocartilage. The fibrocartilage disc is then reinforced by ligaments, which are bound to the disc itself, and tendons from the obliquus externus, rectus abdominis, and gracilis.

Normally, the joint can be moved up to two millimeters and with a one degree of rotation. This flexibility changes during childbirth. During pregnancy and birth, the ligaments around the pubic symphysis become flexible, so that the child may pass through without difficulty or complications.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Pubic symphysis

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