Pelvis (overview)

The pelvis refers to the human body part that is located between the lumbar region of the abdomen superiorly and the thighs inferiorly. It is a complex structure that is composed of a bony frame called the bony pelvis and the pelvic cavity that contains various internal organs, nerves, blood vessels, and other structures. The inferior aspect of the pelvis is limited by the pelvic floor and the perineum.

The term pelvis can be used to describe also exclusively the pelvic skeleton. As mentioned, the bony pelvis forms the bony frame of the pelvis, and it is embedded in the lower part of the trunk. Moreover, the pelvic skeleton connects the axial skeleton to the free lower extremities. 

Please note that in this article, we will review the structure and characteristics of the bony pelvis.


Functions of pelvis

The pelvic skeleton is very strong and rigid and is adapted to serve many different functions in the human body. It not only carries upper body weight but also transfers it to the lower limbs. It is vital during motion. The pelvis provides structural support and stability during movements, including walking, standing, and running.

The pelvis serves as an attachment site for numerous ligaments and muscles, including such muscle groups as the pelvic girdle muscles, muscles of the anterolateral abdominal wall, muscles of the posterior abdominal wall, muscles of the lower limb, and deep and superficial back muscles.

The pelvic cavity houses various important internal organs and anatomical structures. Therefore, the bony pelvis protects the pelvic and abdominopelvic structures. Moreover, the pelvis also has a role in carrying a child. It forms a natural childbirth canal as the neonate during labor passes through the canal, which is found within the pelvic girdle.


Note: To find out more about the role and changes affecting the pelvis during pregnancy and delivery, visit our study unit covering topics of obstetric anatomy!