Pregnancy can bring about several common discomforts, and round ligament pain is one of the most common complaints that pregnant women report. It is most common during the second trimester, and there are several things you can try to alleviate some of the pain and discomfort associated with it.
Why Does the Round Ligament Cause Pain?
There are several thick ligaments that support and help to carry your abdomen during pregnancy, and one of these is known as the round ligament. It connects your groin to the front part of the womb. During pregnancy this round ligament grows and stretches to accommodate your growing abdomen. This can cause strain on the ligament, resulting in several symptoms of round ligament pain.
- Sudden spasms of pain, usually on the right side of your lower abdomen, that only lasts for a few seconds
- Pain during or after exercise
- Pain in this lower abdominal region as a result of sudden movements, including those caused by sneezing, coughing, changing positions too quickly, and even laughing
What Can I Do About Round Ligament Pain?
Round ligament pain is a common occurrence during pregnancy, but you can try several approaches to help alleviate some of the worst symptoms and episodes of pain.
- Practice regular, gentle exercises that help to keep your core stomach muscles strong. Before you start any new exercise routine, check with your healthcare provider first. Sometimes a routine of gentle yoga stretches can help to keep your round ligament strong and relaxed. One of the most effective exercises for round ligament pain during pregnancy involves putting your hands and knees on the floor, lowering your head, and stretching your bottom out into the air. This helps to gently stretch the ligament without putting pressure on it.
- Remain conscious of your body movements and avoid sudden changes in positions. When you move to sit up or lie down, make sure that you do so slowly and purposefully. Any sudden movements can be like your round ligament snapping like a rubber band, which is why you feel the pain from things such as sneezing.
- Try using warm compresses in the area that is most affected by round ligament pain. Extreme heat, such as that provided by a heating pad, can be dangerous to your baby so it is important to just use warmth and not heat in treating round ligament pain.
- Talk with your doctor about over the counter pain relief in the form of acetaminophen if you are experiencing severe round ligament pain.
- Try adjusting your daily routines and resting when possible to alleviate the pressure on your expanding abdomen.
When Should I Worry about Round Ligament Pain?
Even if the symptoms you are experiencing sound exactly like round ligament pain, make sure that you discuss this with your healthcare provider, especially before you attempt any kind of over the counter pain medication or exercise routine for pain relief. It is important to remember that typical round ligament pain is not constant or long lasting for each episode. Contact your healthcare provider right away if you experience any of these other symptoms or changes in symptoms that you originally thought were due to round ligament pain.
- Long-lasting pain that can’t be relieved with warmth or the changing of positions
- Pain that is severe and debilitating
- Pain that is accompanied by difficulty urinating
- Pain that results in difficulty walking
There are other conditions that can be related to your pregnancy and those that are separate, which can cause symptoms similar to round ligament pain and that could need to be ruled out by your healthcare provider.
- A hernia
- An appendicitis
- An infections of the kidneys, liver, or stomach
- Placenta abruption
- Preterm labor
If the pain you experience does not subside after a few minutes, or is accompanied by bleeding, cramping, nausea, vomiting, or a change in your vaginal discharge, contact your healthcare provider immediately.