Round Ligament Pain

Dealing with round ligament pain in pregnancy

Aches and pains are common during pregnancy, as you gain weight and your body grows and expands to accommodate the fetus. In addition to lower back pain, round ligament pain is among the most common types of discomfort pregnant women experience.

Abdominal pain in pregnancy can be alarming, but round ligament pain is nothing to worry about. Discomfort in your round ligament is more likely to occur during the second trimester of pregnancy. It is usually localized to one side of your abdomen or your hip, but it can occur on both sides simultaneously and can sometimes extend down into your groin area. Usually, round ligament pain in pregnancy only lasts for a few seconds at a time, and it typically flares up when you make sudden movements or perform an action that causes your abdominal muscles to contract, such as laughing, coughing or sneezing. However, it can become chronic, resulting in a condition known as round ligament syndrome.

The Cause of Round Ligament Pain in Pregnancy

Your round ligament encircles your uterus, and when you become pregnant, your uterus expands. This puts some added strain on the ligament, but since its contractions are usually slow, you won't notice any pain. However, when you do something that causes your round ligament to contract quickly-like twist or turn suddenly, cough, sneeze or laugh hard-the ligament contracts quickly and you will experience a few seconds of shooting pain.

Treating Your Round Ligament Pain

The most common treatment for round ligament pain is to rest. Ease yourself into a different position and just relax for a few minutes if it flares up. This will usually be enough to calm the pain down. You can also do some simple stretches to help strengthen the ligament and prevent painful contractions. The most common stretch is to get on the floor on your hands and knees, lower your head to the floor and keep your posterior elevated while contracting your stomach muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds, then release and repeat it up to 10 times.

If your pain seems unusually severe, occurs constantly or does not go away with rest or stretching, consult your healthcare provider. In severe cases, this pain may occur in tandem with more serious symptoms like bleeding, cramping, chills, nausea, vomiting, fever and vaginal discharge. Seek immediate medical attention if this happens to you.