Round Ligament Pain is a sharp pain or jabbing feeling often felt in the lower belly or groin area on one or both sides. It is one of the most common complaints during pregnancy and is considered a normal part of pregnancy. It is most often felt during the second trimester of pregnancy.
During pregnancy, your uterus expands from about the size of an apple to the size of a watermelon. Several thick ligaments surround and support your womb (uterus) as it grows during pregnancy. One of them is called the round ligament. The round ligament connects the front part of the womb to your groin, the area where your legs attach to your pelvis. The round ligament normally tightens and relaxes slowly.
As your baby and womb grow, the round ligament stretches. That makes it more likely to become strained. Sudden movements can cause the ligament to tighten quickly, like a rubber band snapping. This causes a sudden and quick jabbing feeling.
Round ligament pain can be concerning and uncomfortable, but it is considered normal as your body changes during pregnancy.
The symptoms of round ligament pain include a sharp, sudden spasm in the belly. It usually affects the right side, but it may happen on both sides. The pain only lasts a few seconds. Women may have a sharp pain in their abdomen or hip area that is either on one side or both. Some women even report pain that extends into the groin area. Round ligament pain is considered a normal part of pregnancy as your body goes through many different changes.
Exercise may cause the pain, as will rapid movements such as:
- Rolling over in bed
- Standing up too quickly
Here are some tips that may help reduce your discomfort:
You can take over-the-counter acetaminophen for pain, if necessary. Ask your healthcare provider if this is OK.
Get plenty of exercise to keep your stomach and core muscles strong. Doing stretching exercises or prenatal yoga can be helpful. Ask your healthcare provider which exercises are safe for you and your baby. One helpful exercise involves putting your hands and knees on the floor, lowering your head, and pushing your backside into the air.
Avoid sudden movements
Change positions slowly such as standing up or sitting down to avoid sudden movements that may cause stretching and pain.
Flex your hips
Bend and flex your hips before you cough, sneeze, or laugh to avoid pulling on the ligaments.
A heating pad or warm bath may be helpful. Ask your healthcare provider if this is OK. Extreme heat can be dangerous to the baby. You should try to modify your daily activity level and avoid positions that may worsen the condition.
If the pain persists after resting, or it is accompanied by severe pain, you would want to notify your healthcare provider. If the pain lasts for more than a few minutes, you should contact your healthcare provider immediately.
You would also want to notify your healthcare provider if the pain is accompanied by any bleeding, cramping, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or changes in vaginal charges.
Thankfully, you can help relieve and prevent round ligament pain. Start by modifying your activities to decrease the frequency and intensity of the ligament stretching. Move a little slower than usual and try not to rise quickly from the bed or chairs. Avoid sudden movements. Using a maternity belt or abdominal support garment, soaking in the tub, or getting into a swimming pool can also help by lightening the load.