Round Ligament Pain
Round Ligament Pain: Causes and Treatment
Round ligament pain is most common during the second trimester. 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.
What causes round ligament pain?
The round ligament supports the uterus and stretches during pregnancy. It connects the front portion of the uterus to the groin. These ligaments contract and relax muscles, but much more slowly.
Any movement (including going from a sitting to standing position quickly, laughing, or coughing) that stretches these ligaments by making them contract quickly, can cause a woman to experience pain. Round ligament pain should only last for a few seconds.
What can be done to treat round ligament pain?
Rest is one of the best ways to help with this kind of pain. Changing positions slowly allows the ligaments to stretch more gradually and can help alleviate any pain.
If you know that you are going to sneeze, cough, or laugh you can bend and flex your hips, which can reduce the pull on the ligaments.
If you are having consistent round ligament pain, your health care provider may recommend daily stretching exercises. The most common exercise is done by placing your hands and knees on the floor, lowering your head to the floor, and keeping your bottom in the air.
When should I call my healthcare provider?
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 health care provider if the pain is accompanied by any bleeding, cramping, fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, or changes in vaginal discharge.
Last updated: September 20, 2017 at 14:19 pm
Compiled using information from the following sources:
Round Ligament Pain during Pregnancy
What are Round Ligaments?
Round ligaments are ligaments that surround and support the uterus of women. They connect the front portion of the uterus to the groin. Round ligaments contract and relax like muscles, but a bit more slowly. As the uterus grows to accommodate the growing fetus, the ligaments also stretch out and thicken to be able to accommodate and support the uterus.
What is the Pregnancy Condition Called Round Ligament Pain?
The stretching and thickening of the round ligaments may cause pain, which can be felt in one side or both sides of the pregnant woman’s belly; although, in nearly all cases, it is usually noticeable in the right side. This is because the uterus has a normal tendency to turn to the right. This pregnancy condition can be felt as early as 14 weeks during the pregnancy, but is usually experienced by mothers during the second trimester.
Round ligament pain is characterized by short jabbing sensation or a sharp stabbing pain felt when a pregnant woman suddenly changes position. This is usually felt when a pregnant woman gets out of a bed or evacuate a seat or a chair, when coughing, when rolling over the bed, or when standing up and leaving the bathtub. It can also be felt like a dull ache following an active day, such as when walking a lot or doing some physical activities. Other movements that can cause round ligament pain are laughing or coughing which result in the contraction of ligaments quickly.
Round ligament pain begins at the groin area and moves upward and outward on either side to the top of the pregnant woman’s hips. The pain is felt internally and lasts for only a few seconds. However, it can be traced on one’s skin and it follows the bikini line that matches a high-cut bikini or bathing suit.
What can be done to Relieve Round Ligament Pain?
Once a healthcare provider reassures that the pain felt originates from round ligaments, a pregnant woman should apply the following measures to relieve round ligament pain:
- Take a sit and try to relax when the pain starts to settle in. Resting in a comfortable place and position should ease the pain.
- Another way to ease the pain is by flexing one’s knees towards one’s abdomen to get rid of the pain.
- Lying down on one’s side with a pillow placed under one’s belly and another between the legs can also help relieve round ligament pain.
- Taking a warm bath can also help.
- If round ligament pain is felt during active days, try reducing* activities to see if it helps reduce* the pain. When the pain is gone and one feels better, she can then slowly increase* the activity until the comfortable level of exertion is found.
- Moving cautiously and slowly, especially when lying or sitting down, can also prevent round ligament pain. This allows the muscles ample time to adjust and sustain before changing position.
- Tilt one’s pelvis towards the back by slouching ones back before standing up.
- A support belt or an elastic tubular bandage designed especially for pregnancy could help reduce* the pain. The support belt works by taking a few of the weight off the abdominal muscles. Consult a physiotherapist or a midwife about using one.
- Kick up one’s feet and relax.
- If the round ligament pain felt is consistent, the pregnant woman may be advised by the healthcare provider to engage in daily stretching exercises. One example of a stretching exercise for round ligament pain is by putting one’s hands and knees on the floor, lowering one’s head to the floor, and keeping one’s pelvic area in the air.
When is it Necessary to Call a Healthcare Provider?
The condition, round ligament pain, is a common discomfort felt during pregnancy. However, the pain felt should not last longer than a few seconds. In cases that they last longer, it is important to immediately report the pain to a healthcare provider. Furthermore, reporting may also be necessary when persistent pain is still experienced even after resting or employing relief measures. More so, if the pain is accompanied by:
- More than four contractions in an hour, or contractions that do not end.
- A feeling that the fetus is pushing down, or a feeling that there is an increased pressure in the pelvic area.
- Vaginal bleeding, change in the amount and type of vaginal discharge, or spotting
- Fever, faintness, nausea and vomiting, or chills
- Burning sensation and pain when urinating
Are there any other Causes of Pain?
This is because abdominal pain can also be a sign of several obstetrical problems, such as preterm labor, placental abruption, severe preeclampsia, or a medical problem not related to pregnancy, like appendicitis or urine infection. If a pregnant woman is uncertain of the nature of the pain, it is best to see a healthcare provider to undergo some tests. A negative result may rule out serious medical or obstetrical problems.
Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy
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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.
Here is what you need to know about round ligament pain, including some tips to help you feel better.
Causes of Round Ligament Pain
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.
Symptoms of Round Ligament Pain
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 th e right side, but it may happen on both sides. The pain only lasts a few seconds.
Exercise may cause the pain, as will rapid movements such as:
Treatment of Round Ligament Pain
Here are some tips that may help reduce your discomfort:
Pain relief. Take over-the-counter acetaminophen for pain, if necessary. Ask your doctor if this is OK.
Exercise. Get plenty of exercise to keep your stomach (core) muscles strong. Doing stretching exercises or prenatal yoga can be helpful. Ask your doctor which exercises are safe for you and your baby.
A 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.
Apply warmth. A heating pad or warm bath may be helpful. Ask your doctor 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.
When to Call the Doctor
Always tell your doctor about any type of pain you have during pregnancy. Round ligament pain is quick and doesn’t last long.
Call your health care provider immediately if you have:
- severe pain
- pain that lasts for more than a few minutes
- pain on urination
- difficulty walking
Belly pain during pregnancy can be due to many different causes. It is important for your doctor to rule out more serious conditions, including pregnancy complications such as placenta abruption or non-pregnancy illnesses such as:
Preterm labor pains may sometimes be mistaken for round ligament pain.
American Pregnancy Association web site: “Round Ligament Pain.”
Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health web site: “Pregnancy: Body Changes and Discomforts.”
Ratcliffe, S. Family Medicine Obstetrics, 3rd edition, Elsevier Mosby, 2008.
Ferri, F, Ferri’s Clinical Advisor 2013, 1st edition, Mosby Elsevier, 2012.
Marx, J. Rosen’s Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice, 7th edition, Mosby Elsevier, 2009.
Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy
Several women get affected by round ligament pain during pregnancy especially in the second trimester. It comes in the form of sharp pain felt in the abdomen or in the hips.
In some cases the pain could extend all the way to the groin area. Although it is a bothersome symptom, it is a normal one.
The purpose of the round ligament is to support the uterus. In order to make room for the baby it needs to stretch during pregnancy.
What causes the pain?
The round ligament can be found between the groin and the uterus. The ligaments work like muscles, contracting and relaxing. Any movement that makes these ligaments contract could result in pain.
The good news is that this kind of pain should last only for a few seconds.If you are affected by round ligament pain while being pregnant, the best thing you could do is to rest.
Also it is a good idea to change positions slowly, so that the ligaments will have to contract more gradually. If you feel like you will sneeze, cough or laugh, it is best to bend over to reduce the pressure on the ligaments.
If you have problems of this kind, it is possible that your health care provider will suggest you some stretching exercises. The most common exercise is to put your knees and hands on the floor and keep your bottom in the air.
If you feel pregnancy round ligament pain even after you rested for a while, you should call your health care provider. In case the pain lasts for several minutes, you should seek medical care immediately.
Your doctor should also know if you notice any bleeding, fever, cramping, chills, vomiting, nausea or any kind of change of the vaginal discharge.