Managing Round Ligament Pain

Experiencing abdominal pain during pregnancy can be scary and uncomfortable, but some types of abdominal pain are perfectly normal, such as in the round ligament. This uncomfortable sensation usually occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy, on one or both sides of the abdomen. In this article you will learn more about what causes round ligament pain and how to manage it.

The Round Ligaments: What are they?

The round ligaments are two 10-12 centimeter long bands of elastic tissues on either side of the womb. They connect the womb to the groin and hold it in place. During healthy pregnancy, the round ligaments can stretch from 2 inches, the length before pregnancy, to as much as 12 inches!

What causes Round Ligament Pain during pregnancy?

Round ligament pain is a normal part of pregnancy brought on by the womb expanding throughout gestation. During pregnancy, the body produces hormones that allow ligaments such as the round ligaments to stretch in order to account for growth that comes as a result of the baby developing. When you move suddenly, it can make the round ligament quickly tighten. This phenomenon is what causes the sharp, shooting pain in your lower abdomen/groin. The round ligaments can also spasm during rest due to natural growth.

How to know if you are experiencing Round Ligament Pain

Round ligament pain is typically characterized by a sharp, stabbing pain in one or both sides of the abdomen. It is most likely to occur during the second trimester of pregnancy, and can happen repeatedly in bursts lasting several seconds.

Things to keep in mind when identifying Round Ligament Pain

  • Although most common in the second trimester, RLP can occur earlier or later in pregnancy. Round Ligament pain is most common during the second trimester (weeks 14 – 27) due to rapid growth of the womb, but is not exclusive to this time frame.
  • Sudden movement worsens the pain. Sudden or sharp movements stretch the round ligament and cause pain. Examples of such movements include coughing, sneezing, laughing, etc.
  • Pain occurs in the lower abdomen and groin. The round ligaments connect the womb, which is in the lower abdomen, to the groin. Pain caused by these ligaments tightening is thus experienced in these areas.

Reducing Round Ligament Pain

Round Ligament Pain is not always possible to entirely avoid, as your round ligaments have to stretch to allow for you womb to expand as your baby grows. However, taking action to reduce the strain on your round ligaments and help alleviate discomfort.

Tips for alleviating pain

  • Posture – Bad posture during pregnancy is common due to the shift in center of gravity and new weight added to your body. This can cause your pelvis to angle forward and exasperate the stress on your round ligaments.
  • Exercise – Staying active is an excellent way to alleviate RLP. Here are some ways to do so:
    • Strengthen your core – keeping your core muscles strong helps you stop leaning back and takes strain off of your round ligaments.
    • Stretch – stretching your hips and doing prenatal yoga is also beneficial to decreasing the load on your round ligaments and easing discomfort.
  • Avoiding painful movements and positions
    • Sudden movements such as coughing and sneezing, among others, aggravate can bring on pain. When you feel like you are going to cough, sneeze, or laugh, leaning forward and putting your hands on your bump can minimize pain.
    • Avoid moving between positions too quickly. When transitioning between positions, like going from sitting to standing, being slow can help prevent stretching your round ligaments too fast, causing spasming
    • Placing a pillow between your legs can help reduce strain on the round ligaments.
    • Avoiding any strenuous activity, especially ones that you notice to bring on pain, will minimize the symptoms of LBP.
  • Pain relief medication – If necessary, Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter that can aid pain relief.
For advice on round ligament pain and more, contact one of our experts.
Sources: is round ligament pain,common and normal during pregnancy.