There are two round ligaments that are connected to a woman’s uterus. These ligaments connect the front of the uterus to the groin area. These ligaments start at the horns of the uterus, stretching through the inguinal area down to the groin where it mixes with tissues of the mons pubis. They look like rubber bands stretching out from the uterus. While pregnant these ligaments become stretched. This stretching of the ligaments can cause some pain and discomfort. Between 10-30 percent of all pregnant women experience round ligament pain.
Round ligament pain usually happens during the second trimester. Primarily the pain is segregated to just the right side. Though you can have pain on the left side or both. The pain from round ligament pain is a very sharp, spasm in the lower abdomen. It can feel like an intense quick onset period cramp but the pain should only last a few seconds. The pain can be intense enough to make you stop what you are doing or cause you to catch your breath. Usually the pain will subside on its own in a few seconds.
There are lots of things that can cause these quick pains. Mostly the round ligament pains are caused by sudden movements. Such as exercise, sneezing, coughing, laughing, rolling over in bed, or standing up too quickly. There are some things that can help alleviate some of the pain. If it isn’t too terrible the pain will pass within moments if you can stand it. If you can’t stand it you can try laying down on your side and pulling your knees up towards your chest, this will help alleviate the stretching of the ligaments. If the pain happens while you are laying down or sitting you can try changing positions to help take the pressure off the ligaments. Another thing to try to do is prenatal exercises. Try prenatal stretching keeping your core strong will help. You can also apply warmth or heat if they get too bad, but speak with your doctor first before doing this, getting your body too hot can be harmful to your baby. A warm bath or a heating pad can alleviate the pain as long as your doctor states that it is OK. Wearing a belly band can help support your growing baby bump. If you are feeling achy after having a very active day and dealing with lots of ligament pain you can take a Tylenol if your doctor has said that’s OK.
Talk with your doctor if you experience these ligament pains. Letting them know that you are experiencing these round ligament pains will help them to keep track of the pain. If the pain changes to more severe or it lasts longer than a few minutes you will want to call your doctor. Along with the pain if you experience fever, chills, pain to urinate, or difficulty walking you will need to talk with your doctor too. Assuming that pains that have any of these other symptoms along with them are just ligament pains can cause you to misdiagnose some series problems. You can mistake ligament pains for inguinal hernias, appendicitis, stomach, liver or kidney problems, or even preterm labor.
Round ligament pains are common and are nothing to be worried about. Make sure you speak with your doctor at one of your OB appointments to make sure that there is nothing too serious going on. There is no cure for these pains, just things to make you feel more at ease when they happen. Make sure to not exercise too much but to do some prenatal stretching to keep your core muscles strong. Eventually your ligaments will stretch out enough that you no longer will feel pain during the pregnancy. Take Tylenol if needed and make sure you don’t overexert yourself. Like most pregnancy symptoms this too will go away. If you have any concerns or worries that the pain could be something else make sure you speak with your doctor immediately.
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