What Causes Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy And How To Get Relief

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You will probably get to see that beautiful bump in your second trimester! And while you are in the midst of all the love and care and people doting over you, your ligaments and joints are bearing the weight of your pregnancy. The bump exerts pressure on the joints and ligaments, leading to joint pains, back pain, and much more.

Round ligament pain is one such problem, which you are likely to face as your pregnancy progresses. MomJunction helps you learn about the pain, and how you can manage the pain and discomfort.

What Is Round Ligament Pain?

Round ligament pain is a crampy or sharp or Jabbing pain felt on one or both sides of the lower belly or groin region.

You may usually feel this pain when you are changing positions such as getting up or lying down, laughing, coughing, or sneezing. The pain lasts for several minutes to hours and is common in the second trimester as the weight of the baby will be significant enough to pull and stretch the round ligaments. You do not experience the pain until then as the uterus remains in its standard size up to the eighth week.

The reasons for the pain result from the growing uterus, but they are not as simple as that.

What Causes Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy?

Though round ligament pain is common during pregnancy, you must know why that occurs:

  1. The round ligament supports and surrounds the uterus. As your baby grows, the supporting ligaments stretch and thin out to support the baby’s increasing weight. These changes cause throbbing pain or a dull ache in the lower abdomen.
  1. The blood volume increases during pregnancy so as to nurture the growing baby. The increasing blood flow is another cause for pain.
  1. Excessive stress on your body while walking or doing any exercises also causes a dull pain.

But among the myriad pains that your body will have during pregnancy, how can you identify the round ligament pain?

Symptoms Of Round Ligament Pain

The pain is uncomfortable and is accompanied by these symptoms:

  • Experiencing more than four contractions an hour, or sometimes a never-ending contraction
  • Extreme pain in the lower back, or increasing pressure in the pelvic region
  • Spotting or bleeding and abnormal vaginal discharge
  • Pain or burning sensation while urinating
  • Fever, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting
  • Difficulty when walking

If you are having a few or all of these symptoms, then it indicates a ligament pain, and you need to act on it.

Treatment For Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy

If your pain is severe or persists for a long time, your doctor may recommend acetominophen (Tylenol).

He would advise you to alter your daily activity plan and avoid activities or positions which can worsen the pain.

Treatment is given for severe or chronic pain. Along with it, you need to take a few measures at home.

How To Relieve Round Ligament Pain?

If you have been diagnosed with a round ligament pain, try to stay calm and relax whenever the pain strikes. You could try the following to get some relief:

  1. Avoid sudden movements: Move slowly when switching positions (from sitting or lying) which may otherwise lead to stretching, causing pain. Moving slowly will make your muscles and ligaments adapt and support the position changes.
  1. Exercise: Do mild exercises regularly to keep your tummy muscles active. Stretching exercises as well as and prenatal yoga would help. However, you cannot exercise when the pain is on.
  1. Flex your hip: Flex your hips when you are about to laugh, cough, or sneeze to avoid ligament pull.
  1. Use warm compress: Use a hot water bath or heating pad to help relieve the pain. Avoid too much heat as it can harm the baby. You can also relax in a warm water bath.

Exercises For Round Ligament Pain

As mentioned above, you should indulge in regular exercises to relieve the pain and discomfort. Here we have given a few exercises that you may try:

1. Gentle stretches

Keep both your knees and hands on the floor and lower your head towards them. Stretch your back in the opposite direction, which would stretch the muscles. You will get relief when you stretch the back and abdominal muscles.

2. Pelvic rock

While you are still in the above position, perform this exercise. Raise your lower back by tightening the abdominal muscles. Let your head hang down loosely, and remain in this pose for five seconds. Repeat.

Pelvic rock
Image: IStock

3. Pelvic tilt

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat. Now breathe in deeply and tighten your abdominal muscles. While still holding your breath and abdominal muscles, push your back more towards the floor. Remain in this position for five counts and exhale.

Pelvic tilt
Image: Shutterstock

When To Call The Health Care Provider?

Mild ligament pain can be managed at home. But in some situations you will need immediate medical assistance:

  • In normal cases, the pain remains only for a few seconds and goes away if you take proper rest. But if the pain persists (more than a few minutes) or is increasing and becoming severe, you should consult a doctor immediately.
  • If the pain persists even for a few seconds, but every day, you must talk to your doctor.

Can You Prevent Round Ligament Pain In Pregnancy?

It is not easy to avoid this pain, but you can ease it. It is important for you to know the triggers for the discomfort. However, remember that the pain will go away in the third trimester.

Can You Wear Maternity Belt For Round Ligament Pain?

Yes, a maternity belt supports the bump, and relieves the pain. However, it cannot cure the underlying conditions for the pain. You can choose to buy the belt that has a single strap, which is secured with hooks or velcro, and good for the first and second trimesters. Also, larger and wider belts with more back support secured in front by velcro and adjustable straps are good to use during the third trimester.

Can You Wear Maternity Belt For Round Ligament Pain
Image: Shutterstock

Whichever belt you choose, use it for a limited number of hours instead of a complete day. You should also check with your doctor before getting one. Remember, belt is only a temporary help.

Round ligament pain can be severe, but as long as it is occasional and you are not facing any other problem along with the abdominal pain, you don’t have to worry but don’t neglect it either.

Have you experienced any of such joint or back pains in your pregnancy, do share your story with us.

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