Round ligament pain during pregnancy is one of the most common health concern for many pregnant women. When does this pain start, what causes it and how to deal with it, we will know from this article.
Pregnancy brings along lots of unexpected changes in a woman’s body. As the body undergoes different hormonal changes, there are many unwanted pregnancy symptoms that an expecting mother goes through. And one such pregnancy symptom is round ligament pain which most women experience during their pregnancy. Round ligament pain is an abdominal pain or discomfort caused due to stretching of round ligaments attached to the uterus.
It is a sharp, cramping, long-lasting ache that often starts in the lower abdomen region and radiates to the groin. The pain usually starts from the second trimester and happens as there is a change in position or movement like standing up from a sitting position, getting out or rolling over in bed, sneezing, coughing, laughing, etc.
What Causes Round Ligament Pain
Normally the uterus is of the size of an apple or pear, but as a woman conceives the uterus grows, and expands in size and weight. Round ligaments are basically thick ligaments that hold the uterus in place in the abdomen. Now as the pregnancy progresses, there is an increase in the size of the uterus, as a result, the surrounding ligaments or the round ligaments stretch and become longer and thinner in order to support the growing fetus. These ligaments pull and tug which irritate the nerve fibers which result in occasional pain on one or both sides of the abdomen.
The pain usually last for a few seconds or minutes and starts from deep inside the groin, then moving upward and outward on either side of the hips. Besides this lower abdominal pain during pregnancy, many pregnant women also experience ligament spasm and contractions that further trigger the pain, especially, on the right side of the abdomen.
Dealing with Round Ligament Pain
Round ligament pain during early pregnancy is often mistaken for other medical conditions like appendicitis (inflammation of appendix), ovarian cysts or some intestinal or bowel movement problem. Hence, the foremost step in the treatment is to diagnose the actual cause for the abdominal pain. Hence, consult your doctor to ascertain the cause for this abdominal pain during pregnancy.
Once you are assured that you are experiencing round ligament pain, sit down and try to relax as the pain strikes. Then reflex your knees to the abdomen or lie down on your side with a pillow below your stomach for some support and keep another pillow between your legs. This will help in relieving the pain and discomfort.
Move slowly and avoid any jerky or fast movements as this will aggravate the ligament contraction which can increase the pain. Apply a warm compress or pad on the sore ligaments as this will help loosening the stiff and tight ligaments. You can also consider taking a warm bath.
While sneezing, coughing, etc. bend and flex your hips as this will put less strain on your ligaments. However, if these remedies don’t help, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) to reduce the severity of any persistent groin pain during pregnancy. But before taking this medication do consult your doctor or midwife in order to avoid any unexpected pregnancy complications.
Consider seeking immediate medical attention, in case, the ligament pain during pregnancy is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, chills, pain while urinating, or difficulty in walking. This is because round ligament pain could also be a symptom of urinary tract infection (UTI).
However, practicing prenatal yoga and some pregnancy exercises and stretches can prevent round ligament pain during pregnancy. Also ensure that you drink enough water and include adequate amounts of calcium and magnesium in your diet as this will help you to have a safe and healthy pregnancy.