Pregnancy can be full of its share of discomforts, from heartburn to a squashed bladder to that sweet little baby kicking you in the ribs. But one of the most surprising discomforts a woman may experience during pregnancy is round ligament pain.
What is Round Ligament Pain?
You have two round ligaments that hold your uterus in its right place in the pelvis. Imagine them as two little ropes (about a quarter of an inch thick), tethering your uterus in place. Normally, your ligaments are thick and strong. But when your uterus grows during pregnancy, your round ligaments must stretch out considerably to continue supporting the uterus’s exponential growth.
According to the Mayo Clinic, these ligaments can sometimes interact with nerve fibers or other parts of your pelvis, causing pain. You’ll feel this very sharp pain in your lower abdomen, usually on the right side though it can happen on the left side as well. While this pain is usually short-lived, like a spasm, for some women it can last for up to five minutes. Other women will feel tenderness or soreness in their lower abdomen following round ligament pain.
What Causes the Pain?
Sudden movements often trigger round ligament pain. These kinds of movements can include:
- Turning over in bed
- Moving your body from one place to another (for example, getting up out of bed, out of a chair, or out of your car)
For some women, these pains reoccur until delivery. While they may not be completely avoidable, there are some steps you can take to reduce their frequency:
- Be more gradual in your movements. Try to avoid sudden, sharp movements.
- Reduce the strain on your round ligament by making sure to sit or lie down several times a day.
- If it’s socially acceptable when the pain hits, try getting down on your hands and knees. This position may help take pressure off the round ligament and temporarily relieve the pain.
The good news is that round ligament pain, no matter how irritating it can be during pregnancy, will certainly go away after the birth of your baby.
If you’re unsure about what kinds of pains you’re experiencing, or if the pains are accompanied by other symptoms, always, always, always call your gynecologist or midwife.
At All About Women, our skilled maternity team want to ensure your safety and peace of mind. We’re here for women in Gainesville, Lake City, and the surrounding areas in Alachua and Columbia counties with pregnancy resources and skilled pregnancy care.