Pregnancy can cause lots of aches and pains. One of the most common complaints is round ligament pain.
What is the cause?
Your uterus, or womb, is attached to the inside of your pelvis by connections called ligaments. Two of these, the round ligaments, are on the right and left sides of your uterus. When you are not pregnant these ligaments help support your uterus and keep it in place. As your uterus grows during pregnancy, the ligaments are stretched and pulled in many directions. This can cause lower belly pain or discomfort.
What are the symptoms?
Round ligament pain is usually described as a constant or aching pain that travels from inside the belly down into the groin. You may feel it on just one side or on both sides. The feeling can be very uncomfortable. It may be hard to know if you are having signs of labor.
How is it diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your symptoms, activities, and medical history.
How is it treated?
You will need to change or stop doing the activities that cause pain. Most women who have pain from the round ligaments find that activities, such as walking, make the pain worse. They find that the pain gets better when they rest.
If you have round ligament pain to the point that you are uncomfortable, getting off your feet and lying on your side may give you some relief. Avoid lying flat on your back. To get the best relief, you may need to use pillows to help support your belly, back, or legs.
Sometimes it may help to take acetaminophen and put a heating pad on a low setting on your belly for a short time.
What should I watch out for?
Discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider at your next prenatal visit. If your symptoms get worse, or do not get better after you follow the above recommendations, call your healthcare provider.
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Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth. Last modified: 2015-01-14 Last reviewed: 2014-12-08
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Round Ligament Pain in Pregnancy: References
Kanakaris, N. K., Roberts, C. S., & Giannoudis, P. V. (2011). Pregnancy-related pelvic girdle pain: an update. BMC medicine, 9(1), 15.