Round Ligament Pain

By: Orit Cox

Round ligament pain can be a scary thing the first time you experience it. It is characterized by sharp pain that radiates in the abdominal, hip or groin area. This pain can can be on one side or both sides. Though it can be alarming, as it is quite sharp, round ligament pain should not create cause for concern.

This type of pelvic pain is caused by stretching or spasm in the round ligaments. The round ligament's role is to help support the uterus. During pregnancy, the expansion of the uterus is enormous. This places a great deal of strain on the round ligaments as well as other uterine ligaments. As your uterus grows these ligaments can become over stretched or spasm, causing sudden sharp pelvic pain.

Pregnant women often worry that this acute pain indicates a severe problem. Your mind races fearing that something is wrong with the baby, or that you have appendicitis or some other serious condition. Generally, this is not the case.

Do be alert, however, if you are having fever, chills, painful urination, difficulty walking, or bleeding. These symptoms could indicate a more serious condition.

Round ligament pain is generally brief in duration, causing fast, sharp twinges that are short-lived. These pains may be recurring, but the duration of the pain is short. Sudden movements such as coughing, sneezing or laughing activate these muscles and can be painful.

Changing positions too quickly can also result in these sharp, shooting pains. This type of pain frequently occurs in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy.

If you are suffering with round ligament pain, you may be able to get relief by bringing your knees up toward your chest. This will take some of the strain off of your over-stretched and spasming ligaments. If that does not provide relief, try lying on the side opposite the pain. You may also find it comforting to take a warm bath, or apply warm compresses to the painful area.

Try not to sit or stand for extended periods of time. Staying in one position for too long may aggravate the pain or allow it to occur more frequently. It is important to move more slowly. When you are changing to a sitting position, sit down slowly and gradually. The same is true for when you are rising from a sitting position, get up slowly. This will help decrease spasms and pain. Slowing down your movements will allow your body more time to transition comfortably.

If you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, or if you are going to laugh, try to bring your knees up toward your chest a little bit. This could help prevent the pain from beginning.

It is not unusual for round ligament pain to be problematic until your baby is born. In rare cases, round ligament pain may ease on its own. While it is certainly a discomfort, it is not a permanent condition. Once your baby is born, this pain should disappear completely.

It may be helpful to use gentle fascial stretching pregnancy pain relief techniques.

Performing regular exercise and stretching can be valuable in keeping your body loose and more comfortable. Prenatal yoga is an excellent exercise for pregnancy that will help to gently stretch your body and may prevent a variety of pains.

Use of a pregnancy pillow may help take the strain off of your ligaments at night. If you do not have a pregnancy pillow, try placing a pillow between your knees and under your belly for extra support. These small things may go a long way for alleviating discomfort.

The use of a pregnancy support belt may also be helpful.

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Orit Cox is a Holistic Health Practitioner and massage therapist in San Diego, CA and content writer for, an information resource for pregnancy and mothers. Orit is also the author of The Pregnancy Pain Guide, featured at, where you can discover easy-to-implement techniques to relieve pregnancy pain.

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