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What is Round Ligament Pain?

During the second trimester,  some women experience a new pregnancy symptom:  pain in their lower abdomens, most noticeable during exertion.  This is sometimes referred to as round ligament pain.

What Are Round Ligaments?

The round ligaments are the bands of tough fibrous tissue that support your muscles and organs.  They expand and grow to help support your uterus as it gets bigger. As these ligaments stretch, some women find it painful and are concerned. Most doctors and midwives will reassure you that these  pains are a normal part of pregnancy.

During the third trimester this pain can increase as your uterus grows even bigger and the ligaments have to stretch more to support the weight of the baby, amniotic fluid, placenta and extra blood that your body is carrying in your belly. There are things you can do to reduce the discomfort.

How to Ease the Pain

  • Rest – Especially after extensive exercise.
  • Change Positions – If you are sitting when the pain sets in, try standing. If standing already, try bending or stretching.
  • Walking – Walking around after experiencing a ligament pain can also help.
  • Heat – Applying a heating pad on low can also make a difference. A warm bath or shower can have the same effect. Just be careful to not to over do it. Excessive heat is not healthy to your pregnancy and things like hot tubs or extremely hot water should be avoided.
  • Medication – If the pain is so great that you are losing a lot of sleep you may ask your doctor or midwife if Tylenol can be safely taken to reduce the discomfort.
  • Rubbing – Good old fashioned rubbing. We all tend to rub an area we are feeling discomfort in whether dealing with ligament pain or not. Rubbing the tender area can actually help in this case.

Be Sure It’s Not Something More Serious

Round Ligament pain should get better with time and come in spurts. If instead the discomfort you are experiencing only gets worse and worse, this could be a sign of something more serious. Common things that can at first appear to be ligament pain can actually be:

  • Appendicitis – The pain experienced by appendicitis will originate from your lower right abdomen and is typically followed by fever, nausea, and vomiting. Appendicitis is reported in 1 out of 2000 women and should not be taken lightly. If you suspect you have appendicitis seek medical attention immediately.
  • Kidney Stones – If blood turns up in your urine after experiencing abdominal pain you could be passing a kidney stone.
  • Ovarian Cysts or an ectopic pregnancy could be the cause of sharp abdominal pains, but this is more common in the first trimester.

Some women are concerned because they don’t have symptoms of round ligament pain, or they don’t seem to suffer from it as much as other women. Not every woman will experience a large amount of pain. Generally, in a first pregnancy, the pain won’t start as early or be as severe as it is in a woman’s second, third and subsequent pregnancies. This is normal and to be expected.

After you deliver the baby, remember that your body has “memory” so after your pregnancy is over, and as your belly shrinks and your body returns to normal, these round ligaments will return to their former, pre-pregnancy shape and size. This shrinking may also cause some pain, but it shouldn’t be as severe as when the ligaments originally stretched to make room for your baby.

What methods helped you deal with the discomfort of Round Ligament Pain?

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45 Responses to “What is Round Ligament Pain?”


  1. What Is Round Ligament Pain? « Dad In Training
  2. Round Ligament Pain, Symptoms and Treatment | Pregnancy | Babies Online The Blog
  3. Cramping in Early Pregnancy | Early Pregnancy | Baby, Pregnancy, and Parenting at Babies Online

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