Round Ligament Pain
What Is Round Ligament Pain?
During pregnancy, one of the most common parts of the body where pain is felt is in the abdominal area. Most of the time, it’s the result of round ligament pain. To become more familiar with what your round ligaments are, think of their role as of holding or supporting your uterus. Although painful, especially during the first and second trimesters, it happens because of the normal changes that are occurring within your body as your body transforms. The first time a pregnant mother experiences this pain, it can be very scary. It’s characterized as a sharp pain that forms or radiates in the abdominal, hip or groin area, and although it’s most common on the right side, the pain can be felt on either side as your round ligaments stretch or spasm. Though it’s important to seek medical attention if you deem necessary, round ligament pain should not create a cause for concern, and usually goes away by the third trimester or as the pregnancy progresses.
What Causes Round Ligament Pain?
Although scary, it’s important to remember that your body is changing rapidly as it adapts to the growth of the baby. As your baby grows, your body transforms, especially within your pelvic area, and more specifically your uterus. Your uterus is supported by very thick ligaments, one which is called a round ligament. As your uterus grows in size and weight, the ligaments begin to act as a rubber band, becoming long, thin, stretchy and tense. More importantly, the pain is due to the round ligament hitting nerve fibers and sensitive structures near and around your uterus. Exercising can be the culprit for this pain, as you stretch and work your muscles.
When Do You Seek Medical Care?
Now, even though you may feel something is seriously wrong with either you or your baby, generally this is not the case. You do need to be aware of other symptoms though, as these symptoms coupled with the round ligament pain can be a sign of a very serious problem. Symptoms to watch for are:
- Painful Urination
- Difficulty Walking
If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s probably a great time to call the doctor or head over to the emergency room. Also, if you’re just not sure, and feel the pain is due to something other than round ligament pain, seek medical attention immediately. Other issues such as ovarian cysts, appendicitis, abnormal growths in your abdominal area and cramps below your digestive track (usually around your colon) can trigger alarms in your body and cause pain similar to round ligament pain. So, if you’re just not sure, then seeking medical attention is best.
Treating Round Ligament Pain at Home
Just like with menstrual cycles, round ligament pain can be treated through the use of heat. Using a heating pad or cloth, or simply taking a hot bath can help to reduce the amount of pain that is being caused. If your pain is due to a position you’re sitting or lying in, try switching sides or changing positions. Also, try decreasing the amount of movements, heavy lifting or activities you do during the day. Avoiding sudden movements can help to decrease the amount of spasms. And remember, talking with your health care provider first, can reassure you that everything is fine and that the pain is due to round ligament pain.