What is Round Ligament Pain?

Round ligament pain plagues a fairly large number of pregnant people, if the complaints we hear in our office are any indication. The round ligaments are normally small bands that connect your uterus to other pelvic structures, and during pregnancy, they stretch and grow right along with the uterus. This stretching creates a perfect environment for these ligaments to cramp – thus causing the much-bemoaned round ligament pain. As miserable as it can be, round ligament pain is quite normal.

People often describe round ligament pain as a sudden intense cramp on one or both sides of the uterus, or even in the groin, and it usually comes and goes fairly quickly. The pain can be quite sharp, or can be mild or dull. It can happen just once or twice during a pregnancy, several times a day, or not at all. It most often occurs after a change in position, such as rolling over in bed or getting in and out of a car, or a sudden movement, such as a cough or sneeze.

So what can you do about it? Some people have success with the following:

  • heating pad or warm rice bag held to the area
  • applying support with hand during a cough or sneeze
  • taking a warm bath
  • gentle stretching daily, such as with prenatal yoga
  • wearing a support belt, such as these
  • massage therapy
  • chiropractic care (ask us for a referral to one who works with our pregnant clients)

While round ligament pain is completely normal, make sure to notify your maternity healthcare provider if you experience any of the following:

  • intense cramping that feels like menstrual cramps
  • regular contraction activity
  • dull back ache
  • severe pain
  • fever or chills
  • vaginal bleeding

As with any of the other normal aches and pains of pregnancy, we welcome you to discuss your round ligament pain with us at your next visit so that we can help you find a way to manage your symptoms.