ROUND LIGAMENT PAIN IN PREGNANCY

What Are The Symptoms Of Pain From The Round Ligaments?

It can be quite common, especially during the second trimester of pregnancy, to experience a deep, sharp or jabbing feeling in the lower belly or groin area.

It is usually brought on with movements such as sneezing, coughing, getting up, rolling over in bed, or taking a step.

The pain can either travel upwards, or downwards from the hips to the groin. It can also become a dull, lingering ache if it has been overworked.

What Is The Round Ligament?

A ligament is fibrous connective tissue connecting bones to other bones or, in this instance, maintaining the position of internal organs. There are several ligaments which support and hold the uterus in place.

The two round ligaments connect the front part of your uterus to your groin.

They grow and stretch during pregnancy.

What Can I do about the pain; how can I make it better?

Keeping your tummy, hips and bottom muscles strong: the right exercises at the right time can help support the ligaments as your baby grows.  Check out our Instagram @health2mama  or our youtube for indepth videos of the exercises that can help.

In addition to exercises try the following:

  • activity modification e.g. change positions slowly (such as rolling over in bed or getting up)
  • holding or supporting your tummy if you cough or sneeze, and/or flex slightly at the hips and knees
  • a heating pad or warm bath might help – but not too hot! Extreme heat can be dangerous for the baby
  • self-massage or partner-assisted massage
  • walking; especially if you can incorporate some deep diaphragmatic breathing as it offloads the ligaments
  • different taping techniques from a physio
  • bump-support belt

How Can Physiotherapy Help?

If you’re experiencing round ligament pain, or any discomfort during your pregnancy, physiotherapy is there to help!

A prenatal physio will be able to assess and determine what the cause of your pain is. This is very important as some conditions like round ligament pain can be mistaken for others or vice versa. They will take a thorough history of your condition and will check your posture and movements including looking at your spine, hips, pelvis, rib cage and breathing to check for any issues.

Your physio will then come up with an individualised treatment plan, which may include:

  • Hands on treatment which when done correctly, can be very effective at relieving pain.
  • An exercise program to be followed at home, which will help address the issues with strength or flexibility that will be contributing to your pain.
  • If appropriate, different taping techniques or prescribe a bump belt support.
  • One of the key parts of your treatment plan will be the advice and education

During the Covid-19 isolation period we are available to conduct online consultations to help you, giving education and advice, as well as demonstrating and/or correcting all the exercises which might help bring relief.  Please do not hesitate to contact us to get help.

When Should I Be Concerned About Pain?

If you are experiencing abdominal pain in pregnancy there are times when we advise you to get checked by your doctor.

  • If the pain continues after resting
  • If along with the pain you also experience:
    • More than 4 contractions in an hour or a contraction that keeps going
    • Lower back pain
    • Feeling of pressure in the pelvic area
    • Bleeding vaginally or change in type or amount of discharge
    • Fever
    • Feeling faint
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Burning or pain when passing urine

Disclaimer: This information is not designed or intended to replace medical advice. 

Hope you find this article helpful – we will be writing lots more!!  And do not forget to check out our Instagram @health2mama and Youtube for the clear easy to follow videos.  

References:

Hallam, Taryn. “Maternity Physiotherapy (An introduction to the physiotherapists role in pregnancy and early postpartum)” Sept. 2019, WHTA, Sydney. Course

“Round ligament pain during pregnancy” 4th Aug. 2018. https://www.webmd.com/baby/guide/pregnancy-round-ligament-pain#2-4

“What does round ligament pain feel like: symptoms, diagnosis, treatment” 21 Sept. 2016. https://www.healthline.com/health/pregnancy/round-ligament-pain