Pregnancy and Round Ligament Pain
During pregnancy, you get used to lots of new aches and pains that you’ve never encountered before. As your baby becomes larger, you may start to experience abdominal pain as your round ligaments become extended and pulled on.
Identifying Round Ligament Pain
While round ligament pain is very common, it can also be easily confused with other ailments – so it’s very important that round ligament pain be properly diagnosed. Here are a few issues that may feel like round ligament pain:
- Appendicitis: The pain will concentrate in the lower right of the abdomen and may be accompanied by vomiting and fever, and the pain will increase over time. Later in pregnancy the pain may be felt more in the upper abdomen.
- Cyst or ovary pain: This will feel sudden and sharp, and may be caused by a ruptured cyst or twisted ovary.
- Digestion problems: If you are constipated or having digestion issues, you may have similar pain issues.
Why Round Ligament Pain Occurs
The round ligaments surround your uterus and keep it suspended in your abdomen. As your uterus grows, the ligaments will become pulled and stretched. All this pulling and stretching will affect nearby nerve endings, which will cause pain and discomfort. Since the uterus normally turns to the right you will likely experience more pain on this side.
Generally, when resting you will feel less pain, unless you suddenly turn to one side. Exercise can make the pain worse – so you may need to reduce your regime for the time being.
When to Get Help
Any pain in your abdomen should be reported to your health physician at your next appointment. However, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms please seek medical attention immediately:
- Pain or difficulty urinating
- Trouble walking
- Fever or chills
Treatment for Round Ligament Pain
If your health practitioner approves, then Tylenol (acetaminophen) can be used to reduce pain. Applying heat to the abdomen can also help, so take plenty of warm baths or use a heading pad. Lying on your left side can also help to ease pain, as well as avoiding sudden movements. In extreme cases you may have to limit your mobility to prevent pain.
For most women, round ligament pain will reduce in severity as the pregnancy progresses and the body adjusts to carrying more weight, but at the very least you can look forward to the pain disappearing after your baby is born!