Pregnancy Problems

Round Ligament Pain

Getting sharp pains in your abdomen during pregnancy? It's round ligament pain. Find out what to do about those aches and pains.

What is round ligament pain?

During pregnancy, your uterus expands from about the size of an apple to the size of a watermelon. The ligaments that surround and support your uterus and connect it to your groin (collectively called round ligaments) have to stretch and thicken to accommodate that change, and this can hurt a bit, especially in the second trimester. You might have sharp pains in your abdomen or hips, and those pains may increases when you move quickly, go from sitting to standing, cough, or laugh.

What are the signs of round ligament pain?

You may feel a sharp pain in your abdomen or hip area; sometimes the pain may extend to the groin area.

Are there any tests for round ligament pain?

There are no tests for round ligament pain. You can normally feel it on your own, but you may ask your doctor for an official diagnosis to rule out other problems.

How common is round ligament pain?

Round ligament pain is fairly common in pregnancy; it normally occurs in the second trimester.

How did I get round ligament pain?

Sorry, but it’s a normal part of pregnancy. As your ligaments expand — and you move — all that stretching and contracting can get painful.

How will round ligament pain affect my baby?

It won’t affect baby; it’s only a big discomfort to you (sorry!).

What’s the best way to treat round ligament pain?

When you’re having pains, try switching positions or propping up your feet to rest for a while. It might also help to simply slow down your movements to give those ligaments more time to adjust. Your doc may suggest some gentle stretches (or even some Tylenol caplets) if you're feeling the pains often. You shouldn't worry unless the pain lasts longer than a few minutes, is severe or is accompanied by any bleeding, strange  vaginal discharge or other weird symptoms. If any of this occurs, call your doc ASAP.

What can I do to prevent round ligament pain?

You can’t really prevent round ligament pain, but resting and switching positions often can make you feel more comfortable.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have round ligament pain?

“I feel sharp pains in the middle of the night when I roll over the wrong way or when I get out of bed. Otherwise, it feels like general aches and pains. Sometimes it feels like light menstrual cramps.”

“In my first pregnancy, round ligament pain was a much more stretchy feeling and crampy, though still painful. This time, it’s much stabbier. My midwife said that in second pregnancies, there isn’t as much for the uterus to push against, which is why the pain can be more severe and sharp.”

“For me, it’s felt more like a pulled muscle to the sides — sometimes it radiates in a single direction...more like achiness than anything else.”

Are there any other resources for round ligament pain?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

Plus more from The Bump
Ways to Deal With Pregnancy’s Aches and Pains 

What to Do About Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy 

What You Need to Know About Sore Hips and Pelvis During Pregnancy

By Erin Walters