Round Ligament Pain

Round ligament pain syndrome is a type of abdominal pain in pregnancy, specifically, on the bottom and sides of your belly, but it can be felt up to your groin. Many mothers describe it as a “throbbing” sensation, a sharp and transient pain that can affect you from the second trimester of pregnancy.

Although it is expected that your body complains about the excess weight of your belly, the discomfort caused by the stretching of the ligaments can be quite painful.

Fortunately, you have several options to alleviate it.

Why Round Ligament Pain happens?

The round ligament pain is actually a series of fibers around your uterus that connect it to the pelvis and, in essence, support your belly in pregnancy. As your belly grows, these ligaments thicken and stretch more and more. For most mothers, this process goes unnoticed, while others less fortunate suffer acute pain.

A mother who suffered in two pregnancies described it as “if you were pulling your belly on the sides and down.” The pain may be worse when you walk or move suddenly (such as laughing, sneezing, getting up, exercising, or walking). You can feel it on one or both sides and usually the pain lasts only a few moments at a time.

How to relieve Round Ligament Pain?

Because this pain is the result of the weight of your belly combined with movement, the best remedy is rest.

However, if you are like most of the world and you can not stay at rest all the time, go to these other remedies:

  • Control your movements The pain of the ligament you feel when you move suddenly. As far as possible, make sure your movements are subtle, like when you stand up, turn around or walk. And if you can not control it (like a sneeze, laughter or cough), flex your hips to minimize the pull on the ligament.
  • Stretching exercises:  The round ligament pain is, in the end, nothing more than muscle fibers and you can condition them with stretching exercises. Stand on the floor resting on your hands and knees, lower your head to the ground and keep your buttocks high. Gravity helps your belly stretch the muscle. The yoga in pregnancy also helps you strengthen and stretch the muscles.
  • Acupuncture works by stimulating you to strategic points in your body, so that it releases the energy to heal on its own. The mother that we mentioned before, who suffered pain of the round ligament pain in two pregnancies, used it in the second and assures that it was an “almost miraculous” relief. Although there appear to be no adverse effects when using acupuncture in pregnancy, consult your doctor first to see if it is advisable in your case.
  • Use a support belt for pregnant women. Belts or bands for pregnant women help relieve the weight of the belly and provide support to the back.
  • Sleeping with a pillow for pregnant women . When you are lying down you can rest your belly on a pillow for pregnant women, so that the muscle should not carry all the weight. In addition, the pillow helps you feel more comfortable, so you end up moving less to find that ideal position.
  • Medications: Before taking any medication or start any treatment you should consult your doctor. In general, acetaminophen is allowed during pregnancy. You can also apply warm compresses on the muscle, but you should be careful that your doctor approves it and that they are not too hot.

When to go to the doctor?

For any type of abdominal pain in pregnancy, it is best to consult the doctor at your monthly appointments for prenatal care . If you have round ligament pain syndrome, the pain is acute but lasts only a few seconds, usually when you move. Permanent pain or accompanied by other symptoms, such as bleeding , fevers, back pain , nausea , dizziness, burning during urination or contractions , may be signs of other ailments and you should see the doctor immediately.

Round Ligament Pain: Causes And Treatment

Round ligament pain is more common during the second trimester . Women can have severe pain in their abdomen or hip which is either on one side or both.

Some women even report pain that extends into the groin area. Round ligament pain is considered a normal part of pregnancy, your body goes through many different changes.

What causes the Round Ligament Pain?

The round ligament pain supports the uterus and extends during pregnancy. The front portion of the uterus is connected to the groin. These contracts ligaments and relax like muscles, but much more slowly.

Any movement (including when going from a session to standing position quickly, laughing or coughing ) that extends these ligaments making them contract quickly, can cause the woman to experience pain. Round ligament pain should only last a few seconds.

What can be done to treat the Round Ligament Pain?

Rest is one of the best ways to help with this type of pain. Changing positions slowly allows the ligaments to stretch more gradually and can help relieve any pain.

If you know that you are going to sneeze, cough or laugh you can bend and flex the hips, which can reduce the pull on the ligaments.

If you have consistent round ligament pain, the doctor may recommend stretching exercises daily. The most common exercise is done by placing your hands and knees on the floor, lowering your head to the floor, and keeping your bottom in the air.

When do I have to call my doctor?

If the pain persists after resting, or is accompanied by severe pain, you want to notify your health care provider. If the Round Ligament Pain lasts more than a few minutes, you should contact your health care provider immediately.

You would also like to notify your doctor if the pain is accompanied by bleeding , cramps , fever, chills, nausea , vomiting or changes in vaginal discharge .

What is the Redondo ligament?

Due to the dramatic bodily changes that a woman undergoes during pregnancy, it is natural that joint and muscular discomforts occur. Their frequency is high but fortunately they are mild or moderate in intensity and rarely incapacitate you.
By the middle of the second trimester, these discomforts begin to manifest themselves, affecting at least 50% of pregnant women. They appear gradually and in different locations of your body.

The uterus is supported by several ligaments that go from the uterus to the bones of the pelvis and that serve to maintain it in a certain position and are the following:

  • Uterus sacral
  • Cardinal
  • Puvo-vesico-uterine
  • Width
  • Utero-ovarian
  • Round.

The round ligament pain is a thick muscular cord, which leaves the tubes around the uterus in your pelvis and connects the uterus with the groin through the inguinal canal and reaches the labia majora. There, the fibers of the ligament mix with the tissue of the pubis or mount of Venus. These ligaments contract and relax like muscles, but very softly , when you cough, when you wake up after sitting, when you laugh and when you sneeze

What is the function of Round Ligament Pain?

The normal size of your uterus is that of a pear. The thick ligaments one of which is the round ligament, keeps the uterus in suspension inside your abdomen, in addition to keeping it in its normal position, that is, slightly inclined forward.

What is the round of Round Ligament Pain?

This is a Round Ligament Pain that typically appears between weeks 16-20 of pregnancy, is very common (more than 70% of pregnant women report it).

Round ligaments are usually thick bands that stretch and thin during pregnancy to support the growth of the uterus.

This elasticity is due to progesterone and the effects of the hormone relaxin whose function is precisely to relax the joints and ligaments to promote the birth process.

A rapid movement can cause the ligament to contract quickly and this is what produces a painful cramp.

When you have problems with round ligament pain, the pregnant woman should avoid strenuous exercise and sudden movements in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Coughing, sneezing and laughing are also sudden movements that can trigger a spasm of the round ligament.


As your belly grows, the round ligaments thicken and stretch more and more. For most mothers, this process goes unnoticed, while others less fortunate suffer acute pain.

The pain of the stretched round ligament pain is usually experienced on the right side because the uterus tends to turn to the right side during pregnancy; However, the pain may be pain on either side of the pelvis. It can also be felt along the line of the bikini line (in the groin).

A mother who suffered in two pregnancies described it as “if you were pulling your belly on the sides and down.” The pain may be worse when you walk or move suddenly (such as laughing, sneezing, coughing, standing up suddenly after sitting, exercising, or walking). You can feel it on one or both sides and usually the pain lasts only a few moments at a time.
Other activities, such as too much exercise, after a day of hard work, unusually intense physical activity or when there have been prolonged standing stays, can also cause round ligament pain; is reported as menstrual pain or pain “in the ovaries”


The spasm of the ligaments irritates nerve fibers and nearby sensitive structures, causing pain. The movements, such as coughing or standing up sharply after sitting, cause the ligaments to stretch and then contract sharply, causing a sharp pain to trigger.

The pain can occur in both hips, but usually present in the right hip due to the tendency of the uterus to turn to that side.

It can start in the groin and run towards the top of the hips. The pain is internal, but if you follow it on the skin, it would follow the bikini line. It should last only a few seconds, (within which, if you change your position or you stop, the pain disappears), but its severity can alarm you.
It can occur at night, after a change of posture or after having exercised.

How can this Round Ligament Pain be prevented ?

Remember, when you are pregnant you experience a series of changes in the body, particularly in the ligaments that were thick structures before pregnancy and are now thin and very elastic, to support and adapt to the uterus as it grows. These natural changes are inevitable but you can help prevent discomfort by following the following general measures

  1. Exercise reasonably during the day to tone up your muscles (swimming is excellent, great walking)
  2. Keep correct postures in your work, avoid keeping your legs crossed when you feel.
  3. Wear low shoes so as not to exaggerate the vertebral curvature.
  4. Do not bend forward to pick up things from the floor, bend your knees and lower / raise with support.
  5. If you notice that the pain occurs more frequently when you are more active, reduce your daily activity and if you feel better, gradually increase it to the point that it does not affect you.
  6. When you change position do it slowly so that the ligaments stretch gradually.
  7. When you go to sneeze, cough or laugh, bend your body forward and flex your hips, this measure can reduce the sudden stretching of the ligaments
  8. If the pain of the round ligaments is constant, your doctor will indicate what stretching exercises you can do at home.

What can be done to relieve Round Ligament Pain?

If your doctor already assured you that the pain is due to the round ligaments:

  • Rest is what helps you the most in this type of pain.
  • Take a warm bath (never very hot).
  • Use the electric cushion at medium temperature (nothing else until the pain decreases). Ask your doctor if you agree.
  • Lie on the opposite side of the one that hurts and place a pillow under your abdomen and another between your legs.
  • When sneezing, laughing or coughing, lean your body forward.
  • When you change position, do it slowly.
  • If the pain is constant and intense, ask your obstetrician. It is possible to prescribe an analgesic or even physiotherapy. NEVER self-medicate.
  • Avoid carrying excessive weight.
  • Use a support belt for pregnant women. Belts or bands for pregnant women help relieve the weight of the belly and provide support to the back.


If your doctor has been checking you and knows that it is not an ectopic pregnancy, there is no bleeding, it is not associated with uterine contractions, it is more likely to be treated as a normal discomfort of pregnancy.

For most women the pain will almost always go away when they change their daily activities and as the pregnancy progresses.

In exceptional cases, the discomfort may last until the third trimester. Once the baby is born, the discomforts disappear

when to call the doctor for Round Ligament Pain

You should always call your doctor when the pain persists and is also accompanied by:

  • Severe cramping, or more than 4 contractions in an hour (it does not matter if it does not hurt).
  • The pain lasts more than a few moments
  • Pain in the lower back, or an increase in pelvic pressure, as if the baby was pushing down.
  • You have a fever
  • You have chills, nausea, vomiting, fainting.
  • It hurts when urinating
  • It is difficult for you to walk.

Abdominal pain during pregnancy can be due to many different causes. It is important that your doctor discard other conditions that may be serious pregnancy such as detachment of the placenta or that are not related to pregnancy such as:

  • Inguinal hernia.
  • Appendicitis
  • Intestinal, liver or kidney problems.

The pre-term contractions can also be confused with pains of the round ligament pain.

Round Ligament Pain
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