Aches and pains during pregnancy are totally normal, but can definitely be bothersome, and concerning. Round ligament pain, a sharp pain in the abdomen or hips that many pregnant women experience in the second trimester, is one of those symptoms that can feel more serious than it actually is.
What causes it?
Your round ligament supports your uterus as it connects the uterus to the groin – as the uterus grows during pregnancy, the round ligament needs to stretch to continue to provide that support. Round ligament pain happens when sudden movements like standing or sitting suddenly, or even laughing or coughing, make those ligaments stretch and contract faster than they’re ready for.
Unfortunately, round ligament pain is often just one of those ‘comes with the territory’ types of symptoms – you can often avoid it by resting, and by moving more slowly when you change positions, but sometimes movement is inevitable. If you feel a sneeze, cough, or a chuckle coming on, bending and flexing your hips can also reduce the strain on your ligaments when you do.
Other ways of dealing with round ligament pain include wearing a maternity belt or other abdominal support device, spending some time in the water to give those ligaments a bit of a rest from supporting the growing weight of your uterus, and certain stretching exercises that a healthcare provider might recommend.
- Sir John Dewhurst. Dewhurst’s Textbook of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 8th ed. Keith Edmonds. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, 2012. Print.
- Susan Storck et al. “Fetal Development.” U.S National Library of Medicine. MedlinePlus, 9/30/2013. Web.
- Mayo Clinic Staff. “First trimester pregnancy: what to expect.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic, 4/22/2014. Web.