Round Ligament Pain: The Facts

What causes round ligament pain?

Some women experience aching in the lower tummy during pregnancy. This aching is completely normal and is caused by your expanding uterus. Pregnancy hormones cause your muscles and ligaments to become more flexible. This allows them to continue supporting your uterus as it balloons in size. The round ligament holds your uterus in place, and is put under increased pressure as your uterus grows.

Round ligament pain will be most noticeable when you change positions too quickly, especially if you have been in the same position for a long period. It may also ache when you cough or sneeze.

Many women find that the discomfort worsens during the last few weeks of pregnancy. As the baby’s head engages, you may find that the ache becomes more obvious. This discomfort should disappear straight after childbirth though.

Coping with the discomfort

Unfortunately there is no cure for round ligament pain. However, you may find the following tips useful:

  • Slow down – take your time getting out of bed, climbing out of cars and standing up. By taking things slow, you allow your muscles time to adapt as you change position.
  • Try Yoga – attending a prenatal yoga course will help you to learn positions that will strengthen your muscles. There are a number of yoga positions that are particularly helpful for easing the discomfort caused by round ligament pain.
  • Rest – make sure you are getting enough rest. Relax comfortably as often as you can to ease the strain on your body.
  • Bend and flex – if you are about to sneeze, cough or laugh heartily, try bending and flexing at the hips.
  • Have a massage – prenatal massage can be a great way to tackle the aches and pains during pregnancy. Tell your masseuse that you would like a massage to help with the discomfort of round ligament pain.
  • Get support – Placing a pillow between your knees when lying down may also help.

If you have tried the above and are still suffering, ask your healthcare provider for advice. They may be able to advise you on a suitable pregnancy girdle or belt to help support your bump. The girdles or belts available these days are easily disguised under clothing, and may offer some relief.

When to call your healthcare provider

You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if the aching is accompanied by any of the following symptoms:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Sharp pain
  • Cramping
  • Fluid loss from your vagina
  • Fever or chills
  • Feeling faint
  • Painful urination

Written by Fiona (@Fiona_Peacock), mother, writer and lover of all things baby related.

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Fiona PeacockRound Ligament Pain: The Facts

Comments 15

  1. Trini

    The biggest problem with RLP is that people, like myself, who have SPD get told it’s just RLP, when it’s not.

    Please ladies, research both as you may be experiencing SPD rather than RLP.

  2. Jenika

    I have a fast-paced job where I’m constantly moving and walking from one end of the building to the other and we only get one 15 minute lunch break. I’ve been getting horrible pain in my hip joints as well as what sounds like round ligament pain in my lower tummy. I swear I can FEEL my pelvis spreading. It hurts so bad by the end of the day, I feel like I can’t take another step. I’m going to call my dr to discuss my work options. And maybe a belly band could help. I’m 34+4days. Is she dropping already?

  3. Merry

    Hi m 34 weeks pregnant n getting round ligament pain on my left side .its very uncomfortable.i have got an appointment with a midwife,let’s see what’s she thinks .👍good luck everyone …

  4. gipsy

    Ive been getting this since about 30weeks only when i sit for too long or at night time when im in bed and need to move. Sore but doesnt bother me now kinda used to it plus labour will be sorer so no need to complain

  5. Christie

    I had terrible ligament pain from around 28 weeks onwards – realised it was from sitting at work leaning too far back from my desk and then straining to get up. I’ve found staying active and yoga helpful, but best thing was swimming – using a little kick board helped to keep you buoyant, but takes the strain out of your ligaments straight away!

  6. Miriam

    @Tkeyah, since what you’ve mentioned is fluid loss alongside cramps, do make sure you check it out just to be safe. The cramps themselves should be ok, but it won’t hurt to ask.

  7. Monica

    I’m unsure why, but most midwives and chiropractors know that if we can support the weight of the belly with a belt of some sort we can reduce or even dissolve any pain that comes during the 2nd and 3rd trimester. Also spinningbabies.com urges women to control there pain for optimal positioning. They have wonderful pregnancy exercise but also recommend wearing some type of support belt for immediate relief. I invented the WOMB WRAP with my fifth pregnancy. I went from not being able to walk because of pain, to dancing and playing tag with my kids. I wore this all day everyday, and tell everyone this was by far my best pregnancy. I share them with other mommies on etsy now and try to get the word out that there is a way to relieve these aches and pains. Hugs ladies! LIVE, LAUGH, WRAP!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/197066120/single-pregnancy-maternity-womb-wrap?ref=listing-2

  8. Tkeyah

    Hi. I’m 18 years old and 7 weeks pregnant. I keep getting what feels like premenstrual cramps, almost like the ones I used to get right before I started my period. I’m not bleeding but I notice a lot of clear fluid gushing out every now and then. Due to me being so young and this being my first pregnancy, I’m not sure if these are ligament pains or if I should be worried?

  9. sophie

    i have been having little tiny sharp twidges and heat sensation flickering on and off on my right hand side of stomach does anyone no if this is normal sophie xxx

  10. Sophie

    I’m 32 weeks pregnant and yesterday I felt strong stabbing pains in my back. I couldn’t move or talk from the pain. I felt very faint and broke into a huge sweat. I asked my older kids for water and to massage my back with a hand-held massager on the painful area. My husband also got me some painkillers that are safe to take. I don’t know which worked, the water, massage or painkillers but today I’m fine. Like nothing even happened.

  11. Bri

    Lacey-I’ve had a lot of that,me specially around 20 weeks when I would pee and be in a lot of pain but no UTI, and sometimes the pain is random, or way too sharp. I went to my OB and she pretty much blew me off. I guess it could be bowel discomforts along with round ligament pain.

  12. Tasha

    I’ve had the pains and I’m not even big enough for my belly to seem like it’s weighing down but it’ usually just hurts when I get up from sitting and my belly stretches.

  13. Asia

    I get sharp pains alot I just figured it was because of everything going on like my hormones and stuff.

  14. Amy

    Lacey, my friend had a varicose vein in her vaginal area that caused pain. I had sharp, shooting pain down by my hips and that was from the ligaments stretching (it felt like tooth picks stabbing me). You may want to try a support belt or support undergarments.

  15. Lacey

    I went to the doctor because of sharp pain lower. I have some pain in my lower tummy but it is also lower and when I use the restroom or just random times. Anyone else have this? Doctor said that its not a UTI and to just keep an eye on it and come back if it worsens or continues. Well…I was wondering if anyone else had this and what their doctor told them it was.