As a woman's body transforms in pregnancy, her growing uterus puts pressure on surrounding ligaments and nerve fibres, occasionally causing aches and pains in the lower abdomen, groin and side. While it often makes expectant moms nervous, round ligament pain poses no direct threat to the baby. The twinges and aches are simply the uterus' supporting ligaments stretching like a rubber band to accommodate the additional weight. Follow these simple steps to make the pain a little more manageable.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Warm bath or compress
- Tylenol-based pain medications
Rule out an emergency. Talk to a nurse, doctor or other health care provider and describe the intensity and location of the pain you are experiencing in case it is a symptom of a potentially serious problem like appendicitis, an ovarian cyst or an ectopic pregnancy. A simple urine test can also rule out the possibility of a urinary tract infection or a kidney stone, which can also cause abdominal and side pain.
Apply a warm compress. While hot tubs and hot baths are frowned upon in pregnancy, a warm bath or heating pad placed near the area being affected can provide some relief.
Change the way you move. Round ligament pain often worsens when women suddenly stand up after sitting or lying down. Avoid jumping up from rest and move slowly on days when you are most sore.
Talk to your doctor about an appropriate dose of acetaminophen (Tylenol) or other pregnancy-approved medications like Loritab.
Consider wearing a maternity belt to ease the pressure the growing baby is putting on your back.
Temporarily change the intensity of your daily activities. Most round ligament pain hits during a growth spurt or a particularly uncomfortable fetal position. Take a day or two off from exercise, sexual activity or anything else that exacerbates the discomfort.
Tips and warnings
- Never assume pain in pregnancy is normal. Contact your health care provider and discuss all symptoms before assuming any abdominal, side or back pain is simply a result of your growing belly and child.
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