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Round Ligament Pain

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Aug 31, 2022.

What is round ligament pain?

Round ligament pain is caused when ligaments are stretched as your uterus (womb) gets bigger during pregnancy. Round ligaments are found on each side of your uterus. They are bands of tissue that hold the uterus in place. Round ligament pain happens most often during the second trimester. It is a normal part of pregnancy and should stop by the third trimester. The pain is not serious and will not hurt your baby.

Female Reproductive System

What are the signs and symptoms of round ligament pain?

  • Pain on one or both sides of your lower abdomen or groin that may move up to your hip
  • Spasms in the muscles in your abdomen
  • Pain that lasts a few seconds
  • Pain that happens when you exercise, sneeze, change positions, or stand quickly

How is round ligament pain diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine you and ask about your pain. Tell the provider when the pain started, and if you feel it on one or both sides. Your provider may ask if anything helps the pain or makes it worse.

What can I do to manage my pain?

Round ligament pain does not need to be treated. The following may help make you more comfortable:

  • Rest as often as you can. Rest can help relieve round ligament pain. You might want to lie on the side that has pain. Place a pillow under your abdomen. Keep another pillow between your knees.
  • Move slowly. Sudden movement can stretch the ligaments and cause pain. Stand, sit, and change positions slowly. Try to tighten the muscles in your hips before you sneeze or laugh. You can also sit down and bring your knees up toward your abdomen. This can help relieve tension on the ligaments.
  • Exercise as directed. Gentle exercise can keep the ligaments loose and strengthen core (abdominal) muscles. An example is swimming, or a yoga program designed for pregnancy. Ask your healthcare provider which exercises are safe for you and how often to exercise. For most healthy women, a good goal is to try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. If activity causes pain, try not to walk too long or too far at one time. Break your exercise up into short amounts.
  • Apply a warm compress to the area. Warmth can relieve pain and muscle spasms. Ask your healthcare provider if you can take a warm bath or use a heating pad. Keep all heat settings low. High heat can be dangerous for your baby. Do not sit in a hot tub or use hot water in your bath. You may also be able to massage the area gently while you are applying heat. Massage can help relieve pain.
  • Ask about pain medicines. Ask your healthcare provider before you take any medicine during pregnancy, including over-the-counter pain medicines. Your healthcare provider may recommend acetaminophen to relieve the pain. Ask how much to take and how often to take it. Follow directions. Acetaminophen can cause liver damage. Too much medicine can be harmful to your baby.

When should I contact my healthcare provider?

  • You have pain that is spreading to other parts of your body.
  • You have new or worsening pain.
  • You have pain that lasts longer than a few minutes at a time.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.