Round ligament pain during pregnancy is a complaint of many pregnant women. Even though this is not a serious condition pregnant women actually do become quite worried and think that there is something wrong. This type of pain develops in a form of abdominal pain or discomfort and usually occurs in the third trimester. The pain is by majority of women described as brief and sharp, stabbing and occurs either in the lower abdomen or in the groin area. Sometimes the pain may be dull. It lasts from few seconds to few minutes.
What Causes Round Ligament Pain during Pregnancy?
The round ligament is a fibrous band that connects the uterus and the groin. The ligament contracts and relaxes similarly to muscles but both of these actions are much slower. This is why any sudden movement that leads to stretching of the round ligament may cause transient pain. During pregnancy the round ligament stretches and becomes larger and thinner. Sudden pulling or tugging of the ligament may cause pain and discomfort.
Symptoms of Round Ligament Pain during Pregnancy
Pregnant women suffering from round ligament pain usually report pain in a form of spasm, contraction or cramp located on the right side of the lower abdomen. The pain may occur upon walking or during rolling over during sleep. Furthermore, the pain may be induced by exercising or any other vigorous activity.
In case the pain does not go away within several minutes or there is severe pain or cramping, more than four contractions in an hour (even if they are painless), lower back pain, bleeding, change in vaginal discharge, pain/burning during urination and several more problems such as fever, chills, nausea and vomiting the problem may not be connected with the round ligament and a woman should consult her health care provider as soon as possible.
Differential Diagnosis of Round Ligament Pain during Pregnancy
Because of its symptoms round ligament pain can be mistaken for certain medical conditions. Differential diagnosis of acute abdominal pain during pregnancy always includes the following conditions: appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix), ovarian cysts and abdominal cramps. Only a well experienced doctor can tell the difference among these conditions and with additional tests and exams set the correct diagnosis.
Treatment for Round Ligament Pain during Pregnancy
Once other serious medical conditions are ruled out and round ligament pain is found to be a culprit of current symptoms the treatment is rather simple and quite efficient. The woman must reduce the activity level and if the pain is unbearable she is prescribed with certain painkillers. The best results are obtained if the woman makes simple changes in her daily routines. Fortunately, the pain completely withdraws after childbirth.