R is for Round Ligament Pain
Ouch! What was that?
During pregnancy, your normal ligaments are stretched to accommodate your growing baby and shifts in your body. One of the most commonly affected is called the Round Ligament, and it is located along the sides of your uterus running down to your pubic bone. It has a very important job to do supporting you and your baby!
What does it feel like?
Due to where this ligament is located, it can become tight or stretched and cause mild soreness, or even intense pain! It can sometimes feel like a sharp, jabbing sensation and can pass suddenly, but can also feel more like a dull ache or muscle soreness. It can be felt in one or both hips, extending down into the groin. Some moms may only feel it every now and then, with a sudden movement, but for others this becomes a recurring and annoying problem.
Should I be worried?
Probably not! This is one of the most common complaints expectant moms have, usually during the second trimester. There really isn't any concern to your health with this specific type of pain, but it's important for you to feel comfortable and well rested for labor. If you notice any other symptoms or if pain persists for more than a few minutes, the issue may be more serious and unrelated to ligament pain. Here's what you can do to relax this ligament and ease any discomfort you're feeling!
Give your growing body the care and space it needs by wearing comfortably fitting clothing (not too tight!) and adding support where you need it. Some women swear by belly bands, belts, and other support devices. Another option is belly taping, a creative way some moms have found relief by applying athletic tape to the abdomen.
Heat or Water Therapy
In other words, just using a hot water bottle or taking a soothing bath can help relax these areas of pain or tension. Make sure your bathwater or heating pad isn't too warm for comfort, and only use a direct heating pad for 10-15 minutes before moving it to a different spot. You can also lightly massage the areas that are sore while (or after) applying heat for extra relief.
Seeing a chiropractor throughout your pregnancy is a great resource to have! They can help with proper posture and misalignment in the hips, tailbone, and more, easing the round ligament discomfort.
Gentle yoga stretches during cramping episodes can also help, but preventative care is best. Practicing gentle or restorative yoga 2-3 times a week will significantly help relieve tension, improve posture, and reduce some stress on your body and mind.
A simple pose that is known to provide immediate relief is puppy pose! A bit of a modified down dog, begin with your hands and knees on the floor and slowly lower your upper body to wherever is comfortable (adjusting as needed with pillows or blocks) and allow your hips and abdominal muscles to stretch and lengthen out.
Take things slowly! Be mindful in your movements and avoid straining, moving suddenly, or twisting motions. It's also a good idea to be careful with normal activities you may not think about, like swinging your leg out of the car door or hopping out of bed. These sudden, jerking motions can end in intense pain if your round ligament is causing you trouble. If you feel a cough or other sudden movement coming on, tilt or flex your hips to reduce the pull on them.
There you have it, my Doula guide to coping with Round Ligament pain. Let me know about your experiences and share what worked for you in the comments! For more information on this topic or personal support in Hampton Roads, get in touch with me here. Thanks for reading!