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Pregnancy, Round Ligament Pain

Pregnancy, Round Ligament Pain Overview

Abdominal pain during pregnancy is common. Frequently, it is a result of stretching of the round ligaments. Round ligament pain is due to normal physiologic changes that take place as your body is transformed by pregnancy. There are other, abnormal, but treatable causes of pain that your health care provider may want to evaluate. Therefore, any new or significant pain should be reported to your doctor.

Pregnancy, Round Ligament Pain Causes

Patient Comments

Round ligament pain refers to a type of cramping caused by stretching of the round ligaments. These ligaments proceed from the front of the uterus. This type of pain occurs more commonly on the right side of the pelvis because the uterus normally rotates to the right as the pregnancy begins to grow.

  • The uterus is normally the size of a pear. The two round ligaments are thick bands of fibromuscular tissue which tends to support the uterus within the abdomen. As the uterus grows in size and weight, these ligaments elongate and soften, subsequently stretching and tensing like rubber bands.
  • The ligaments pull and tug on nearby nerve fibers and sensitive structures, causing pain. The severity of pain may be worrisome. Although round ligament pain is uncomfortable, it is also very common and generally benign.
  • A ligament spasm, an involuntary contraction or cramp, usually triggers a sharp pain. These spasms are found more frequently on the right side than the left because of the normal tendency of the uterus to turn to the right.
  • You can awaken at night with pain after having suddenly rolled over in your sleep.
  • The pain may also be brought on by exercise.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/21/2015
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