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Severe Ligament Pain during Pregnancy

Published by Nanni on Monday, July 16, 2012

Photo credit by Torsten Mangner

Many pregnant women often experience a type of pain commonly known as round ligament pain. It is caused by the stretching of the round ligaments attached to the uterus which is normal occurrence when the body changes during pregnancy. More commonly it occurs on the right side of the pelvis. Round ligaments are thick ligaments that keep the uterus in place in the abdomen. During pregnancy, women mistake round ligament pain as simple abdominal pain or discomfort. It could really be disconcerting and uncomfortable that many women develop anxiety or fear because of this.

When you are not pregnant, the uterus is about the size of a normal-sized apple or pear. During pregnancy, the uterus expands in size and weight and the round ligaments that surround it are stretched, becoming longer and thinner. The ligaments are pulled and tugged causing the surrounding nerves to be irritated. This is the cause of the pain. The pain can range from mild to severe.

Some symptoms of round ligament pain are contractions and cramps that are normally located on the right side of the abdomen. If you experience pain in the abdomen after any type of activity or if you experience pain while lying down, these also indicate that you may be suffering from round ligament pain.

Severe ligament pain during pregnancy is nothing serious. Your doctor may advise or prescribe a pain reliever medicine like acetaminophen to reduce the pain. You may be asked to take some rest and refrain from doing activities that would aggravate the problem. You can apply a heating pad directly to the pain area or ask your husband to prepare a warm bath for you to soak in. Lying on the opposite side of the pain may also relieve the pain.

If the pain is persistent and gets worse, it could mean something more serious. Round ligament pain is often mistaken for other medical conditions such as appendicitis, ovarian cysts and abdominal cramps, because the symptoms are quite similar. Consult your doctor to make sure you don’t have any of those conditions mentioned here.

Not all women will experience or suffer from round ligament pain during pregnancy. If you don’t have symptoms of round ligament pain, don’t be alarmed. You are lucky. If this is your first pregnancy, you won’t experience a large amount of pain compared to other women who are in their second, third and fourth pregnancy. Again, this is just normal.

The pain will eventually go away once you give birth. Your stomach returns to its normal size so are the round ligaments. This phase may also cause some discomfort and pain but it is to be expected. Everything that changes brings with it a certain degree of sensitivity or sensation. This is nothing but a normal occurrence.

Pregnancy is a wonderful state. Not many women get to experience it. What is pain compared to the gift you’ll receive after nine months of carrying another person inside your belly? And the good news is the pain is just temporary. The round ligament pain will disappear once you have given birth.

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