Round ligament pain can be a real nuisance during pregnancy. Here we will discuss some of the best remedies for this type of pain. We will also look at some factors that may contribute to it. If you are pregnant and experiencing round ligament pain, be sure to read this post!
What is Round Ligament Pain? And What Causes It?
Round ligament pain is a type of pelvic pain that is common during pregnancy. It is caused by the stretching and thinning of the round ligaments that support the uterus. This happens as the uterus grows in size and weight during pregnancy.
The pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen, on either side of the uterus. Round ligament pain is usually worse when you change position, such as from sitting to standing or from lying down to getting up. It can also be triggered by coughing, sneezing, or laughing due to increased pelvic pressure.
The 9 Best Remedies for Round Ligament Pain
You can do a few things to help relieve round ligament pain. Let’s review:
1. Try to avoid sudden movements that may trigger the pain
When you do need to move, do so slowly and carefully. In particular, an effective movement technique for rolling side to side or getting up is the log roll. This means moving your entire body as a unit, rather than twisting at the waist. Plus, avoid sitting straight up in bed–rather push up with your arms from your side.
2. Prepare for that sneeze or cough
If you feel a sneeze or cough coming on, prepare your body for it to avoid the sharp round ligament pain that can often accompany it. You can brace your lower belly with your hands or flex your hips slightly in a mini squat to reduce the force of these common pain triggers.
3. Use pillows when you’re lying down
When lying on your side, place a pillow between your knees to take some of the pressure off your pelvis and ligaments. If you’re having trouble sleeping due to the pain, you should also try placing a pillow under your abdomen and/or behind your back for added support.
4. Take a warm bath
Warmth can help relax the muscles and ease general pain- whether it’s low back pain or round ligament pain. Soak in a warm bath (NOT hot) for 20 minutes. Do not use a heating pad on your lower abdomen, since this is a risk to you and your baby if you overheat.
5. Use a pregnancy support belt
This can help take some of the strain off of your round ligaments. You can find a pregnancy support belt at most maternity stores, or online. Just make sure you take it off when you are resting.
6. Don’t stay in one position for too long
Whether you are sitting, standing, or lying down–staying in one stagnant position for too long is hard on your growing pelvis and round ligament. Thus, make an effort to change positions and move your body often. If you are sitting at work or for rest, try to set an alarm to get up and stretch or move every hour for at least a few minutes.
7. Talk to your doctor about your round ligament pain
If you are dealing with round ligament pain, make sure your OB or midwife knows. They can make sure nothing more is going on or causing your pain, particularly in your third trimester. Plus, if needed, they can recommend pain medications like Tylenol (always get advice first before taking anything during pregnancy).
8. Work with a physical therapist
If the pain is really severe or impacting your life, working with a pelvic floor physical therapist can be very helpful. They can teach you how to properly support your pelvis and give you specific exercises to help relieve the pain.
9. Balance rest and movement
It can be a fine line to walk when you are dealing with round ligament pain. You want to rest, but you also don’t want to become too sedentary. Balance is key. Make sure you are getting enough rest as you work hard growing a baby. But, also get up and move around every day.
Walking, swimming, stretching, and other gentle exercises can help immensely with the aches and pain that come with pregnancy.
Stretches for Round Ligament Pain
There are a few stretches that can help ease pelvic pain, such as round ligament pain or SI joint pain. These stretches are also great for preparing the body for natural labor.
- Pelvic tilts: Gently moving the pelvis forward and backward as if on a rocking horse
- Cat-cow yoga stretch: On hand and knees, moving the entire spine between the extremes of flexion and extension
- Hip flexor stretch: In a runner’s lunge or half-kneeling, stretching the front of the hips can feel great
- Figure 4 hip stretch: In sitting, place your outer ankle on the opposite knee for a nice butt stretch (you can also try a pigeon pose)
- Forward fold: From standing, fold the torso over the legs, letting the head and arms hang heavy
- Butterfly pose: Seated with the feet together and knees out to the side
If you need a more detailed explanation, check out this guide to round ligament exercises.
Movement is the Key to Everything
No matter what type of pain or fatigue you are dealing with, gentle exercise is almost always the best thing you can do to keep your body limber. Plus, staying strong and fit is important in preparing your body and mind for childbirth.
We hear from a lot of pregnant moms who are struggling with round ligament pain, and know that it can become a significant challenge in the final months of pregnancy. But know that it will pass. In the meantime, ensure that you are taking care of yourself and try these remedies. I think you’ll find them very helpful!
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