Round ligament pain is a common, normal pregnancy symptom. These pregnancy cramps usually occur in the second trimester, as the uterus and surrounding ligaments stretch. Rest and yoga exercises may help, and you may want to avoid sudden movements. Seek medical attention right away if you have abdominal pain plus other symptoms.
Round ligament pain is an uncomfortable sensation in the abdomen, near the hips or into the groin area. It’s a “growing pain” that’s common and normal during pregnancy.
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The round ligaments are like two cords or ropes on each side of the uterus (womb). Each one is about 10 to 12 centimeters long.
The ligaments connect the uterus to the pelvis and hold the uterus in place.
Round ligament pain usually occurs during the second trimester of pregnancy (weeks 14 through 27). But it can appear earlier or later in pregnancy.
Women often describe round ligament pain as:
The pain may occur on one side of the body or both sides. It usually lasts only a few seconds, but it can last hours. It often happens repeatedly during the second trimester.
Round ligament pain may worsen when you move suddenly (for example, standing or sitting quickly, sneezing, coughing or laughing).
A woman’s body makes hormones during pregnancy to make ligaments loose and stretchy. This helps the body adjust to the growing baby. As a baby grows in the womb, it stretches the uterus and the round ligaments. This stretching can cause spasms in the round ligaments, leading to the pain.
Round ligament pain occurs almost exclusively in pregnancy. But rarely, round ligament pain may occur in women who are not pregnant. This could be a sign of endometriosis, when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus.
If you experience frequent round ligament pain, try:
It’s not always possible to prevent round ligament pain. But you may be able to reduce the sudden movements that sometimes cause the pain:
Talk to your healthcare provider about exercise during pregnancy.
Round ligament pain is not dangerous for you or your baby. It’s not a sign of a problem or a symptom of a disease or complication.
After pregnancy, hormone levels drop, and the uterus and surrounding ligaments return to pre-pregnancy size. So round ligament pain goes away after pregnancy.
Abdominal pain can be a symptom of other conditions, whether you’re pregnant or not. Seek medical attention right away if you have abdominal pain and other symptoms, such as:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Round ligament pain is common and normal during pregnancy. As the uterus and surrounding ligaments stretch to make room for baby, it can cause short, painful spasms. Rest and other home remedies may help. But call your healthcare provider if you have pain that won’t go away or pain and other symptoms.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/20/2021.
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