Physical Therapy for Round Ligament Pain During Pregnancy
Women often experience physical changes during pregnancy that can be uncomfortable. A sore back and aching feet are common complaints, but you may also feel a sharp pain in your pelvic area known as round ligament pain (RLP).
Your body undergoes significant transformation during pregnancy. As the baby grows and your uterus expands, several thick ligaments are stretched or pulled to make room for this growth.
These ligaments attach the uterus to the pelvic floor, allowing for proper pregnancy movement and alignment. When these ligaments stretch, you may experience cramping or stabbing pain in either your lower abdomen or groin area on one side.
Round ligaments are two cord-like structures that protrude from either side of the uterus and exit near the groin. As both mother and child grow, these round ligaments may stretch to become tighter and longer, causing pain or discomfort at their location.
While most round ligaments are generally not harmful for either mother or baby, the pain they cause may seem similar to other conditions that could be more serious; thus, seeking medical advice is recommended if the discomfort lasts more than a few hours, worsens rapidly or is associated with other symptoms. If this occurs, contact your doctor immediately for further advice and an accurate diagnosis.
RLP can occur at any stage of pregnancy, but is most prevalent during the second trimester and often flares up later on in the third. Usually, this pain lasts a few minutes and subsides after you adjust your body’s position or take a break.
If you are dealing with round ligament pain, speak to your doctor about taking acetaminophen (Tylenol) or resting. If these measures don’t alleviate the discomfort, consult a physical therapist for further assessment and treatment of your condition.
Some ways to relieve round ligament pain include using a heating pad, taking acetaminophen, stretching your abdominal muscles, and exercising. All of these are easy remedies that you can do from home that will help reduce your discomfort.
Warm baths and applying heat to your round ligaments will also help relax tension in these areas. If you don’t have access to a bath, hot water bottles can also be used safely during pregnancy for similar effects.
Exercise can be an effective way to relieve your pain and prevent it from returning. Try doing some simple exercises like standing with an exercise band at chest level, shoulders apart, pulling the band outward.
These exercises will strengthen the muscle groups that support your uterus and pelvic floor, while decreasing strain on round ligaments.
Try these exercises to reduce round ligament pain and enjoy pregnancy!
Lying on your side with a pillow under your belly for support and another between your legs can help ease some of the pain you feel. You could also try flexing your knees towards your abdomen or lying on your back with slightly curved hip bones to reduce strain on your pelvic floor.