Round Ligament Pain


As you move into your second trimester, you’ll probably start to notice a weird pain below your ever-expanding belly—a pain that’s sometimes sharp and stabbing, and other times dull and aching. No, it’s not your baby out to get you; it’s round ligament pain.

What’s a round ligament, and why does it hurt?

You actually have several thick bands of tissue, called ligaments, that work to hold and support your growing uterus. The round ligament is one of these and, as it stretches, it gets achy and is more prone to straining. You may also find that when the round ligament tightens quickly, which happens sometimes with sudden movements, you’ll feel a sharp, jabbing pain.

How can I ease round ligament pain?

Even though round ligament pain is a normal part of pregnancy, there are a few steps you can take to help ease your symptoms.

Avoid sudden movements

When you change positions, like standing up from a sitting position or rolling over in bed, make sure you do so slowly and carefully. Avoid quick twisting or jerking movements, as well as strenuous exercise if it bothers you. Also, because you can’t always avoid jerky motions that come with sneezing or coughing, try to bend and flex your hips when you feel that tickle in your nose or throat—this can help prevent pulling and straining of the ligament when you cough or sneeze.

Try gentle exercise

Easy exercises that use fluid motions can help to gently stretch the round ligament and reduce pain. Try prenatal yoga or other no-impact stretching exercises.

Wear a maternity belt

Also known as “belly belts,” these garments are great for providing extra support for your growing baby bump, relieving some of the strain on your ligaments.

Try low heat

Check with your doctor to be sure, but a warm (not hot) bath or heating pad can help melt away some of the aches and pains of pregnancy. Just be careful not to get it too hot, as too much heat isn’t good for your baby.

Learn more about BayCare's Maternity and Motherhood Wellness Program.