Pelvic Pain? Say Hello to Your Round Ligaments!

As a busy mom and surrogate, you’re definitely not afraid of a challenge. You’re good at multitasking and getting things done. So when you suddenly feel a sharp, stretching sensation after moving quickly or just doing something ordinary like taking a single step, you might be concerned. But chances are the pain you're feeling is connected to a pair of bands in the pelvis, the round ligaments. Even though the sensation is often surprising and uncomfortable, pain caused by inflammation of these ligaments is a complaint many women experience during pregnancy.

Let’s look at some simple steps you can take to identify when round ligament pain is occurring, and how to deal with the issue. Located on either side of your uterus, round ligaments suspend the womb during pregnancy. As the baby grows through the course of the year, these ligaments can stretch and sometimes soften. When this happens, sudden movement can set off a wave of discomfort. Because these ligaments connect to the groin, they can strain when muscles suddenly contract. The pain is usually experienced on the right side of the abdomen or pelvis. Discomfort, however, can occur on the left, or both sides.

When muscles flex too quickly, the sudden contraction leads to painful flare-ups. In most cases, round ligament pain is harmless by itself. Watch out, however, for other symptoms including, difficulty breathing, walking, dizziness, trouble in the restroom, or a fever that doesn’t go away. In these cases, get in immediate touch with your doctor or other healthcare provider.

Dealing with Ordinary Round Ligament Pain

Start with prevention. Stay active and talk with your doctor about the best kind of exercises to do during your pregnancy. Prenatal yoga is an increasingly popular option with documented benefits that most doctors approve of and a great many women swear by. Whatever kind of routine works for you, the stronger your core muscles are, the less likely you’ll have to over-use your groin when your baby bump starts to grow. Strong and flexible core muscles are the foundation of an easy pregnancy.

The next thing to do is slow down. We all like to get things done, but now that your body is changing, you may need to alter your pace. Especially if that’s hard for you, using techniques such as mindfulness, and slow, conscious breath-work may enhance your calm and increase awareness.

As your pregnancy becomes more pronounced, be careful when moving from a seated position to a standing position. When you walk, make sure you are balanced and cognizant of your surroundings and terrain. Wear supportive shoes so that the ligaments throughout the leg can be in alignment. Finally, try to cut back on anxiety-inducing activities that make you feel stressed and hurried. Try to move with easy, graceful steps to ensure no sudden muscular contractions lead to unpleasant surprises.

Of course, there’s no perfect way to prevent pain and some flares up are likely. In most cases, Tylenol (either brand name or generic acetaminophen) is a safe treatment that’s easy on the stomach, but check with your doctor first and never take acetaminophen in more than the recommended dosage or with alcohol (which, of course, you shouldn’t be drinking anyway).

Some level of discomfort is probably inevitable during a pregnancy, but rest assured that you have to power to keep it under control.

Implanting the Embryo: What to Expect

So, let’s say you’ve made the decision to become a surrogate, the contracts are signed, the routine health tests are done and the doctor has determined you are healthy and ready to carry an embryo, what can you expect?

The most common type of surrogacy in the United States today is gestational surrogacy. In this type of surrogacy, the eggs come from a prearranged third-party egg donor or the intended mother. When it comes to implanting an embryo, timing is everything. Pregnancy involves a massively complex orchestration of hormones, so in the case of a surrogate pregnancy, a mock cycle must be induced. The mock cycle usually begins with estrogen pills, patches or shots to prepare the uterus to receive an embryo. These hormones are given to the intended surrogate in order to create the necessary thickening of the uterine lining. This is critical for the embryo to implant successfully so a pregnancy can occur. The doctor may check your cervix angle and the length of your uterine cavity to prepare you for the next step: implantation.

The day before donor egg retrieval, the surrogate will be given progesterone, a hormone which helps the uterus remain stable and ready to receive the embryo. This hormone can be given orally, through intramuscular injections, or via suppositories. (Hormone therapy will continue until the surrogate’s placenta takes over hormone production around the twelfth week of pregnancy.) When you are physically ready, the embryo will be transferred into the uterus via a liquid medium. Ultrasound is sometimes used so the doctor can place the embryo correctly. Afterward, rest is required in order to assist the embryo in penetrating the uterine wall.

After about nine days to two weeks after implantation, a simple blood test will confirm whether you are pregnant. Also, your hormone levels will be measured. Then depending on your agreement, there may be a series of ultrasounds. After that point, if you’re with Global Surrogacy Service, we will make sure that you receive the best prenatal care available. Each pregnancy is unique and your doctors will keep you informed every step of the way. Your comfort and safety are extremely important to us and we want you to have a comfortable journey as a surrogate.

Thinking About Surrogacy Requirements

Becoming a surrogate mother is obviously a very big decision. Women who elect to become gestational surrogates are giving the immense gift of parenthood to couples and individuals for whom standard reproduction is not in the cards. Women who are interested in doing this are truly special people. However, it’s obviously something to take very seriously. When the Global Surrogacy Services teams formulated our surrogate mother requirements, we created a number of criteria that were crucial for a wide range of reasons. Some are strictly medical or legal in nature. For example, you need to be a US citizen over 21 years and under 38 years of age, and you need to be a resident of a U.S. state where surrogacy is legal.

Some requirements are weightier. You need to have carried out a successful pregnancy and have at least one child at home. This tells our team a great deal about how prepared you are to have a comfortable pregnancy, both physically and emotionally. To protect the surrogate’s health and the health of offspring, we check for things like past illnesses, healthy weight and height ratios, healthy home environments, and more.

That healthy home environment is why we conduct a home visit to make sure you are in a stable, supportive atmosphere with access to transportation. A positive healthy lifestyle is essential and, while this is rarely an issue in our health-conscious age, we have to make 100 percent sure that substance abuse of any type is not going to be an issue.

You probably think you can meet these requirements, but still don’t be too sure gestational surrogacy is the right choice for you. Carrying someone else’s baby is a special commitment, and one reason we insist on having our surrogates be parents with a child at home. Gestational surrogates are women who have to demonstrate a type of generosity that not everyone can manage.

If you take a serious look at our requirements and feel like you’re physically and emotionally ready, you can start out by filling out our Become a Surrogatequestionnaire. If this is something you really want to do, we really want to hear from you.