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.