Round Ligament Pain

What is Round Ligament Pain?

Round ligament pain is a common condition during pregnancy and although it creates discomfort, it is nothing to be concerned about. Typically, round ligament pain happens in the second trimester of pregnancy. It occurs as the belly expands and stretches the ligaments that hold the uterus in place. Often, it is experienced as a sharp, stabbing, dull, or achy pain that usually comes on quickly and stops just as quickly. Round ligament pain can flare up when you change positions quickly, sneeze, cough, or laugh. Call your doctor if you experience severe pain that lasts more than a few minutes, signs of illness such as fever or chills, or pain while urinating.


Pregnancy takes a toll on the body, and often it comes with a wide range of symptoms. Round ligament pain, although uncomfortable, is not a serious condition. The symptoms may be experienced a little differently between individuals. Common symptoms include:

  • Brief shooting pains in the abdomen
  • A tightening or pulling sensation down your sides or groin
  • Discomfort on the left or both sides of the abdomen
  • Stabbing pain on the right side of the pelvis
  • Sharp, shooting, or dull aching pain when you change positions quickly, or when you cough, laugh, or sneeze


There are several things that may trigger round ligament pain during pregnancy. The cordlike round ligaments that help the pelvis support the uterus get stretched out over the duration of pregnancy. During pregnancy the ligaments can become long and taught and may pull on nerve fibers, especially with sudden changes of position or movement. The further along in pregnancy, these activities may trigger round ligament pain:

  • Coughing, sneezing, laughing
  • Standing or moving for sustained amounts of time
  • Quick movements or vigorous activity
  • Poor posture


Round ligament pain can bring periods of discomfort during pregnancy. Thankfully, it usually resolves once you enter the third trimester. In the meantime, there are at-home treatments that can help alleviate some of the pain and discomfort. Make sure to consult with your healthcare provider before trying any of these treatments. Treatments include:

  • Rest
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Stretching
  • OTC medications (acetaminophen)
  • Heating pad
  • Warm bath
  • Using a maternity belt

If no relief is experienced from these treatments make sure to follow up with your healthcare provider.

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