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Round ligament pain is a common pregnancy symptom to expect in the second trimester. Sometimes referred to as “growing pains,” round ligament pain refers to the sharp, stabbing pain and discomfort that pregnant women feel in their lower abdomen or groin. Sometimes, round ligament pain can be dull ache.

You may notice round ligament pain if you have to suddenly change positions. You might be getting out of a recliner when you notice the brief, stabbing pain in your lower belly. Round ligament pain may also occur when you cough, or roll over in bed in the middle of the night.

Round ligament pain can also feel like a dull ache after you’ve had a busy, active day. Perhaps you had to walk around a lot, or maybe you were performing some kind of exercise.

Causes – Round Ligament Pain

All women have round ligaments. These are strong bands of tissue that surround your uterus (womb) in your pelvis. Since your uterus rapidly expands in pregnancy to accommodate your unborn baby’s growth, the ligaments can stretch and thicken to support the weight of the larger, heavier uterus.

As the round ligaments are stretching, they can irritate surrounding nerves. Hence, the sharp pain and discomfort you can feel.

Round ligament pain is normal, and it can start in the second trimester. The dull ache should only last a few seconds to a few minutes. However, if you feel like something isn’t right, you should always pick up the phone and call your doctor.

When to Call Your OB/GYN about Round Ligament Pain

Always call your caregiver if your abdominal achiness comes with severe pain or cramping of any kind, more than four contractions (even painless uterine tightening) in one hour, low back pain, any vaginal bleeding, fever, chills, nausea or vomiting, and discomfort when you pee. All of these symptoms can be signs of potential pregnancy complications.

Pain and discomfort when you pee may be a sign of a urinary tract infection that needs to be treated. If you have cramping, contractions, low back pain, or vaginal bleeding, this may be a sign of preterm labor. You will want to prevent preterm labor at all cost. Premature babies can face many health complications.

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