Pregnancy: Is Ligament Pain Normal During Pregnancy?

I'm 30 weeks pregnant and so far everything seems to be going well, except I have pain in my lower abdomen. I don't have it every day, but it can last for a few days at a time. I thought it was just because I'm carrying low and my baby feels like its right on my bladder. I'm fine after I have been up for a while, but when I first get up, I have pain in the lower part of the uterus. Could there be something wrong?

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Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

This sounds very uncomfortable but it also sounds very normal. Imagine the uterus at its non-pregnant size and weight being suspended by thick bands of ligaments. Now imagine the uterus at its weight and size now at 30 weeks. Those same ligaments which were once thick bands are now very long and stretched thinly supporting much more weight.

Remember when you were not pregnant and had a pelvic exam, and how it felt when the examiner palpated your ovaries. They are very sensitive structures as is the area around them. This is the area where the ligaments are, and what you are experiencing is probably round ligament pain.

Of course, there are other things such as ovarian masses or twisting (torsion), or compressed loops of bowel which could be causing this, even appendicitis can cause pain, which can be misdiagnosed as round ligament pain.

You should tell your provider about the pain and let them make an assessment. In the meantime you may find that a warm water bottle or localized heat to the area is comforting.

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